For a few months now (since the start of Lockdown II), we have run a weekly hour of online prayer for our church. When I announced the first session, I was fully ready to spend an hour on my own for a couple of weeks and knock it on the head but I’ve been delighted to find that it has met a need and established itself as a regular part of our devotional pattern. Today, I sent out a weekly reminder but added an extended explanation, which I thought some of my readers might find interesting.
We’ve settled into quite a regular pattern. If you haven’t been before but have been wondering about whether to dip your toe in the water, let me quickly tell you about it.
We don’t have set themes but pray as God leads us. That will include hearing what other people pray about and adding to that. If I sit on a thought for a while, it is amazing how often someone else will turn to the same topic. Through this, we recognise the Holy Spirit guiding us.
I try to open the Zoom room a little early but not too much. Zoom will let you wait if you get there before me and, unlike turning up too early at a building, you aren’t left waiting in the cold!
We have a minute or two at the start as people join to say hello but not too long (our Sunday morning coffee and chat is a regular opportunity to natter). I normally read a short Bible passage at the start to encourage us to to set our minds on God and another at the end as we come in to land. This is based on the Lord’s prayer, which begins by worshipping our heavenly Father and ends by exulting in his kingdom.
If you arrive part way through, we won’t all stop to say hello because we are praying. Don’t worry – we aren’t being rude and you aren’t late. Take a minute or two to pick up the feel of the evening and join in. You also don’t need to say goodbye or make excuses to leave early – the freedom to leave the meeting when you need is also part of the deal.
We’d love you to feel that you can pray out loud in the meeting and, in my experience, the way to do that with confidence is to start doing it. Keep it short, keep it simple and remember that you are praying to God who loves you alongside people who want to see you succeed and all have their own history of learning. You don’t have to pray out loud though – you are also welcome to come and sit in the presence of praying, soaking it up, to pray in your heart or to write your prayers down in a notebook.
If you made it this far, let me summarise that all in a nutshell. You are welcome to join us for online prayer this Wednesday!