The Methodist Church Prepares to "Pray Without Ceasing”

This afternoon the Methodist Conference launched 'Pray WithoutCeasing'. Last year the young people of Methodism challenged thechurch to join in 14 months of non-stop prayer and this idea hasinspired Methodists to think again about prayer and its place intheir spiritual journey.

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

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

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

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

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

The website will support this programme by offering ideas, eventslistings and resources as well as a forum for discussions on prayerand a separate 'Prayer Space'. A resource will also be developedduring this time to support ministers and others as they teachpeople about prayer.

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