An Introduction to Prayer
its simplest definition prayer is a conversation between the one who is
praying and the one to whom those prayers is directed.
Prayer can take many forms, and encompass the whole range of poetic and literary styles. It can be a cry for help or a cry of joy. It can be a single word or a symphony of prose.
Pope John Paul II is quoted as follows on the difficulty of praying. "How to pray? This is a simple matter. I would say: Pray any way you like, so long as you do pray."
Prayers can be individual or corporate, liturgical or extemporary. They can be short or long, simple or complex in language. In fact words are not always necessary, for we have the promise that when words fail us the Spirit will intercede for us with the most intimate prayers of our heart.
Living for some years in Wales and being aware of the interest and influence of the early Celtic Church within this land, it is difficult not to be influenced by the vision and prayer life of the early Christian saints.
To the Celtic Church their God was a personal and loving God totally involved in the whole of the Created world, which He had breathed into existence.
The Celts knew that their God was involved totally in all of His Creation. They held firm to a belief in the incarnation and the knowledge that Jesus Christ lived, died and rose again from death to show the great Love of God for His Creation, and indeed for all of us, His creatures
Michael Mitton in his excellent book 'Restoring the Woven Cord' talks of the Celts' love of wholeness, and how they wove together the various strands of their faith into a most effective cord for ministry and mission. Mitton suggests that over the centuries the Church has picked and chosen from these strands, ignoring, losing and then re-discovering lost strands as if they were the most important strand of all.
As a result, the original Cord and the effectiveness of the Church in its mission has become weaker. The strands of the Celtic cord which Mitton emphasises are holiness, a love of the Bible, the importance of children, community, creation, creativity, death, evangelism, healing and miracles, the Ministry of Women, prayer, prophesy, spiritual warfare and the Wild Goose (the Holy Spirit)
It is my opinion that the early Church in this land was in some ways much closer to the heart of God than our current denominational jumble sale. We can pick and choose as we would sweets in a market stall - there's something for everyone.
But the strength of the Church is surely in a weaving together of all the strands of our Christian faith - One Church, One Faith, One Lord.
I started this introduction by stating that at its simplest prayer is a conversation, and conversations are rarely one-sided. Within our time of prayer needs to be the silence that enables God to contribute.
David Adam says of silence 'It is not an empty time but a God-filled time.' 'Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer'