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"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer”

Romans 12:12

We are facing a time of challenge, where prayer, worship and fellowship with others feels increasingly important, and yet where any plans to gather together as a worshipping community are on hold, as the Covid-19 situation develops.

How do we keep our faith strong in this time and how, if we find ourselves in isolation, do we maintain a rhythm of prayer and worship?

Helpful resources
  • Daily Prayer - Available as an app or through the Church of England Website, this gives you access to prayers throughout the day, the Daily Collect and suggested readings according to the lectionary.
  • Lectio 365 - Available for iOS and Android. A simple app with daily prayer and meditation on scripture. It begins with a centring prayer, a reading from the Psalms, then a Bible passage that has some thought/comment afterwards. There is an option to read through it yourself slowly, or use the audio guide, which uses different voices and takes approx. 10 minutes.
  • Prayermate - Available for iOS and Android. Allows you to pull together different themes and prayer points into a virtual prayer diary, with prompts and reminders to set a daily rhythm. Also allows access to additional materials like the C of E Collect for the Day, prayer material from mission agencies and the ability to upload PDFs – so any prayer requests that come through on your usual email address from prayer partners or church communications can also be added into your rhythm.
  • Contemplative at Home - Reflections and guided prayer with scripture. A large back-catalogue of podcast recordings – approximately 20 minutes long. Each offers a time of stillness, a piece of scripture to reflect up, some thoughts from Lissy Clarke and some guided prayer to explore what God might be saying to us through the passage.
  • Sacred Space - This website contains thought for the day, guided reflections, and a daily Bible passage. It is also home to “Pray as you Go”- an app to help maintain rhythms of daily prayer at times to suit you.
  • Evening Prayer with Taizé - Every evening at 7:30pm Taizé will be live streaming their evening prayer.
Resources for families with children and teenagers:
  • God in Playtime - These are ideas to help you see how we can involve God in the play our children are already doing. The aim is not to add work setting up or persuading children to do different things but to spark our minds and theirs about where God is.
  • Pandemic Hope - A family devotional for life during Covid-19. There are devotional readings and activities prepared for the next 8 weeks for you to do with those you are isolated alongside. 
  • Family Prayer Ideas - St Paul's, Leamington Spa have put together several ideas for prayer at home which can involve all members of the family no matter what age they are.
  • The Bible App for Kids - Animated Bible stories and Bible themed activities for children to explore the Bible and how it fits together. Great for exploring stories as a family, discussing deeper themes in an accessible way and helping continue to disciple children in the absence of their own church groups.
  • Digital Family Prayer Adventure - Part of Thy Kingdom Come wave of prayer. This is a series of resources – journal, podcast and interactive adventure map that enables you to pray and worship together as a family. The idea is to explore what prayer is, think of people and situations we can pray for and develop a rhythm of prayer as a family. The prayer map is supported by an app that unlocks extra content and daily challenges so this could be a great way to help your children worship and pray if they are currently unable to access their usual children’s activities at church/school.
  • #Live Lent: Care for God's Creation is the Church of England's Lent Campaign for 2020. This free app has weekly themes shaped around the first Genesis account of creation, it explores the urgent need for humans to value and protect the abundance God has created. This year’s #LiveLent challenge offers 40 short reflections and suggested actions to help you, your family and your church live in greater harmony with God, neighbor and nature.
  • Thy Kingdom Come: Families - This site has a variety of resources available for families. These are great resources to deepen your prayer life, whatever your age. There is also a podcast for each day and a digital prayer adventure map.
  • All Age Worship at Home - This site provides simple interactive acts of worship that lasts for approximately half an hour that can be used at home. Over the coming months 53 of these acts of worship will be written to follow the major themes of “The Big Story of God”. The first 4 acts of worship will be available on Monday 30 March 2020.
  • Engage Worship - Everyday Engage Worship is posting a simple prayer and/or worship activity for families.
Other ideas
  • Set up a WhatsApp group with a couple of people whom you can comfortably share your spiritual journey. Chat throughout the day, share prayer requests, offer humorous stories or anecdotes on what you are learning to maintain a sense of connection – we still need fellowship, even if we have to do it from a distance. Video calling through WhatsApp/Skype/FaceTime etc. can all be a fun way of praying together as a group.
  • Consider the practicalities of your church going online. Are you able to record your sermons? If you already do this, are you able to offer a live stream to the whole service through Facebook live or similar? Are you someone who has the skills or technical knowhow to help your/another church to do this to reach those who can’t access in person? The Diocese will be making some help sheets and practical advice available in the coming days.
  • Use of Zoom or similar platforms can allow a small group of you to meet virtually through video conferencing for prayer and worship. Again, guidance and help-sheets will be coming soon.
  • Use Spotify to access music, podcasts and playlists of worship songs and hymns. A number of local churches are exploring this at the moment. It’s free to use, with adverts, or you can pay a subscription to avoid them. You can take a look at this example from St Paul’s, Leamington.
Online courses

You may find this time also presents an opportunity to spend some time growing deeper in your discipleship.  The following courses are all available virtually:

  • The Prayer course - Thinking about prayer following the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer. Sessions include why we should pray, how we can pray and what happens when prayers are not answered. It comes out of the 24/7 prayer movement and has encouraged and helped many people start or grow in their prayer life. There are 8 videos, 25-30 minutes each. You can also download a plan with questions to reflect on.
  • Shining as Lights - “This course encourages us to develop a personal Rule of Life: a simple framework of actions for living out our faith day by day. Each session helps explore what shape that might take”. There are questions and thoughts with a very short video.
  • Discipleship Explored -A follow-up to the Christianity Explored course, this looks at different aspects of daily discipleship and relationship with Jesus, using Paul’s letter to the Philippians to reflect on how the first disciples model a life of growing faith.

The Serving Christ Team would be delighted to offer you and your church any support we can at this time, across a number of practical areas of church life: http://servingchrist.org.uk/contact-us/

 

Lisa Holt, Learning Mentor: Passionate Spirituality and Inspiring Worship

Lisa.Holt@coventry.anglican.org