Let us pray
Mon 06 June 2016
Carl writes …
Prayer is central to everything that we do at Sheldon but we pray as we can rather than as we can’t which is reflected in the times and forms of prayer that we use.
We meet as a Community each weekday morning at 8am in the chapel of Mary, Martha and Lazarus to say morning prayers, a tradition that has continued since 1977. We recently introduced new booklets for morning prayers and these seem to be greatly appreciated (given the regularity that we have to print more!). Guests particularly comment on the alternative versions of the Lord’s Prayer that we use throughout the week.
At around noon in the medieval chapel, one of us spends time offering intercessions for those for whom prayer has been asked and at 5pm we meet for a reading and a time of quiet together. During Lent, Advent and certain other weeks (e.g. work parties and ‘Simply Sheldon’ retreats) we also gather for Compline at 9pm.
A lot also happens in addition to our regular cycle of prayers. We get together as a Community on most Saturday evenings to catch up with what has been going on in each other’s lives during the week and to eat together. We start both the meeting and the meal with prayer and end the meal by remembering someone who has a particularly pressing need.
Special occasions are often marked by worship and prayer. Over the years there have been baptisms, confirmations, weddings and even a funeral at Sheldon. At certain times in its history, Sheldon has had an (ordained) chaplain but that is not the case at the moment so for Eucharists we rely on a number of good friends to preside.
Guests are most welcome to join us for our morning and afternoon prayers but we also provide ample additional opportunities and places for guests to pray. In addition to our three chapels, many use the labyrinth as an aid to prayer – the measured crunch of feet on the gravel surface of the labyrinth can in itself be aid to contemplation. We produce a booklet which takes guests on a guided prayer walk around our 45 acres with stops on the way through the woods and the fields to pray, reflect, give thanks, look around and listen. There are seats in many places around the site, with good views and some very tucked away. For guests who want to really get away from people, the Hermitage provides a place of retreat deep in the woods. Some of our retreats include additional times of prayer, for example the laying on of hands during the Eucharist at the end of each 12,000 mile service week.
When we meet together on Saturday evenings, we also look forward to the new week and place all that we do into God’s hands with this prayer:
As we prepare for the days ahead
To build your kingdom here
In stability, stewardship and servanthood.
See us, hear us, hold us now. Amen.