Coming together to seek God and pray

13 July 2023

In East Anglia, the District has decided to dedicate 2023 to prayer. District Chair Rev Julian Pursehouse notes that ‘Prayer is the very heartbeat of the Church and therefore vital to its life and health!

Pray 23 will enable the District to rediscover this ancient truth by praying more often, more creatively and in ways we had never imagined’.

Regular prayer is one of the twelve commitments of A Methodist Way of Life - twelve things that we do individually and together to respond to the gospel of God’s love in Christ and to live out its discipleship in worship and mission. Prayer is, simply, communication with God. There are many ways to pray which appeal to different people, so the District team is organising a number of different activities so that everyone can take part.

Ninety people from across the District gathered for a Zoom launch in January, and people were inspired to start new prayer groups or try new ways of praying. Fifteen people aged 12 – to 75 joined a district prayer walking group.

ea-prayer-2-23A ‘Pray Through May’ campaign has been really successful, with 36 hours continuous hours of prayer in Sawtry, and a 24-hour prayer room in Walsingham. People fed back that they had a “huge feeling of peace and closeness to God”, and a “tangible sense of God's peace and presence. It was a “special” experience that “will further impact the chapel worship from now on”. One person commented that it not only “brought people together” but also “raised the profile [of the worshipping community] in the village and circuit.

And that’s not all - four more churches are planning prayer rooms for later in the year. Learning Network Officer Jenna Thorne also plans to facilitate the new Sunshine and Showers prayer course (available for pre-order) with a group, exploring some of the paradoxes that can be barriers to prayer, and encourage participants to try prayer in new, fresh ways.

District Mission Enabler Yasmin Finch says, “It feels like East Anglia is doing something special this year. In a quiet, sacred way, turning to God and asking for inspiration, healing and renewal.  We're excited to see what unfolds!”

Are you inspired? Here are Yaz’s four top tips to exploring prayer in your church, community, circuit or district:

  • Find the passionate pray-ers – how can they encourage others?
  • Give it a go – prayer doesn’t have to be complicated or perfect.
  • Expect God to show up!
  • Check out the resources, ideas and inspiration at pray23.org