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Reform Magazine | May 21, 2024

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A good question: How do I pray? - Reform Magazine

A good question: How do I pray?

One question, four answers

CLARE DAVISON
‘It’s a level of communicating beyond words’

Prayer is very personal and, as I was mulling over this question, I thought back over the different periods of my life, all of which have added to how I now pray. My prayer journey began at an Anglican primary school, with set prayers punctuating the day. Some teachers seemed to pray their own words, which seemed different and authentic. Then, at secondary school I missed the rhythm of prayer, instead discovering the Christian Fellowship’s weekly prayer group, using extemporary prayer together, a new form of prayer to me….

Clare Davison is a URC minister in Lincolnshire and Prayer Secretary of GEAR, the Group for Evangelism and Renewal in the URC

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CARLA GROSCH-MILLER
‘Clench your fist. Open it slowly’

My prayer practice has changed with the seasons of my life. For the last 35 years (since a Buddhist friend taught me to meditate), silence has been a touchstone. There have been years when that silence was accompanied by a rigorous daily schedule of sacred reading and articulated prayer. When I was in congregational ministry, I devoted regular time to praying for members, aided by a photo album…

Carla Grosch-Miller is a URC minister, practical theologian and poet whose books include Psalms Redux: Poems and prayers, Lifelines: Wrestling the Word, gathering up grace and Trauma and Pastoral Care

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ST THEOPHAN THE RECLUSE
‘Discern every word’

Prayer – the soul’s breath – is of utmost importance in the life of a Christian. Without prayer, a person is dead.

Reading prayers, whether recited by memory or read from a book, is not prayer itself, but merely a means to start it. The first step in prayer is invoking feelings of reverence for God: devotion and gratitude to the Father, submission to the will of God, an aspiration to glorify Him, and other similar feelings. While praying, we should make those feelings permeate ourselves in order to prevent having a dry heart….

St Theophan was a monk and bishop in the 19th-century Russian Orthodox Church. This extract from his writing was compiled by Bishop Alexander Mileant, translated by Irina Nabatova-Barrett and edited by Father Jeremiah McKemy and by Reform. Used with permission

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ANJUM ANWAR
‘It is a command of God’

As a Muslim, I pray five times a day, but I also pray when I am driving, walking, cooking, shopping. So what does ‘pray’ actually mean for me?

My understanding of prayer has two levels. Firstly, there are five prescribed prayers which must be offered at a stipulated time. Prescribed prayers are sometimes called salah or salat. These five prayers are mandatory and are mentioned in the Qur’an, but how one prays was explained by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)…

Anjum Anwar is a teacher and former dialogue development officer for Blackburn Cathedral

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This is an extract from an article published in the May 2023 edition of Reform

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