It is lovely to be starting to get back into a rhythm of regular Sunday worship again, after all these months of lockdown. We are very fortunate to have priests who are willing to assist us with mass; and we hope that, after May 17th it will be possible to restart a monthly HC service at St Margaret’s Hall, Lowtherville.
In the meantime, we can all find ways of deepening our spiritual lives by drawing on a variety of sources: from the good old BCP to on-line worship, TV or radio, there are now many ways of accessing additional prayer resources.
I am currently following a series entitled, “Prayer: where to start and how to keep going”. It is based on a book by Archbishop Stephen Cottrell and is available from Church House Publishing, or you can listen to ++Stephen’s daily reflections as part of the Radio 4 Daily Service at 9.45LW daily from now until April 30th.
One of ++ Stephen’s suggestions is to use you hand as a model for prayer.
Start by holding your clenched fist in front of you, and then slowly opening it up to receive from God the blessings and wisdom God longs to give you.
In this way – your hands open before God – your hand itself can be a basic pattern and reminder of how to pray:
When something is good you give it the “thumbs up”. So start with thanksgiving. Count your blessings. What are the good things in your life? Thank God for them.
2. Index finger
This is the finger you use to point. Pray for direction in your life; the decisions you need to make; the things for which you are responsible; the things you are concerned about. Pray for direction in our world and for the challenges we face.
3. Middle finger
This is the tallest finger. Pray for the important people who have power in the world; national and local politicians; the Royal Family and other world leaders and their governments.
4. Ring finger
If you are married, you wear your wedding ring on this finger. It is also the weakest finger. It can’t do much on its own. Pray for your family and friends. Pray for the people upon whom you are dependent, and the people who are dependent on you.
5. Little finger
This is the smallest and the last finger on your hand. Pray for the poor, the weak, the helpless, the vulnerable, the excluded, the hungry, the sick, the ill and the bereaved. Remember those who have died.
And finally – lifting both your hands to God in thanksgiving – pray for yourself
The sign of the cross
This leads us to probably one of the most basic ways of praying of all, also using your hands. Making a sign of the cross on your forehead or your body. It is one of the ways many Christians begin and end a time of prayer.
With my love and prayers,
The image is “The good Shepherd” mosaic in mausoleum of Galla Placidia. UNESCO World heritage site. Ravenna, Italy. 5th century A.D. Creative Commons CC0 License