The Annunciation Trust

to help you discover the God you already know

Prayer in a time of plague (2)

Last week’s morning guided prayer attracted about 30 people. I am going to continue to lead 30 minutes of guided prayer every Wednesday morning while we are in coronavirus lockdown. You can find details of this and other opportunities for prayer here: https://mailchi.mp/7865c2b9704a/prayer-in-a-time-of-plague-4863233.

With my prayers,
Julian

Prayer for sleep

Here is my second offering of a recorded prayer. As I said in my last post, when I wake in the night, I wish there were some guided prayers I could listen to, to settle me, to connect me with God, to remind me that all is well and I am safe.

This is a prayer for when you lie down to sleep, when you wake in the night, or when you want to rest or have a nap in the day. This is designed to help you relax and find rest in God’s presence, such that you might drift off into sleep in a feeling of trust and letting go.

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Prayer in a time of plague

In this time of distancing, isolation, and quarantine, I am offering two opportunities for prayer.

Morning Prayer Zoom

I invite you to a free, weekly online time of meditative Christian prayer and reflection.

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Simple Prayer

Sister Wendy Beckett was a Roman Catholic contemplative who knew a great deal about art. You may have seen her on tv talking about it, or you may have read one of her many books on the subject. She also wrote about prayer, and there is a quotation that I attribute to her that has stayed with me.  “If God is love, and prayer is important, then it cant in principle be difficult.”   Certainly she was convinced that “prayer is simple.” 

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My Constant Companion

Some time ago I was sitting talking with a friend in my shed. I don’t recall the context, but I do remember very clearly something that he said. I have no memory of what prompted it. He said “ Sadness has been my constant companion throughout my life.”  It took me quite by surprise, and I have never forgotten it.

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Advent Thoughts

Recent events have left me feeling helpless and in a dark place.  Our decision, based mainly on lies, to leave the EU, leaves me with a sense of shame at being English. We are letting both ourselves and our European friends down badly.

We have a government which is already underfunding the NHS, our schools, and the social care provision for the poor and needy, as well as undermining the judiciary and making strangers feel unwelcome, while the wealthy prosper. I expect it to get worse.

We have a PM who lies, runs from difficulties and scrutiny, and lacks empathy & compassion. I wouldn’t trust him with sixpence. 

Meanwhile, the Church of England, in a state of decline, is facing the wrong way and asking the wrong questions, at a national and at a Diocesan level. 

Where is God in all this I ask myself?

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Annunciation

We are all meant to be mothers of God. What good is it to me if this eternal birth of the divine Son takes place unceasingly but does not take place within myself? And what good is it to me if Mary is full of grace if I am not also full of grace? What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to his Son if I also do not give birth to him in my time and my culture? This, then, is the fullness of time: When the Son of God is begotten in us.

Meister Eckhart
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God’s fragile ego

The other day the friend of a friend posted on Facebook. His wife is in remission from illness and he expressed gratitude for “prayer, pills, and positivity” – a nicely balanced message I thought. Amidst predominantly supportive responses, two comments got my goat: “Don’t forget to give the doctors and drugs some credit!!” and “Why not give credit to the God we pray to?” Both of these suggestions were redundant: “pills” covered the first quibble, “prayer” the second.

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My Vision: a work in progress

Assumptions

1       Every human being has a vocation [a calling from God], probably several, and honouring them is what brings us fully alive.  One of mine is to be a priest. I will only be fully myself by being a priest, and I will be the priest I am called to be by being fully myself: priesthood will then flow naturally through me.  Every priest will exercise their priesthood in a unique way, and their other vocations will inform the way they do so.  Mine has at its core a search for meaning in life: a search that involves my body, head, heart & soul.  I also have a need to share what is shown me.

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When prayer stops working

There comes a time when God appears to change. This may happen many times in a life. It is not so much that God feels distant or absent, though this may also be the case. It is more that you look for God in the usual place, or you think of God in the usual way, and this no longer seems to work. The usual is no longer satisfying, or now seems childish or naïve, or has become intellectually lacking. It is not that you no longer want God. It is not that you no longer want to pray. It is that you thought you knew and now you are not so sure.

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