St Mabyn Church...prayer


Creating a life with God through Prayer

If there is one subject designed to put people off it’s the subject of prayer. Many of our memories of praying link back to school days and school assemblies when we were taught to say the Lord’s Prayer. Other times when we tend to pray are often when we are in a dire emergency or at a critical, emotional, or stressful time in our lives. God listens to our prayers at these times because He cares for each and everyone one of us.

Prayer is about communicating with God. Often we think of this as one way, that is, us talking to God. Of course it is really important that we do that, and because God can take it (He is GOD after all!) we don’t need to spare the horses in what we say to Him or the way we say it. If we need to get something off our chest then let’s do it! God doesn’t mind.
However, have you ever had one of those so-called conversations where the other person does all the talking and you do all the listening? Don’t you just feel you can’t wait to put the phone down or get away as quickly as possible? It’s all about them then. God has more patience than we do and listens to us. However prayer is about two way communication and a vital part of it is that we listen to Him too!

Which is why we need to get things in proportion. I was once told that during a time of prayer it was good practise to limit the talking to 20 percent of the time and listening to God to 80 percent of the time. This is a real challenge for many of us! So that if I start with a 10 minute prayer time, two minutes to pour out my heart and concerns to God, and spend the next 8 minutes listening to Him.

For those of us not used to this, 10 minutes (8 of which are spent in silence) may seem like an eternity. What are the likely issues to be? Mainly I think the mind wanders and we get interrupted by all kinds of interrupting thoughts! Those who have practised silent prayer for many years often remind us that the mind WILL wander – because we are human – so let it, but then when you realise it has, then bring it back to your focus. What kinds of things can we use to bring our minds back to a point of focus? One of the ways is to light a candle and to remember it is a symbol of Jesus the Light of the World. When our mind wanders we simply bring our vision back to the candle (or crucifix, or picture, whatever we feel comfortable with); we don’t chastise ourselves for the fact our mind wandered. We simply accept the fact that we are human and it’s going to happen.

Some Christians use a favourite positive phrase of Scripture to meditate on in this quiet time so when the mind wanders they simply focus and repeat the phrase. Using a phrase of Scripture like this means that the words eventually seep into our being like the rain permeating the soil so that new life can grow.

In the Christian tradition there is a depth of knowledge and wealth of experience in relation to different approaches to prayer. At St Mabyn we are starting a new monthly group soon where together we will be exploring some of these approaches. If you would like to join us then do please contact us (perhaps via this website) for further information.

Confidential prayer requests can be sent to

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