Who are we and what do we do?
We are a group from the St John’s congregation who like many others have a heart for prayer.
Sue Hodgkins –Spiritual Director in 2014 after training with the Liverpool Diocese. That training changed my life and brought me into a far deeper relationship with God through studying different types of prayer and ways to pray. And as the relationship continues through prayer, I am learning more and more about myself and about my God. I want everyone to have that relationship with God which is so fruitful.
Prudence Magee – Spiritual Director having trained firstly in Oxford and then in Liverpool. I was brought up a Christian and have a deep passion for encouraging people in their Spiritual Walk. I believe prayer is the engine to our lives.
Diane Taylor-Harrison – Licensed Reader and qualified in Children’s Ministry, keen to support the development of personal and corporate prayer particularly with children
Chris Whitehead – I became a follower of the Lord not because of any plan I had to become a Christian – a follower or disciple of Jesus – but because of His Plan. His rescue plan for me is the same wonderful rescue plan he has for you. Seek God and you will find Him. Jesus taught his followers to pray. Will you become a follower of Jesus? Why not start by praying to Him today.
Abi Hope is currently taking time out.
If anyone else has a strong calling to be part of this, please contact Sue.
We were formed in 2019 and tasked to look at all aspects of prayer in order to embed it into the church community and beyond.
What is prayer?
Which of the quotes below do you identify with?
- “Something we do on a Sunday.”
- “Something we do when we need help.”
- “It’s an act of worship.”
- “It’s something Jesus taught us to do.”
- “It’s something I want to do regularly but just haven’t got the time.”
- “Some people are better at praying than me.”
- “I pray but don’t always get an answer.”
There is an element of truth in all of these but prayer can be simply expressed as God wanting to have a relationship with us and you can’t have a real relationship with someone unless you talk to them. Through prayer, we get to know God and He gets to know us. We can share a close intimate relationship based on His Love for us.
Why do we pray?
There is no one set definitive answer as it is personal to each one of us. Just reflect on that question, considering what draws you to pray and share those thoughts with God.
What should we pray about?
God wants to share the life of each one of us. He wants to be involved, included and truly desires that very precious relationship with us.
Why do we struggle with prayer?
Spend some time thinking about what the barriers are for you, what is stopping you – no time? Don’t know what to say? Don’t feel close to God? Difficulty with making it a regular habit? Other things get in the way? Lack of commitment or desire? Feeling inadequate or not knowing where to start?
REMEMBER YOU ARE NOT ALONE. ALL THE ABOVE ARE COMMON TO ALL OF US – WE ARE HUMAN. WE ARE FALLIBLE.
- There does need to be a real desire to be with God and a willingness to commit to this relationship. This is a struggle for us all because we live in the earthly world that makes demands on us. God does not want us to spend our time feeling guilty because that creates a barrier between Him and us. Admitting who we are, how we are feeling as we would to a good friend is one of the best ways to start.
David’s words in Psalm 51:10 may help with this. “Create in me a pure heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (NIV)
Remember – God is not looking for scholarly devotion – just a straightforward conversation.
Below are some ideas, recommendations and references which will hopefully help
- Sometimes trustworthy friend/s can help you to share your thoughts because putting your feelings into words (or writing them down) can be cathartic. You might then decide to be prayer buddies – encouraging, supporting ,listening to each others’ thoughts and feelings.
See also Micro Groups
(click here to go there)
- This idea is based on a weekly pattern of prayer as given in the MAF prayer booklet 2021. Sunday – (Dan2:20). Monday- Ask Mtt7:7. Tuesday – Scripture 2Tim 3:16. Wednesday- Be Still Ps 77:12. Hab2:20. Thursday- Thanks Is12:14. Friday – Faith Jn 8:31-32. Saturday – Action James1:17
- Bible Journaling – This involves either choosing a passage or verse from the Bible or using an app such ‘You Version HOLY BIBLE’ which gives you a verse every day and has a 5minute talk to explain or encourage, which you can then use to reflect on and to decorate/write or draw in your Bible. (There are specific Bibles for journaling which leave plenty of room for you to be creative around that verse.) Other apps are available.
To encourage us at St Johns, we have a Bible journaling group which meets on a monthly basis in church. Please contact Kathy Banbury, or the church office for further information.
- If you like being outdoors, why not go on a Prayer Walk. It can be wherever you choose. As you walk seek, God’s natural world and see the beauty in his creation or walk through what man has created and find God in the buildings, on the pavements, or the traffic. Consider what feelings and emotions this walk brings and offer prayers as you walk, of joy, gratitude, sorrow, forgiveness, healing, or whatever God brings to you mind.
- Choose an object – be it in your pocket, handbag, inside or outside, whatever you feel drawn to and use it to help you focus on your prayers as you uses your senses to explore it and/or memories it evokes.
- Lectio Divina – (Don’t let the title put you off. It simply means Holy Reading.) It is a meditative/contemplative way to read a Bible passage, and then allow God to communicate with you through a part of the text. The format is to choose a short passage from the Bible and read it through slowly a few times to allow the words to sink in. Imagine you have a chewy sweet in your mouth and chew the words over that seem to be jumping out at you. Do this slowly and carefully and savour it. As you do so, the scripture seems to become more personal to you and is no longer part of a larger text but an intimate text for you and God, forming a deeper relationship between the pair of you. Afterwards, it is sometimes useful to note it down in a journal so that it can be looked at again as a reminder of that closeness and personal experience with God.
A useful resource for those who are starting out is Lectio 365 – just load the App and enjoy!
- The Examen – a prayerful way to look back on the day and find where God’s love has been leading us as the day has progressed with a view of learning from our experiences and bringing uscloser to God in preparation of the next day.
It follows this set pattern :
Gratitude – for the day God has given us and giving Him thanks.
Petition – Asking for God for his gift of the Holy Spirit and to give us insight into where we might have strayed/gone wrong in the day.
Review – going through the day slowly and seeing where we have included God and where we have excluded Him.
Forgiveness – Asking for God’s healing touch of forgiveness and removing any guilt.
Renewal – Looking towards the next day and working with God to plan how we can live in accordance with God’s Loving desire for me.
(Reimagining the Ignatian Examen- Mark Thibodeaux SJ Loyola Press)
Monday Evenings – at the current time this group is not able to meet but it is hoped that it will soon be active again. Its focus is prayers of intercession – praying for the Church, the Community, the Country and the World.
Thursday Mornings – this group meets at 9.50am –11.00 am. The focus of this group is to “Wait upon the Lord”, Seek, Listen and Pray. All are welcome.
For more information, please contact Sue Hodgkins, Chris Whitehead, or the church office.
We hope shortly to be having an annual plan of events here. This is currently being worked on.
Coming up in March 2022
World Day of Prayer on Friday 4th March 7.30pm at Burscough Methodist Church. A wonderful opportunity to worship and have fellowship with all the Burscough Churches.
The Papa Prayer – Larry Crab
Prayer – Richard Foster
How to Pray – Pete Greig
God on Mute – Pete Greig
Prayer – Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God
The Grace Outpouring – Roy Godwin
God of Surprises – Gerard Hughes
Prayers to Close my Day – David Malley
The Wonder Beyond – David Adam