1: A place to listen for the voice of God
All Saints’ Church, Hethel is known as a place to be still, a place in which to find a ‘bit of peace’, a place to listen, a place to encounter God.
You may simply want to sit in the church and take in the quietness, the sacred space in which you sit. You may like to walk around quietly and browse the variety of resources for prayer, for guidance and about the church building itself. You may prefer to walk outside and enjoy the conservation churchyard, or to visit Hethel Thorn.
"Be still, and know that I am God" says Psalm 46.10, but most of us recognise that stillness is about more than not fidgeting.
One of the biggest obstacles to prayer is nervous tension, so an important way we can prepare to pray is to relax. To do this, we might need to recognise some of the reasons why we are tense: worry, pressure of things to be done, the quarrel we just had, the mess we feel we carry around inside us… Handing these things over to God – giving him the load – frees us to meet God afresh and to be open to receive his love.
As Jesus promised "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11.28-30 – there are Bibles in the church pews if you want to look it up.)
To relax further, you could begin to listen to the sounds around you: your breathing, bird song, the wind, the silence. Simply focus on each one for a short time until your mind has slowed down and you are present to this moment, this place and your time with God now.
Thou shalt know him when he comes,
not by any din of drum, nor the vantage of airs
nor by anything he wears,
neither by his crown nor his gown.
For his presence known shall be
by the holy harmony
that his coming makes in thee.
(15th century poem)
In the church there is a table of resources to help your thoughts and prayers. Please take any of the cards or help leaflets that might be of value to you.
There is also a book trolley with a range of books "for borrowing, by anyone, from anywhere".