Prayer keeps us conected to God. It's where we can talk with God, and most importantly where we learn to align our thoughts with God, and we listen to God.
This prayer tree shows how our prayers need to be rooted in the love that Jesus demonstrated on the cross. The branches are different ways we can share in spreading this love.
We cannot reach out into the community around us unless we are willing to trust in the Holy Spirit of God to guide us. During the summer months of 2021 we have been focusing on strengthening our prayer life together, offering and discovering different ways each member of St Paul's worshipping community can be involved in this. In September 2021 I am delighted to say that two members of St Paul's Church will become Authorised Lay Ministers with a remit to focus on evangelism and reaching out into the wider community. Cornelius and Marianne have worked hard to put forward the following ideas whereby the prayer life of the church is strengthened and enriched so we can begin to reach out with God's love to those who have yet to know how much God loves them.
Some of the ways we are doing this are:
ONLINE. During lockdown we began meeting online for Morning Prayer at 10am on a Wednesday. This started with just two people and by God's grace has grown to a regular gathering of about twelve people. This typically lasts around 20 minutes, and there is usually some time to chat afterwards , sharing what we are getting up to, or passing on information about things that are happening. It's become a lovely way for people to check in on each other, and even sing Happy Birthday (something we have had to halt temporarily in church during covid restrictions). We used to have a Wednesday morning Holy Communion Service in church attended by 2-3 people, but this service has now permanently morphed into online Morning Prayer as it is especially attractive to those folk who may be feeling a bit too frail to get to church.
DOORSTEP. Are you struggling to be part of church life or do you know someone that is? You or they may not be feeling so good, off work with health problems, recovering from surgery, feeling too frail to risk going out, at home with a new baby, having to nurse a relative, feeling low. There are many ways we can find ourselves cut off from the church community and worship. We have a team of people who can come to your doorstep during these times and pray with you.
PRAYER WALKING. How powerful would it be if every place you went to, every spot your feet touched, every chair you sat on in church was prayed over? How wonderful would it be if every street in St Paul's parish, each house, school nursery and business were covered in prayer? This is our vision by prayer walking: to fill our community with prayer. How amazing to know, and even be part of, Christians stepping out in faith and being the change that we long to see. A group of us have been doing this on impromptu basis, and if you would like to join us we now have a regular schedule planned for the warmer months in 2021 -- every other Tuesday as follows: 6 July 10.30am, 20 July 6.30pm, 3 August 10.30am, 17 August 6.30 pm, 31 August 10.30am, 14 September 6.30pm, 28th September 10.30am; all starting from church, for about an hour. If you can't walk very far (like the Vicar!) you can still join in by staying in church or the church grounds (e.g. you might prayer for any dogwalkers you meet). If you are housebound, we can pair you up by telephone with one of our prayer walkers. We can even arrange a Prayer Drive if you prefer.
REQUESTS. If you would like us to pray for you or someone else, or for a situation that you are aware of, just let us know and we will pray for you. No request or need is too big or too small, and it would be a privilege to pray for you. Contact details are at the bottom of this page.
NEWSLETTER. We will be introducing a newsletter for each season of the year, to go through local letterboxes. We will introduce the Prayer Tree and its branches and focus on how through these branches we can interact prayerfully with the seasons. It will include details about the prayer walk schedule, asking for people's prayer requests, share what various people have been praying for (no personal details will be made public), and how we have been trying to cover the whole of the parish with prayer. Included will be news about forthcoming events at St Paul's, details of services and an invitation to join us. We want to bring some good news and hope to our neighbours. We might even suggest worship music to listen to, as well as offering some prayers and inspirations.
TALKING TENT. Although this sounds like something from a Harry Potter film, it isn't. It will be open on a couple of occasions in the churchyard during the summer (weather permitting). Many people walk along the paths through the churchyard, often with their dogs. So our team will be there to pray, talk, or simply listen, along with bibles and resources to inspire, encourage and help people in their faith journey.
RIBBONS. As you come into St Paul's there is a small prayer tree, and some coloured ribbons in a basket. You could choose, for example: purple to PRAISE God, yellow to THANK God, red to ASK FOR HELP, blue to SAY SORRY, or green to PRAY FOR PEACE. You might find it difficult to put your prayers into words, so as you tie a ribbon on one of the branches let it symbolise your prayer. We want to encourage everyone to pray more, especially as we go through the various phases of unlocking our social lives. You may notice chairs, handles etc with ribbons tied to them. They indicate that prayer has been said in that place. For example, on a door handle to ask that those who enter through the door, might leave through it finding themselves refreshed, reassured or comforted.
St Paul's Prayer Team can be contacted via our Facebook page or by email here