For more than three hours on 19th September 2018, in Ripon Cathedral, +Rowan Williams, past Archbishop of Canterbury, spoke and answered questions with more than 300 clergy from across the Diocese of Leeds. It was a day when wind and very heavy rain battered North and West Yorkshire, which somehow added to the drama of what we heard. We considered 'how to pray.'
I wanted to share the outline and a few specifics of what he shared, as I think it may be the key to personal growth and depth in spirituality in our church, if we ‘have ears to hear.’ My full notes from the day are in the attachment at the foot of this page.
* Prayer is being swept up in the creative purposes of God
* Prayer helps the whole world draw closer to the reconciling purposes of God
* We are at our best in prayer when there is a 'hearty desire' to pray (it comes naturally)
* Prayer begins where we are looking and listening, breathing more slowly, encountering God's presence
* Prayer can be filled with a sense of wonder as we encounter God
* Prayer is also living in the light of God's presence - His presence will expose our faults and failures
* Prayer aligns us with God's purpose for the whole church, the whole world, not primarily individuals
* Be specific in prayer - being honest with God is a great place to start (even if our thoughts are distorted and bitter), but we should expect the Holy Spirit to take us into a better, redeemed, place through the act of prayer
* What are the big issues in our world which are calling us to pray? What is on your heart? What do you want?
* Speak out with boldness and courage when you pray. What outcome do you most long for? Speak this out.
Just ten things to ponder in our prayer life as a church.
+Rowan spoke about prayer with the Diocese of Sheffield in 2014 - there is a longer talk here, which gives a more basic explanation about prayer.
For those who lead intercessions in church, you may want to look here, for some guidelines, too.