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Blog-Ruth201508

On Thursday 25 June we had a “Day of Prayer” at St Mary’s with lots of “prayer stations” to focus our prayers and to help us to pray differently. Bishop Stephen also joined us for part of the day; he was undertaking one of his Missionary Walks from Thaxted to Rayne. Over lunch, about 50 or so of us had the chance to ask Bishop Stephen any questions we might have about prayer. We had some expert questioners with us: some Year 6 and Year 3 children from Dunmow St Mary’s Primary School and a few children 
from St Mary’s Nursery. They had some very good questions; questions that sounded simple but that required quite deep and thoughtful answers.

The first question was, “When do you pray?” Bishop Stephen talked about how St Paul counsels us to pray continually, that prayer is something that could and should punctuate every moment of our lives. However, this is a challenge, so Bishop Stephen tries to make sure that he prays first thing in the morning and last thing at night. The question that caused Bishop Stephen to ponder was “What is your favourite prayer?” After a moment of thought, he shared a prayer that he knows by heart: 

Support us, O Lord, 
all the day long of this troublous life, 
until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, 
the busy world is hushed, 
the fever of life is over 
and our work is done. 

Then, Lord, in your mercy grant us a safe lodging, 
a holy rest, and peace at the last; 
through Christ our Lord. 

He then encouraged us to memorise a prayer. He then said that if we can commit a prayer to memory, we give ourselves a gift for life.

I am sure many of us have a favourite prayer and possibly even a prayer that we know by heart. These prayers will be the ones that we turn to again and again, because they are the prayers that help us most or they are the prayers that we first learnt from those who taught us to pray.

I wonder how many different prayers we would have if we put all of these prayers together? I would like to invite you to share your favourite prayer with us. There is a box in church by the south door where you can leave your prayer, or you can email it to me: 
(revruthjp@gmail.com). These prayers will then be placed in a folder for all to see and use. Many people visit St Mary’s each week, whether for our services or to enjoy the peace and quiet of our building and to sit a while and think or pray. Soon we will be able to share together our favourite prayers, giving each other many gifts for life.

Wishing you every blessing, 

Ruth

PS: Elsie has written a guided prayer walk that you can do around our churchyard and along our Riverbank Walk. There are laminated guides available at the back of church, so do try this guided prayer walk and then leave the cards in church for somebody else to enjoy!
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