North West Durham Methodist Circuit

Deepening Discipleship, Making More Disciples

Circuit day of prayer online

While we can't meet in person, we can still take time to pray wherever we are! Here you'll find the resources to make your own Day of Prayer: feel free to visit each 'station' all at once or over the course of several days. We'll aim to post new material each month so be sure to check back regularly!

Go to this page for previous months' material.


March

For a PDF file with all of the following, click here.


WELCOME

Welcome to our Circuit Day of Prayer.

There are six prayer stations, each offering a way of praying creatively.

They are numbered, but feel free to visit them in which ever order you prefer.  You may however find it useful to start with Prayer Station 1: Physical Prayer, which helps prepare us for spending time with God.

You are invited to spend as much or as little time at each prayer station as you wish.

You can choose to visit them all in one, or to spread them out over time.  Whatever works best for you.


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PRAYER STATION 1: PHYSICAL PRAYER

God cares for us as whole people, and the Bible asks us to bring our physical selves to God. We suffer from a lack of the physical at the moment, unable to meet in the same room, unable to shake hands or hug our friends.

This is a prayer that encourages us to pray in a physical way, using our hands and bodies.

Of course, we are all different when it comes to mobility, so I encourage you to engage with this to the extent that you can. Feel free to substitute a movement for something that works for you.

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Let’s start by grasping our hands into fists in front of us. Think about what is distracting you right now - concerns you have, items on your to-do list, deeper worries about the future. Whatever you come with today, imagine that you hold them in your hands.

Feel the tension of holding on to all these things and the effort needed to keep your hands in fists.

In 1 Peter 5:7, we read:“Cast all your anxiety on God because God cares for you.”

Let’s softly open our hands and let go of our anxiety, allow God to carry our burdens today, because God cares for you.

Next, spread out your hands wide in front of you.

Psalm 143:6 says: “I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land.”

Out hands are so empty, so full of need! Like the parched land cries out, we cry out: Oh Lord, we are thirsty, we are needy! Come and rain down on us, fill us today with all that we need.

Now, if possible, move so your feet are touching the ground. Imagine that this is your root, receiving the life-giving love of Christ. As you read this famous verse from Ephesians 3, use your arms to show how immense Christ’s love is for us.

“I pray that we, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how WIDE and LONG and HIGH and DEEP is the love of Christ.”

Now, church, you in whom the Lord dwells, let’s raise our arms in praise to God to end.

Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord
who minister by night in the house of the Lord.
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise the Lord.
(Psalm 134:1-2)

 

Prayer by Sara Hargreaves, (https://www.engageworship.org/ideas/physical-prayer-for-zoom)


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PRAYER STATION 2: MAY CHRIST SHIELD ME TODAY

St Patrick’s Prayer Trail

Below is a link to St Patrick’s Prayer Trail. The trail consists of five spaces that walk us through the prayer assigned to St Patrick and invite us to pause and think what this means to our lives.

It is designed to be done outside so, if you are able, you could take your phone/ipad/paper copy and head outside.

If you prefer to stay where you are, before starting the trail, take a moment to transport yourself, in your imagination, to your favourite outdoor place/space.

Now begin …

The following link will take you to the trail. Either open up the pdf document (clicking on the red underlined pdf) or click on the first ‘space’ and move on using the ‘NEXT’ button.)

Each ‘space’ has three ‘thoughts.’ Take moments to pause over each thought.

https://www.muddychurch.co.uk/st-patrick/

 

The trail is also copied below:


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This resource comes from Muddy Church.

Muddy Church has grown into a collection of people and groups looking to build worshipping communities and opportunities outside.

To find out more, visit the website:

https://www.muddychurch.co.uk

Muddy Church are also on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/muddywondering



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PRAYER STATION 3: REFLECTING ON THE PANDEMIC A YEAR ON

 

Tuesday 23 March 2021 marked a year since the start of the first UK lockdown.

 

As part of a special programme on BBC1, Lockdown Live: What Next?, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, was invited to share his thoughts on this significant day.

 

This is what he said:

I think my first thought is one of grief and lament.

People around the country have so many memories today. Memories of those they’ve lost, of things they’ve lost, of contacts they’ve lost. Being able to hug grandparents, to be with each other. That sense of uncertainty, anxiety.

And we’ve learnt to be with each other and to support each other. And so with that grief and lament I am praying for that sense of community to grow.

My second thought is one of thankfulness.

Thankfulness for those who’ve served us and helped us. That remarkable sense of thankfulness to those who’ve cared for us and been with us and are now giving us our jabs which we really must take.

My third one is determination and hope.

This is the time of year when Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead. That death is a liar. That life overcomes.

Jewish people round the world will be celebrating Passover at almost exactly the same time, that sense of liberation, which is going to be so real.

And Muslims will be celebrating the holy month of Ramadan, of drawing close to God.

There is something that calls us to be spiritual and eternal. To build something with hope. And I feel a great sense of determination, that we must change our future, our society, what it means to live together.

 

(You can watch Justin Welby here, from around 54 mins: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000tjgb/bbc-news-special-lockdown-live-what-next)

 

What are your thoughts on this anniversary?

Perhaps spend some time on reflecting on how this last year has affected you and your life.

Reflect on the negatives.

Reflect also on the positives.

You may wish to incorporate the negatives into a prayer of lament (lament – a passionate expression of grief or sorrow)

You may wish to incorporate the positives into a prayer of thankfulness.

Offer both to God.


