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May 2014 – St Mary’s Great Chart & Singleton
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May 2014

‘Now is the month of Maying when merry lads are praying’
To misquote slightly the old madrigal!
May has been a lovely month weather wise and we have just completed a week of accompanied  prayer which I have found quite profound where a number of us have committed ourselves to spending an extra 1/2 hour each day praying alone as well as a 1/2 hour each day with a prayer guide to accompany us.

Prayer is such a special privilege as it is the means by which we can communicate with God both to speak with Him and to hear Him and watch out for and experience the ways in which He communicates with us by His Holy Spirit and through the Name of Jesus.

Last year as our grass got longer I cut a ‘labyrinth’ in front of our house.  Labyrinths are ancient and have been used by people of faith for thousands of years to meditate, pray and read as they walk.  Labyrinths are different from mazes in that whilst I find mazes so frustrating as they are designed to confuse you with lots of dead ends, labyrinths lead you to the end as long as you keep going however the twists and turns might disorientate you.  And being someone with poor spatial awareness I find mazes particularly annoying but labyrinths a continuous source of delight and surprise as despite the fact that I cut our labyrinth myself I still get wonderfully disorientated every time I walk round it and it’s always a surprise when I get to the middle or get out as I leave it!

Many people think praying is about sitting quietly and still inside in a specific place maybe a religious building. But I am an active person who likes being outside and moving around, so I have found the labyrinth a wonderful place to find some time to walk and think and pray and read.  Reading and walking means you have to do both slowly which greatly helps understanding.

The other ancient practice that I have found helpful in the labyrinth is ‘lectio divina’ which literally means ‘divine reading’.  This involves reading the Bible really slowly and prayerfully and thoughtfully which means we don’t try to analyse what the bible says but we allow it to speak to us as we focus on Gods Word that we believe is written for us in every generation.

I don’t know if I shall continue to walk and pray and read the Bible in the labyrinth on wet and cold days but it has certainly been a very special and joyful part of my Maying when this merry lad has been praying!

But having quoted the madrigal I’m also reminded of Shakespeare ‘rough winds do shake the darling buds of May’.  May is a beautiful month as summer begins but troubles still come as we have had cold wet days this month too.  We never know when difficulties and crises will confront us.  So praying and taking advantage of this wonderful gift of communication with our loving Heavenly Father prepares us and sustains us through difficult times.

Rough winds will shake the darling buds even of May, but in May and at all times we can be merry as lads and lasses, as we can be praying anywhere, everywhere anytime.  But if you’ve never experienced a labyrinth find one near you and try walking and praying and thinking and mediating and reading especially on lovely warm sunny days.


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