28 June 2005

The Methodist Church Prepares to "Pray Without Ceasing”

This afternoon the Methodist Conference launched 'Pray Without Ceasing'. Last year the young people of Methodism challenged the church to join in 14 months of non-stop prayer and this idea has inspired Methodists to think again about prayer and its place in their spiritual journey.

The launch of 'Pray Without Ceasing' includes an exciting interactive website going live today (www.praywithoutceasing.org). Conference representatives have received special 'Pray Without Ceasing' packs and are being encouraged to make prayer bracelets. This morning, Youth Conference representatives met on the beach in Torquay to write prayers in the sand, expressing a spirit of creativity and freedom.

The Revd Michaela Youngson (Methodist Secretary for Pastoral Care and Spirituality) says, 'the Pray Without Ceasing programme aims to celebrate prayer as a gift from God, affirm prayer that is already taking place and resource prayer by providing ideas and inspiration'. This will involve: promoting continuous prayer; encouraging people to try out unfamiliar approaches to prayer; being inclusive of age, gender, culture and theology and maintaining a clear link to the priorities of the Methodist Church.

One of the main purposes of this initiative is to affirm and encourage established methods of prayer, giving people the opportunity to learn from one another's spiritual experience. Methodists are asked to consider what opportunities there are for prayer in their own churches, who they pray for and how as well as the difficulties of making space for prayer in a modern, busy world.

This 'Year of Prayer' will last from now until 1 September 2006 and will involve a variety of national and local events such as 'Prayer on the Edge', a weekend for students and young Christians to explore prayers through music, workshops and activities. There will also be an opportunity to explore prayer in a multi- faith context at the 'People of Faith at Prayer' conference in Birmingham.

Methodist districts are being encouraged to organise continuous prayer events for a week or a fortnight so that there will be non-stop prayer throughout the Church for the entire period.

The website will support this programme by offering ideas, events listings and resources as well as a forum for discussions on prayer and a separate 'Prayer Space'. A resource will also be developed during this time to support ministers and others as they teach people about prayer.

Michaela says that 'Pray Without Ceasing is a gift to the whole church from the young people of Methodism. Their vision and enthusiasm for a year of non-stop prayer has been infectious and has created an opportunity for all of us to look afresh at our understanding of prayer and our commitment to a deeper, more fulfilled relationship with God.'


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