Our Church Buildings are open for private prayer thanks to the volunteering efforts of Martin Lowles, Joanna Baxter Fielding, Tim and Barbara Swift, Valerie France and Dave Fisher. Martin explains how these are not just a quiet space… but a different space.
…by Martin Lowles
We all sometimes need a different space to the one we’re in each day. For a special birthday or occasion we could have a meal at home, but a meal in a restaurant (you may remember what those were like) makes the occasion… different. We could have all our coffees and drinks with friends at home, but meeting up in a Coffee Shop or Pub makes it…. different.
I find that meeting up with God, listening to his voice, thinking about what it may mean, and sharing with God my joys and sorrows, I can do it at home (I do do it at home) but I can do it better in a different space. I get so distracted at home.
Jesus needed different spaces when he needed special time with his heavenly Father;
from the beginning of His ministry…
Very early the next morning, Jesus got up and left the house. He went out of the town to a lonely place where he prayed.Mark 1:35
to the end of it…
Then Jesus went with His disciples to a place calledMatthew 26:36
Gethsemane. And said to them
“Sit here while I go over there to pray.”
And he encouraged us to find right spaces too.
“But when you pray, go to your room, close the door, and pray to your Father”Matthew 6:7
(Incidentally, poor people’s homes in those days only had one door, and that was to the pantry!)
So, you can come and find a different space to the one you have at home, even if your home is quiet or even too quiet:
What do I do when I’m there?
I need things to help stop my mind wandering. Without help, I start thinking about West Ham, the car that needs a service, the thing I’ve forgotten to phone about, the task that I need to do, the person who’s really annoyed me… so here’re some of the things that help me:
- Read some of Mark’s Gospel (we have copies of a lovely new version in church, produced by the Hope Church Project)
- Read a chapter of a Christian Book, especially with Lent coming up: ask if you’d like one
- Read a page from a Prayer Book (we have some at church)
- Listen to some Christian Music from our CD player or your phone/iPad (bring your headphones)
- If you’d like some to listen to, from classical to contemporary, folk to pop, let us know
- Light a Candle
- Write a Prayer Card (again from the Hope Church Project) and put it on our Hope Board or Prayer Tree
Look at a picture, for example this one was used in the intercessions a couple of weeks ago:
- What do you notice here?
- Whose load do you carry? What’s in yours today? Where is God’s hand in all this?
- Is God asking us to help some person or organisation outside of our family and friends.?
Tog yourself up in warm clothing. (Our churches are part of the Antarctic Endurance Training Scheme!) Although St James’ does have heaters at various points and the Meeting Room is heated
A Prayer: Heavenly Father, as the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert to think and pray, lead me into prayer. Amen.
Our Church building is the one hospitality location not closed.
Because it’s God’s hospitality.