And So To Pray
We may ask if there is a right way or wrong approach to our most private time with God? We may ask whether He listens, if He hears and often if we are worthy of being heard? But ask yourself this instead; do we listen, do we hear? Do we need to give more of ourselves un-self-consciously over to His presence at our time of prayer?
A prayer can be likened to a conversation with the Lord. You need do nothing but allow Him to enter your heart. He will be as a friend at your door. Leave a light burning as an invitation; let Him make himself known to you.
This is the time to listen; and in prayerful silence you will learn to hear Him, each time, perhaps, in a different way.
Prayer is opening ourselves to God unselfconsciously. This private communion or 'conversation' will open the door to God’s healing, protection and perhaps instruction. It is a precious time to give thanks, to ask and to receive, whether it is for your good or another. Have faith, He will hear you.
There will be times in personal prayer when you will want to praise and give thanks to Him; times, it seems when you can hardly pause for breath, so great is your out-pouring and need of Him. There may be times when words are insufficient or inadequate, when you feel unworthy to be heard, let alone answered. It happens to us all. Time then to remember Matthew 6: v 9-13, when our Lord taught his disciples the model prayer ... The Lord's Prayer. Even these dedicated men asked our Lord how they should pray.
There will be times when you cry out.. How many of our prayers begin, 'Dear Lord, help me'? He hears us all: earnestness, sincerity and faith are all that He asks from us.
When you can do none of these things, wordless and without worship, then do not worry – let it be. It is sufficient to allow Him into your heart. Let Him sit with you without words, as you would a true friend or loved one. Let Him share your solitude in companionable silence.
He asks nothing of you but your love. But when the time of sharing is over, pause, deliberate and give thanks for the time you have spent in His company - as you would a friend. Allow your time with the Lord to be as it is, whether worshipful or wanting, but let it be a time of companionable sharing, of need, faith and the firm knowledge that you will be heard, loved and, under His direction, answered. Amen
Lynn New ©
When God speaks, things always happen! (Isaiah 55 v 11) Putting “thus saith the Lord” on the end of things we say won’t transform our words. Only the Holy Spirit can inspire us to speak God’s message.
So how about starting with our God-given imagination? “Sanctified thinking” (“the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2 v 16); “renewing of your mind” (Romans 12 v 2)) offers us the opportunity to imagine what God wants to do – in us, through us, with us, in spite of us.
It has been apparent to most new visitors shown around the Priory that rooms intended for people were cluttered with ‘stuff’. Turning that negative reaction around, some such people could imagine those rooms as bedrooms, a kitchen/diner (photo at bottom of column) and a shared shower room/toilet. One day, someone dared to speak it out.
On Monday 6th November, according to the current programme, contractors working on behalf of a major partner will start work on nine of our first floor rooms. By the New Year, we should have seven people living in the main Priory building as part of their journey out of homelessness. Every time we mention this, people say “how wonderful!”
Clearing the clutter was no easy task, but “a house prepared and furnished with love” needs commitment at all levels. Thanks be to God for all who have helped, including those who prayed that we might not falter in the task.
So now we’ve got a taste for imagining God’s plans for the Priory, what might be next? The homeless partnership was born out of a ‘false start’ and many months of praying and planning. The important thing is to test our sanctified thinking, knowing that the Holy Spirit will be delighted to give to us the discernment we need. Which leads us to the old kitchen.
What do you see? Now look again, asking God to show you what He can see. Imagine, perhaps, a second kitchen, equipped for teaching people basic skills to ‘Bake Off baking’. Our new residents may want to learn, or be able to teach! Oh, and you’ve noticed the clutter. Don’t worry, we’re working on it.
Change can be unsettling, especially for people who are particularly vulnerable, and/or who have become used to the Priory as it was when Chris, Colin and Marja were being used by God in this special place. But Andrew and Stella are now our ‘live-in’ caretakers, developing a new role under God’s gifting. Other people are testing calls to the Priory, with a view to bringing new gifts and ideas that are wholly in tune with the original vision, as encapsulated by ‘the Priory prophecy’.
Perhaps the Magnolia Grandiflora by the old pottery (now occupied again) sums it up. Beautiful as it might look, and admired as it has been, it now has to go, otherwise it will cause damage. But we can already imagine the extra light reaching the Tea Room, quiet rooms, and replanted flower bed!
As most of you will now be aware, these are times of great change here at the Priory. We sent Colin and Marja on their way in August, with many blessings for their new life and ministry in Salisbury. We also bade farewell to Rachel from the kitchen to start a new job as a carer. In addition, then, to the developments referred to in Bob’s article on the previous page, there have been a few changes amongst the staff.
Louise is already making her mark in to her new role as House Manager, making sure that all is clean and tidy, and keeping things ticking over on the practical side of daily life at the Priory. This includes our shop, and if you have any good quality items that you think may be suitable for sale in the shop, do get in touch so that we can have a look.
Sharon and Evanthe are the new kitchen team, and in addition to serving delicious lunches, are also doing all the baking so that we can continue to offer our usual range of home-made cakes.
We have also had new volunteers come on board, in both the garden and the tea room. As ever, we express our thanks to our loyal band of volunteers—we couldn’t keep the Priory going without you!
So, as we move into yet another New Year, we pray God’s blessings on the Priory and all who visit or work here, and look forward, together, to finding out what God has in store for us for the coming year and beyond.
Greetings from Salisbury!
And thank you to everyone who made our farewell day and service so very special, and for all of the hugs, kisses, cards, messages and gifts.
Moving away and looking back has made us realise even more what a very special community and place Carisbrooke Priory is. We know that we will always be part of the Priory.
We are settling in well to our new home and community, and are enjoying finding out what God would have us be doing now.
Remembering you all with love and affection, and one with you in the body of Christ.
Colin and Marja
Events this Winter
“COME INTO OUR WORLD”
Monday 4th December
9.30 a.m.—2.45 p.m.
Please bring a packed lunch
To book, please contact Maxine on
PRIORY CAROL SERVICE
Thursday 21st December
Followed by refreshments
in the Tea Room
Music for a Quiet Garden
Inspiring instrumental improvisations recorded exclusively for Carisbrooke Priory
by local musician Julian Wolfreys, using guitar and effects to create relaxing
£5.00 per copy—every penny goes towards the work of the Priory