As part of St Mary’s resolve to increase and deepen its prayer life, a Wednesday evening service entitled ‘Praying for each other’ was held with a view to address the area of prayer which comes under the heading of Prayer Ministry. An outside speaker was invited, who is the Revd Paul Springate, the Warden Chaplain of Harnhill Centre of Christian Healing. We asked him to share some of his wisdom gained during many years of such ministry, so that our congregation can learn in a small way at first, how to simply pray for each other. It is hoped that this practice might grow in the experience of our church membership to be a natural and loving way to care for each other and for newcomers as they join our fellowship. Also, that as we encounter people in our daily life, whether they are believers or not, we will have the confidence to offer to pray with them if they share their problems with us.
After a little sung worship, Paul gave a short presentation of how best to pray on a one to one basis, with a few dos and don’ts, and then set us off into groups to discuss how best to pray in sample situations. Later there was a plenary session when we discussed our experiences and ideas. Paul then gave his comments and advice, adding more guidance and encouragement.
There was a great deal of positive feedback from this service, which was attended by 42 church members, and several requests made that it should be repeated so that we could practise further.
There has been a frequently expressed wish in our church for an occasional midweek service offering a more relaxed style of worship and prayer. With this in mind, it was decided to combine these two elements for the next time. Therefore, the format for our second service was similar. It began with rather more sung worship than before, allowing us to enjoy the presence of God together. After a short introduction to remind us of the model described by Paul, we were asked to find a partner, and to take it in turns to describe one issue in our lives that needed to be prayed about. After a time of quiet reflection and listening to God, we fed back to the person we prayed for any impressions that we sensed were from him. We ended the service with more sung worship.
There was positive feedback once more from the 30-35 people who came, several asking for the service to be repeated, maybe after 3 months.
By Jude Emery and Ali Spencer. This story (abridged) was included in our recent St Mary’s Newletter, Summer 2013.