On Thursday 18 March our study group met to consider the topic of individual prayer. We looked at three of the occasions on which Luke says that Jesus prayed: after his baptism, before choosing his disciples, and in the Garden of Gethsemane.
We considered the questions: why did Jesus pray? and what difference did it make?
It was suggested that Jesus needed special times of prayer when faced with important and difficult tasks and decisions. In prayer he found strength, guidance, and loving reassurance.
We then considered whether it is necessary to have a special place for prayer. Jesus clearly could pray in a crowd, but he also looked for quiet places for prayer. We too can pray in a crowd, but we usually need quiet in order to concentrate: a room or a chair at home; in a church; a prayer room in hospital or airport etc.
We looked at the experiences of some people who had felt especially close to God in particular circumstances: in a busy cafe in a shopping centre, looking at the Christmas decorations; when knitting blankets to send overseas to an orphanage; when out walking by the sea; and through a prayer journal or a hymn book.
Wherever the place, one thing is essential: making the time to pray.