Prayer for Liverpool
Today is the feast of St Bede – a famous monk born in Jarrow in the North East and an exceptional historian and scholar from the 7th/8th century. A name which resonates for me because my college in Durham was named after him – (St Hild and St Bede), and each year on college day, the chapel choir had the honour of singing in a special service in Durham Cathedral and around his tomb in the Galilee Chapel there. Described as the ‘Father of English History’, his most famous work ‘The Ecclesiastical History of the English People’, was the first written history of England. He’s quoted on the Cathedral’s website with the famous line “It has ever been my delight to learn or to teach or to write”…..something in reflection I hope I’ve done in some small way for the sake of those served within my professional, academic and spiritual life, now in Liverpool.
College day was always known for its festivities – from dawn until dusk. But it was notable that prayer was at the heart of it – through the service of thanksgiving for those gone before, through whose life-works we had the privilege of being there and studying – and from whose memory we too might draw inspiration to go on ourselves in the service of others.
In a similar way, prayer is at the centre of our own lives; or perhaps, especially for me, could always perhaps be more central. One of the difficulties and beauties of my busy life (as it is for many, I’m sure) is that prayer time seldom feels regular. Throughout my entire life, except perhaps for the period of time at theological college, my working life has dominated and always had a varied pattern. As such prayer can and does happen at different times and in different places – but that can be a blessing. Being in different times and places, helps me to focus prayer very much on those in need, in the world around me in the moment. It is a joy to pray at my desk, or rushing to teach, travelling to meetings, or praying with individuals within the cathedral outside services. I am happy to pray anywhere and everywhere – and in one sense that is something I lean upon. As well as the prayer within our wonderful services, God calls us to pray for anything and everything…..at any time. My shortest prayer is the sign of the cross – which I make often (just starting to write this piece, always begins with making it). It is my prayer asking, may all I am about to do be done in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit – that all I might say and do is placed under God’s guidance.
Within the cathedral, there are many places which help to focus our prayers – like the beautiful icon in the picture above. The ‘Hospitality of Abraham’ by contemporary Romanian iconographer Cristi Paslaru copying the original 15th century piece by Russian painter Andrei Rublev. We will soon be back to pray there again, but in the meantime, let us learn from this present prayer time – that prayer can take place through different media, in many different ways, and with those we know and love and appreciate around us, anytime.
This period of time building up to Pentecost is a time the church focuses particularly on prayer – you may wish to join with some of the initiatives around, some I’ve listed below. Or perhaps focus your prayers elsewhere in your own way, where you are and whatever you are doing are times you can pray; with a cross in your hand, or running across the park. At work on the frontline, going to work, having coffee (virtual or otherwise) with the people around. All prayers are needed, all prayers are sacred, all prayers are heard and answered in some way by our loving God.
With my love and prayers for you all; stay safe….
Church of England prayer resources for the Coronavirus Pandemic: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-parishes/coronavirus-covid-19-liturgy-and-prayer.
The global, multi-denominational wave of prayer, across the world: Thy Kingdom Come: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/church-resources/thy-kingdom-come.
Together for the Harvest: https://www.24-7prayer.com/signup/81c1ce.
While you're here:
Why not prepare for next Sunday's worship? Our preparation sheet for adults and for children can be accessed by clicking on the Resources tab of this website: https://www.prayerforliverpool.org/prayer-resources.html.
Prayer for Liverpool
brought to you from Liverpool Cathedral
St James Mount
Liverpool Cathedral is a place of encounter.
Built by the people, for the people, to the Glory of God