Arnold on newspapers

Last week, on Saturday morning, I went along to Messy Café. Now, Messy Café is a type of house group, largely aimed at Messy Church families. It allows us to explore the Bible in more depth, just like we would at any other house group, but in very family friendly way (although it’s still fab if you don’t go with a family!).

I waddled in at 9am to the beautiful smell of bacon! There was a wonderful array of foods for breakfast, from crumpets with chocolate spread, marmite and more, toast and of course, bacon rolls with plenty of ketchup!

After plenty of time to chat to each other, grab a drink and gobble down as much bacon as possible, we dive into the Bible. We use the same bible passage that we used in the previous Messy Church, so this month it was the story of the Lost Son! We read through the passage three time, and asked questions such as: what surprises you in this passage? How do you think the characters felt? And what does this mean for us?

We then end with prayers, and this is the bit I really want to talk about! The way that we pray at Messy Café is slightly different to how I’ve ever seen praying done before. I’ve titled this blog, “Praying without praying” because this is kind of what it feels like – we are praying, communicating with God, without using the stereotypical hands together eyes closed method, or through one person praying for the group, or through a pre-written prayer.

The way that we pray at Messy Café is by looking through newspapers: local, national, diocesan, our church magazine; and picking out situations we see that we want to bring before God. So, how do we bring them before God? – we just speak them out into the group, giving them over to God.

Different people, reading different newspapers come up with a whole range of situations – from global news such as elections and disasters such as the Grenfell Tower fire, to events going on in local schools, to the families of those who have recently had funerals held at our church.

By speaking these out and handing them over, in our hearts, to God we are asking for his hand upon them and for him to help them achieve whatever it is they need. This is such a wonderful, laid back way of praying that allows people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with God in such a simple way.

But this isn’t just for Messy Café, this is such an uncomplicated way of praying situations into God’s hands, that we can do this anywhere! Whilst watching the news, whilst reading a newspaper, by taking time specifically to pray over newspapers and magazines, it can be done anytime, anywhere and by anyone.

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