There are many ways to pray, the Rev. Jessica Schaap, Diocesan Missioner for Christian Formation emphasized in a session at Holy Trinity Vancouver, Saturday, March 18th.
The all-day workshop attended by members of the parish and others was not a lot of theory but rather a lot of practice in praying in different ways. “There is nothing we can’t pray for,” the Rev. Schaap insisted.
A traditional form of prayer might be a non-Eucharistic service authorized by the Church for daily use that includes a psalm, collects, and lessons. Morning Prayer can be one example. The group went through an example of what is sometimes called a Daily Office.
And then, illustrating a very different form of prayer, the Rev. Schaap sent the group out, two-by-two, to make a circuit around Holy Trinity’s neighbourhood at Granville St. and 12th Avenue, to silently observe the activity of people on the streets, and – if so moved – to pray silently for them.
Back at the hall at Holy Trinity, members of the group very slowly ate a small piece of bread and a grape as a prayer exercise, savouring the taste of each. Another exercise focused on slowly going through the Lord’s Prayer and allowing images from each phrase to arise in the mind.
Using gestures that included raising hands high above the head and sinking down to the floor, the group “prayed” the Apostle’s Creed. The Rev. Schaap said this physical form of prayer originated in her work with children. Her workshop plenary, consisting of all adults (plus one well behaved child) enjoyed the exercise.
Finally, the group spent time, again in pairs, praying for each other’s concerns. A guide was given on how to go about this: first address God and describe one of God’s attributes (e.g., “holy God,” “loving God,” etc.), then make a request, give thanks, and finish up with closing words and “Amen.”
The Rev. Schaap closed the workshop reminding people that it is the Holy Spirit that gives Christians the power to pray, and that – in all its forms – prayer can be an integral part of life.
The Rev. Jessica Schaap is available for parish workshops. You are invited to call her at the Synod offices, 604.684.6306 ext. 225
The Reverend Schaap presenting in the hall of the Parish of Holy Trinity, Vancouver
Photo: Neale Adams