The Director for Communications at the Anglican Communion Office, Gavin Drake, outlines new prayer resources on the official Anglican Communion website.
Bakers bake bread – it is what they do. This sentence is something that I have used frequently to explain why Christians praying isn’t necessarily a news story. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Special prayers at times of crisis or in response to a tragedy will often make headlines; but in those cases it is the crisis or tragedy that is the news. The prayers are a side-story.
Later this month the Anglican Communion will come together to pray in an initiative that may well make headlines around the world. I am talking about the fifth Sunday in Lent – a day that the Anglican Communion have been called upon to set aside as part of a season of Prayer for Repentance. There will be more about that on the Anglican Communion News Service next week, but in summary, it is a day proposed by the Archbishop’s / Primates’ Task Group, set up following the Primates’ Meeting in January 2016.
Their call to prayer was endorsed by the Primates at their meeting in Jordan in January and a range of resources to help you pray on the day can be found on the Anglican Communion’s prayer resource webpage.
Prayer is popular amongst Anglicans. The page for the Anglican Cycle of Prayer is by far the most popular page on the Anglican Communion Website. Through the Anglican Cycle of Prayer, Anglicans around the world join together in praying for the same dioceses. Each day, from Monday to Saturday, a handful of dioceses are listed for prayer. On Sundays, the prayer focus tends to be on a province, an extra provincial area, or some other united prayer.
Previously, the Anglican Cycle of Prayer page was linked to our database and would automatically update with the name of the bishops of the diocese being prayed for. But for the past two years this linkage hasn’t worked. We are in the process of sourcing a new database and hope to restore this link by the end of the year.
This year, we were late in publishing the full Cycle of Prayer. But the full listing for 2020 is now online. And work is already underway to prepare a full three-year cycle of prayer, which will revert back to praying for a single diocese each day, praying from Abu in Nigeria to Zululand in Southern Africa over the course of three years.
We will also develop a simple widget or code which can be used by provinces, dioceses, parishes and other Anglicans to display that day’s entry in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer on their own websites.
There is a tendency amongst non-believers to look upon prayer as a form of spiritual home shopping – you place your order and wait for God to deliver. But this is to misunderstand prayer, which is a form of worship itself; a conversation with God. Christians will have many different experiences of prayer. Some are used to reciting written prayers or liturgy while others are more comfortable with extemporary prayers and others prefer to pray through silence.
Prayer should underpin all that we do. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has as one of his priorities the renewal of prayer and religious life. He has invited a group from the ecumenical Roman Catholic order Chemin Neuf to live at Lambeth Palace to share in the daily life of prayer and he has begun a new monastic movement, the Community of St Anselm, to provide space for young people from around the world to “spend a year in God’s time” praying at Lambeth Palace.
Members from both communities created a praying presence at recent Primates’ Meeting; and they will be in Canterbury in July and August to do the same during the Lambeth Conference. When Anglicans gather, as the bishops will for the Lambeth Conference, it is important that they are uplifted by the prayers of the global Anglican Communion.
Praying for the Lambeth Conference has already begun. Its organisers have created a prayer journey – a collection of prayers – to help the Communion do just that. You can find out more on the Lambeth Conference website.
Every weekday, services are held in the chapel at the Anglican Communion Office in London at which ACO staff pray for the dioceses and provinces of our Communion. As you pray, please remember my colleagues and me; and pray for us as we pray for you.