What is prayer? In my experience prayer is both personal and corporate. It comes naturally for some and not so naturally for others.
I am thankful that as a child I was taught to pray. This involved closing my eyes and praying either out loud, or in my head if I was by myself. I learned two prayers by rote: The Lord’s Prayer and our family grace (I knew it was time to change the grace I used when at the age of 18, I said my telephone number instead of grace) and prayer that was conversational.
Philippians 4:6b says to pray ‘in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God’. This reminds me that prayer is about the whole of life.
It has taken me a lot longer to discover that there are many ways that we can pray. I like to pray when I walk in nature. I also find it helpful to write prayers. For some reason, as I put pen to paper I am able to pour out my heart to God, and yes, I even write what I think God is saying back to me. Prayer can be a list, it can be music, it can be poetry, it can be while exercising.
As part of our response to He Waka Eke Noa—All of Us Together as a territory, we will host seven online prayer meetings where we can gather online to pray together.
These will last only 30 minutes, but resources will be available to help people to continue praying after that. And because we know everyone connects with our God differently, at each gathering a new way to pray will be introduced—everything from using The Songbook of The Salvation Army to action prayers.
As we continue to learn what it means to practise our faith—all of us together—why not explore new ways to pray and join us for our online ‘Praying Together’ meetings.
Lt-Colonel Liz Gainsford
Territorial Secretary for Spiritual Life Development
This article appeared in the March 2023 edition of the War Cry magazine.