Using the church to pray1. You stand at the back of the church. In front of you at the far end is the sign of God’s love, shown to us preeminently in the death of Jesus on the cross. It is for Christians a symbol of hope. In the windows lining this room on either side, people see symbols of salvation, judgment, new life, prayer.

Pause and reflect on those who had the vision to build this place, on those who built it, and thank God for all the people who have been inspired here to love God and their neighbour.

2. Sit at the back pew in the nave for a while and take in the atmosphere. Here in the nave, worshippers gather for church services and special celebrations. We come to offer our praise and thanksgiving, to hear and receive God’s holy word, to pray for the needs of the world, and to seek the forgiveness of our sins, that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may give ourselves to the service of God.

Pause and pray for particular situations in your world, in your community, or in your family where there is a need for peace and harmony and forgiveness.

3. Walk down to the keyboard area on the left. This is where musicians accompany our worship and through their musical talent speak things for us that sometimes cannot be said so well in words. The accompaniment lifts our spirits as we sing. We try to take to heart what we say and sing, and pray that what we believe in our hearts we may show in our lives, to the honour of God’s holy name.

Pause and give thanks to God for writers, poets, artists and musicians who give enjoyment and inspiration to many people.

4. The Font at the front is filled with water and used for baptism, sometimes called christening. This is the place where people become members of the Christian family and commit themselves to Jesus Christ. Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives. Our ‘drowning’ in the water of baptism, where we believe we die to sin and are raised to new life, unites us to Christ’s dying and rising. Water is also a sign of new life, as we are born again by water and the Spirit.

Pause and think about the commitments you may wish to make in your life and in your relationships. Pray that you may be aware of the strength and power of God’s love in your life.

5. The Altar is the place where we celebrate Holy Communion each week. In commemoration of Jesus’ last supper, bread and wine are taken, a prayer of thanks is given, then the bread broken and the meal shared amongst the people, a fellowship meal with God. Christians believe in this way, as they remember Jesus, that they take his life into their own lives, and receive the benefits of his sacrifice on the cross.

Pause and think about your family and friends, for the love you share together, and for the meals you have shared with others.

6. The chairs behind the altar are for elders, ministers, or other leaders whose ministry is to teach the faith and lead worship. The larger one is reserved for the bishop when he visits. The bishop is a focus for unity and mission for the church but we all have a responsibility to teach the faith by our words and actions and when we come to worship, to enter into it with heart and mind.

Pause and pray for all who are in positions of leadership; that those in authority may act with wisdom and justice. Pray for those who have guided you in your life, for parents, teachers and for friends.

7. The Lectern is the place where reading and teaching is given. The Bible is the chief book, though there is also much to learn of the Christian faith in the liturgy of our services.

Pause and pray for all who have taught you and given you insight for good in your life, giving thanks for God’s guidance.

8. Before you go out…

Pause to thank God for being with you and consider how he wants to draw near to you, his child, his joy, if you will let him.

Download a PDF version here – take it with you to church one day.