© The parish of St Mary and St Paul
The Catholic Parish of St Mary and St Paul
Within the parish we have a Prayer Group, which meets in St Mary’s church Parish Room at 7.30pm on the first Thursday of every month. The meeting lasts for approximately 45 minutes. There are usually between 3 and 10 of us.
As Christians, prayer is central to what all of us are about. Our need to pray to God is matched by his wish that we should do so. In John’s Gospel we hear how Jesus asks the Samaritan woman for a drink of water at the well. The wonder of prayer is revealed to us at the well, where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being. It is he who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts; his asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us.
“If only you knew what God is offering”, Jesus says to the woman, “You would have been the one to ask, and he would have given you living water.” In the Christian life there are several well-
During our meetings we engage in a variety of forms of prayer. Every meeting starts with a time of turning back to God and seeking his forgiveness. We then give thanks to him for all that he has done for us; followed, most importantly, by a period of praise. Here we give glory to God simply because HE IS. When we praise, the Holy Spirit is joined to our spirits to bear witness that we are the children of God. Praise embraces the other forms of prayer that we use during the meeting and carries them towards God, our Father; it is therefore a crucial part of the prayer meeting. There then follows the Adoration and Worship phase, when those present remain in contemplative and respectful silence in the presence of the Lord. Then usually comes a reading from holy scripture, God’s Word, followed by prayerful reflection or discussion of what God is saying to us. Finally we have a time of petition and intercession where we pray for our own needs and those of our community.
During the prayer group meeting, we pray in our own words, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide the meeting where he chooses. No one is obliged to speak out loud if they do not wish to do so: if you wish to remain quiet and join in, in thought only, that’s OK.
In my own life, I have found that the prayer groups, to which I have belonged, were places where God speaks, sources of peace, joy liberation and healing.
Our Prayer Group is in no way exclusive; it is part of the Parish and for that reason our meetings take place in the Church. All are welcome.
We hope to see you on the next first Thursday in the month.