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instead. in /var/www/web/wp-includes/functions.php on line 3916 From The Rev’d Gareth Miller – February 2018 — The Akeman Benefice

From The Rev’d Gareth Miller – February 2018

Brian Wood

The Rev’d Gareth Miller

Dear friends,

To pray or not to pray? Or “how to pray?” That’s the question we’ll be thinking about in our series of Lenten addresses beginning on 21 February.

Praying is something I find hard, and I guess that is not an uncommon experience. As a priest I promise to say Morning and Evening Prayer each day (known as “the daily office”). Monks and nuns can have up to seven offices a day. I must say I find it hard enough to squeeze in two! The mornings are easier – I am an early riser and I like to spend some time in silence and finish that with Morning Prayer. The evenings are more difficult – I try to say Evening Prayer at 5pm, but, you know, the meeting goes on longer than expected, there are 99 emails to answer, someone comes to the door… Yes, sometimes it gets missed, though I do try to catch up later if I haven’t fallen asleep.

Prayer, like life, is about relationship – mine with God, his with me, mine with others. If I close myself off from spending time with God (or with my partner, my children, my friends) I am saying “I am self-sufficient. I don’t need you. I don’t need to change or learn or grow.” It is so easy to put all kinds of blocks and excuses in the way of going deeper and allowing ourselves to be challenged.

Prayer, like relationships, is hard work. But, as with relationships, there isn’t a blueprint for how to do it. There are all kinds of ways of being open to God and of learning to be receptive and attentive – silence, contemplation, using art, singing, walking; Catholic, Evangelical, Quaker, Celtic, and so on. Other faiths also have much to teach. That’s why we’ve organised a series of Lent Lectures on this topic on Wednesday evenings. Don’t be put off by the title – to be honest I chose it because I like the alliteration! Each evening will begin with a talk by a guest speaker, lasting about twenty minutes. There will then be a chance for questions and reflection, and this will be followed by an opportunity to experience a time of prayer using the idiom described. Please see the notice elsewhere in this magazine for full details. I hope many of you will come along, whatever your beliefs or faith tradition.

It is said that the Curé d’Ars, a French saint of the 18th century, once asked an old peasant what he was doing sitting for hours in church, seemingly not even praying. The man answered, “I look at him and he looks at me and we are happy together.” Another ‘saint’, the 20th century Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, once said, “When I pray coincidences happen.”

Warmest good wishes

Gareth
akemanbenefice@gmail.com

01869 350224