In Psalm 46:10 we are told to ‘Be still and know that I am God’. However, it is hard for us to be still, either in body or in mind. It is easy to think that prayer is all about thoughts or feelings expressed in words. But this is only one expression of prayer. Prayer can be about opening our whole self to God, the ultimate mystery, beyond thoughts, words and emotions.
Centring prayer is a way of teaching us to prepare ourselves for this deep communion with God. It has been described as ‘sitting comfortably in God’s presence’. We start with a short prayer. All you do is think of a word. This can be anything that brings you back into God’s presence, like love, abba, still. Then you sit comfortably and with a straight back – this makes it easier to be still for 20 minutes. Whenever thoughts or feelings or even great spiritual insights come into your mind, you say your word quietly to yourself. The 20 minutes ends with the Lord’s Prayer. And that’s it!
You are very welcome to come and try out this method of prayer with us every Monday morning at 9:00 am until 9:30 am in church.
Morning Prayer Tuesdays 9 – 9:45am
We follow a simple Morning Prayer pattern from the Northumbrian Community and spend time reflecting on passages for the day. We finish by praying for the church family and wider afield. A relaxed and interactive time to pray and focus on God.
1:1:1 Prayer First Monday in the Month 7-8 pm
One hour, once a month to pray for one church. Come and join us on the first the Monday in the month at 7 pm to pray for our church and community.
A space to be.
Sometimes it is good to be able to set aside a special place in which to pray. We invite you to use the chancel area on the left of the church as a prayer space. There is space to sit and reflect, and we will be suggesting some active ways of praying, often themed around the current preaching series. The church is open every morning 9am until 1pm and Tuesdays and Thursdays until 5pm.
Lunchtime Prayer Fridays 12:15 – 12:30pm
A great way to re-centre in the midst of a busy day. We use some simple words based on the Lord’s prayer and have a few minutes of quiet. We finish by committing the weekend services to God.
Eight years ago, 3 ladies dipped into their fabric stashes to make a prayer quilt together for a very special friend who was battling aggressive breast cancer. The end result had love and prayers in every stitch and we realised that we could use our God-given sewing talents to bring comfort and prayers to others. Since then St Stephens’ Prayer Quilt Ministry has made many cosy quilts, incorporating fabric recycled from cotton shirts, dresses, pyjamas and bed linen, for recipients all over the world, with personalised labels and prayers ‘tied’ by the St Stephens congregation into every one. If you know someone struggling with a life-changing event who would appreciate a prayer quilt, please speak to Donna or Jill to find out more. Alternatively please contact the church office. Donations of cotton fabric and money for supplies most welcome and we have some photographs from this ministry here and Jill talks about this ministry here.
At St. Stephen’s we operate a ‘prayer chain’. This means that if somebody needs urgent prayer, a member of the chain can be informed, who will then pass the request on to the next person in the chain, and so on. This is a most effective way of getting as many people involved in the prayer focus as quickly as possible.
If you have a situation that requires prayer, please contact Hilary Bicknell or the church office on 01428 642609.