THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER

One of the saddest things about the busy world we live in is that regular prayer gets crowded out. The media and advertising dominates so much of our thinking. It is so noisy and melodramatic these days that my wife and I can’t enjoy going to the cinema any more. The adverts hit us in the face. Perhaps even worse is the subliminal advertising that gets under the skin and affects our every day thinking. Years ago I read about this possible future in a wonderfully predictive book called “The Hidden Persuaders.” They surround us now all the time and secretly influence behaviour.

When I was a child we said prayers in the air raid shelter constructed under the stairs. The area had formerly been a pantry with a brick coal shed behind it. My brother and I were snug in sleeping bags on the floor and my mother led the prayers sitting on a stool by the door into the kitchen. In the simple mind of a seven-year-old, I believed these prayers prevented the bombs falling on us. I did not question why others were hit, but it helped us to feel safe and get some sleep between the air raids. As a young adult I rejected these childish thoughts and might well have stopped praying, but during my National Service I was introduced to another kind of worship.

The Mission to Mediterranean Garrisons was a lively evangelical refuge, where I found friendship and an escape from the rigours of army life. I was baptised in the waters of the Great Bitter Lake at Fayid, and learned to pray passionately in small groups of people. I was not sure about all this, but it made life bearable. I tried the Anglican church when I was working in the Careers Advisory Service in Solihull, but I was not keen on all their rites, and had growing doubts.

After several years when I rejected church going, I came back to praying with the help of a United Reformed Church in Nottingham. I learned that prayer is a two-way affair. It reaches out to a higher source of Love, beyond our understanding, and it helps our own mood and behaviour. When I joined Glenorchy church I was glad to find that they had a Prayers for Healing Group. For a few years before I lost my leg I joined this loving circle, that gathered each week to pray for the world we live in, the community in Exmouth and for our own church and membership. There is a special focus on those in our congregation who request prayers. Numbers gathering have fallen over the years, from around twelve to four or five now, and there is a question
about the future of the group. It would be very sad if these meetings had to be abandoned. Please pray for the Glenorchy Prayer Group, a precious part of our church mission. If you would like to come along some time and experience it, please contact Jenny Newman.

Loving God, we seek to walk on the path that Jesus taught us and prayer is at the very heart of it. Show us a way forward for Glenorchy, opening our hearts to support one another and strengthening our faith in prayer and action.
Amen.