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PRAYER STATION 4: ON THE EDGE OF HOLY WEEK


A reflection (to be read slowly)


Let’s pause if only for a moment

to look into the coming rush,

the words, the thoughts, the prayers,

the questions and the misunderstandings

that will follow throughout these days …

we grapple with the story afresh,

yet inevitably we bring our own assumptions …

So come Spirit of Christ, enliven us as we take this path,

stir our spirits, give us fresh imaginations,

vital encounters,

hearts and minds willing to be among those

who would dare to fall

as a grain of wheat,

letting go of the what is that we cling to

so tightly, who even while knowing that

being open to resurrection possibilities

will be costly

will be willing

to count the cost,

to pay the price ….

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on the edge of Holy Week

Let’s pause,

Let’s pray ….

(written by Sally Coleman, Methodist Minister (Co-Superintendent) currently serving in Sheffield.)

 

Spend some moments in prayer, looking ahead, with God, to Holy Week.

 

The reading for this Sunday, Palm Sunday, is Mark 11: 1 – 11

Read this passage slowly and reflectively, with God alongside you.

Share with God your thoughts as you are reading.


Jesus comes to Jerusalem as king

11 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, “Why are you doing this?” say, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.”’

They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, ‘What are you doing, untying that colt?’ They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,

‘Hosanna!’

‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’

10 ‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!’

‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

 

You may wish to engage with this Bible passage through a Taketime meditation.  Taketime is a series of relaxing guided meditations based on the stories of Jesus and the tradition of St Ignatius.

This Bible passage is covered by two meditations: Mark 11: 1 – 7 Choosing a donkey, and Mark 11: 7 – 10 Hosanna.

For each one, there is a choice of four meditations (either, 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes). There is an explanation of the difference between the four.

You choose which one/s you would like to do.

You can find them here:

https://taketime.org.uk/journey-meditations/mark/mark-chapter-11/


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PRAYER STATION 5: RESET THE DEBT

Reset the Debt is a campaign launched by the Baptist Union, the Church of Scotland, Church Action on Poverty, the Methodist Church, and the United Reformed Church, working with Jubilee Debt Campaign.

An estimated six million people in the UK have fallen behind on one or more household bills as a result of Covid-19, with the biggest increases in debt amongst the poorest households.

People who were previously able to keep their head above water are now in severe difficulty. Others, who had been just staying afloat, now face being overwhelmed by circumstances entirely beyond their control.

The campaign proposes that the Chancellor creates a Jubilee Fund. This would provide grants to pay off and cancel unavoidable debt accrued by households during the lockdown period, giving them a more stable platform from which to face the future.

You are invited to spend some moments praying for all those who are in debt.

Below is a link to a prayer:

https://www.youtube.com/

 

The prayer is copied below:

Forgive us our debts

Forgive us our debts, we pray
As we forgive our debtors.

We all have debts, Lord
We owe so much to so many:
For love and nurture
Education and encouragement
Shelter and hospitality.

And from you,
The health that has sustained us
The bounty of the earth
The love that frees us.

As we acknowledge what we have received,
Let us also be ready to give
And to forgive.

We pray for those who are burdened by unavoidable debts
And pray that we who know our indebtedness
May act so that all can experience release and freedom.
For your promise is life in all its fullness.

We pray in the name of Jesus
Amen

 

More prayers are available here:

https://resetthedebt.uk/2020/10/09/prayers/

 

To hear the story of someone struggling with debt, follow this link:

https://youtu.be/W9-hA8c6JD0

 

For more information about the campaign and how to take part, do visit their website:

https://resetthedebt.uk


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PRAYER STATION 5: PRAYING IN COLOUR

(Taken from: https://prayingincolor.com/praying-in-color-praying-in-black-and-white)

Praying in Color = prayer doodling

Here are some reasons to Pray in Color:

1) You want to pray but words escape you. 2) Sitting still and staying focused in prayer are a challenge. 3) Your body wants to be part of your prayer4) You want to just hang out with God but don’t know how. 5) Listening to God feels like an impossible task . 6) Your mind wanders and your body complains. 7) You want a visual, concrete way to pray. 8) You Need a new way to pray.

Here’s what you need to get started:
1) Paper
2) Pen
3) Colored markers or colored pencils or colored gel pens
4) A table or clipboard or book to put your paper on.

Here’s how to get started:

1)  Write your name for God on a piece of paper. Draw a shape around it or just start to doodle. The drawing becomes a prayer space, a small prayer closet.

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2) Add marks and shapes. Focus on the name you chose. Ask God to be part of your prayer time with or without words. If words come, pray them; if not, enjoy the silence.


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3) To pray for a person, write their name on the page. Draw around it. Add color, if you want. Keep drawing as you release the person into God’s care.

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4) Add other people to your drawing. Think of each stroke of your pen as a prayer for them. Take a breath or say “Amen” between each person.

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Praying in Black and White Praying in Color – the Color

Praying in Black and White was conceived as an express version of praying in color. It’s a way to pray through doodling with only a piece of paper and a pen—anywhere, anytime. No color is necessary. Just pull out a pen or pencil and start to pray—on a business card, an envelope, legal pad, calendar…

An example of the steps above in black and white:

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THANK YOU

for being part of our Circuit Day of Prayer.

I hope that you have enjoyed engaging with the various prayer activities.

If you would like to create an on-line prayer station, or have thoughts or suggestions, please do let me know.

Join us next time, on Thursday 29 April 2021

God bless

Anne