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  • Writer's pictureLiza Stirlinglass

Finding the words to pray

Prayer and belief.

As I drove to work early Sunday morning, listening to classic FM, the Gaelic blessing "Deep Peace" set to music by John Rutter, reminded me of past times, before children, when prayer seemed so easy and my Christmas activities would have been scheduled around choir practice, Carol concerts and midnight Mass.

After children and by the time my mother died in 2015 I found I was less and less inclined to participate in any form of organised religious practice, including choir and Christmas. I was living in Canada and there was a growing dawning of the recognition that what I had been brought up to believe and wanted to believe were at odds with my values. The values of inclusivity, acceptance, and creativity. The recognition of what was behind inaccurate theology and messaging, and the role the churches played in the persecution of indigenous peoples was very disturbing to me.

In one way this conflict between faith and belief and how to pray left quite a hole in the lead up to and celebration of Christmas, but in another way it also laid the foundation for deeper roots. in which I really could wonder as I wandered, without being told how and what to believe or behave.

As 2021 unfolds and the current pandemic which has swept the world into a blanket of uncertainty and chaos continues I find myself more and reflecting on prayer and how to pray.

Wanting to pray for those who are affected by covid directly or indirectly, for the NHS and care home workers, for the youth who have had their freedoms stripped from them and for the old and the vulnerable who have been unable to see their loved ones.

This morning, listening to the words of the Gaelic blessing and John Rutter's beautiful music I found the words and sentiments that became the prayer I had been looking for. So if you, or anyone you know is facing a difficult time, believer or non believer, I hope the words might help and also bring you what you need today and throughout 2021.

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