I love the Message version of 1 Timothy 2:1-3, urging us to pray: “The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Saviour God wants us to live.” This seems to me such a practical and all-comprehensive call to prayer. It takes us beyond ‘conventional’ prayer (eyes closed, hands together) and introduces us to all the different ways we can pray and also gives us such a broad scope of intercession. At this time when governments are having so much say in our daily lives and in many ways are dictating how we should live, the call to pray for those in authority over us is also very timely. As we pray, our eyes are taken off ourselves and our focus can be on God, who is all-powerful and whose purposes are never thwarted.

Having said that, it’s much easier to talk about prayer than it is to actually pray. This is why we are so keen to vary how we pray so as to actually engage in praying rather than mentally agreeing it’s important and then moving on without praying. Tomorrow (Saturday 7th November) we will still be doing our ‘Take Back The Streets’ prayer initiative. Praying while walking is a great way to pray. It means we pray with our eyes wide open and with hearts that ask God to bless real people in real locations. If you can’t walk around Goldthorpe tomorrow, you can pray while you shop wherever you are; if you can’t walk or get out at all, you can still pray between 10 and 11 a.m. tomorrow. We will be out walking and praying in Highgate at that time.

Then on Wednesday 11th November at 10.45 a.m., we will be holding our ‘Churches Together’ prayer meeting on the Dearne Churches Together Facebook page. We’ll be thinking about remembrance and looking at how we can pray using creativity. One thing I have been doing with my granddaughters this week is making poppies. We have made poppy cards looking at Philippians 1:3 (‘I thank my God every time I remember you’) to send to our friends and family since we can’t see them right now and we have also made craft poppies to give to people. These are all different ways we can pray, asking God to bless and help those we love and combining prayer with action, something that’s always useful to do.

Prayer needs to be ongoing, however, a daily conversation with God that’s not limited to set times but overspills into our daily living. It involves adoration, praise, thanksgiving, confession of sins, personal prayers and intercessions for others. Let’s commit ourselves to pray every way we know how for everyone we know, asking God to guide us as we pray.