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From the Manse - September 2017
Page Manager:
Alan Bannister

Revised: 02-Feb-2018
Review Date:


Revd. Derek McLean
Revd. Derek McLean

I know that many of you also read Peter Waddell’s letter in the St. Lawrence magazine. For those of you who missed it, Peter’s August letter was about getting back to the basics of prayer.

He wrote about the importance of prayer and how most of us find it difficult from time to time. We can be daunted by it or we can find prayers dry and formulaic and no longer speaking to us or for us.

I have a simple ‘Prayer checklist’ pinned up on my desk. It contains the following words:

  • Wow
  • Sorry
  • Thanks
  • Please
  • Help
  • Yes

I admit that the idea isn’t original and is quite simple, but I sometimes find it helpful. It can be used for introducing prayers to children, but it can also help anyone rediscover child-like faith.

I guess it could be used as a five-second prayer where you simply read down the list of six words. I fear that this has a particular appeal in an age of Social Media like Twitter (where even texts seem old-fashioned). However, that isn’t the way I find it most useful. I simply pick one of the six words and then reflect on it: I might go for a walk or I might be sat quietly, perhaps with a candle lit. I then think about just one of these aspects of our relationship with God.

…and sometimes when I shut up for long enough I even think I hear God speak in response.

Do try it, it might work for you.

Of course, if you want more structure and a few more words to guide you, then I’m sure that you will appreciate the new Methodist Prayer Handbook. I always value it and I’m looking forward to the arrival of my 2017/18 edition. It isn’t too late to get one.

Rev Derek