When Jesus went to pray alone on the night before he was arrested, he told his disciples to wait, and to do some praying of their own. “Watch and pray”, he said. Coming back and finding them sleeping instead, he was predictably disappointed: and yet at the same time, somehow manages to be sympathetic as well. “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” is one of Jesus’ best known sayings, but not everyone remembers that he was talking about prayer. I like to think that Jesus is describing the dilemma that Christians have faced all through the years since then – that we want to pray, but we find it hard.
Prayer is fundamental to the Christian faith, and yet can seem very daunting. We are always told that we should pray, but strangely, this can make things worse. Probably the best advice I have ever been given about prayer is “pray as you can, not as you can’t”. Prayer needs to start with the things that come easily – the small things, the things closest to our heart. Different people pray differently – some like to be quiet, others prefer to be active. God hears our prayers however they come – they don’t have to be done in the “proper” way, whatever that may be.
I hope you are able to use this prayer calendar, but in a way that works for you. You could sit down and pray with it each morning, or use it in a prayer group with other people. You could take it with you and say a prayer on the train, in a break at work, or wherever you find a quiet moment. You could pin it to the fridge and say a quick prayer when you come face to face with it. Do what works for you – pray as you can.
The Reverend Charlie Peer
Strategic Programme Manager