Weeks of Guided Prayer
We continue to encourage and support individual parishes and Parish Groupings who wish to offer parishioners the opportunity to experience a Week of Guided Prayer.
These Weeks have been a source of spiritual renewal both on a personal level, as participants come away with a sense of their own value in God’s eyes and a confidence in praying with scripture texts, and at parish community level where they can often be the catalyst for new initiatives.
Inviting members of other local Christian Churches to participate, or indeed to be part of the overall planning, can also help to build relationships at that level.
Some parishes have offered the Week of Guided Prayer as part of a Parish Week of Prayer during which a variety of prayer forms could be experienced, eg Morning/Evening/Night Prayer of the Church, Celebration of a Liturgy of the Word, Taizé Prayer, Stations of the Cross, Adoration, quiet prayer time, etc.
What is a Week of Guided Prayer?
A Week of Guided Prayer is a way of making a retreat in the midst of ordinary, daily, busy living. It gives those who participate the opportunity to:
- Explore new ways of praying;
- Become more aware of God’s presence in everyday life;
- Discover how scripture can speak in a way that is relevant and alive;
- Experience Spiritual Guidance; and
- Discover ways to enhance the building of their faith community.
How does the Week of Guided Prayer Work?
The Week begins with a meeting of the whole group, participants and guides on the Sunday setting the tone for the week ahead. During the week Participants are invited to do two things every day:
- Spend half an hour in personal prayer by taking some quiet time each day on their own at home or other suitable place.
- Meet with their very own spiritual ‘guide’ or ‘soul friend’ every day for up to 30 minutes, at an agreed time. The guide will accompany and guide the retreatant and when necessary will give advice on how to pray.
Then on the Saturday at the end of the week the whole group, participants and guides gather again to give thanks and to look ahead. The Opening and Closing gatherings emphasise the communal dimension of what is a uniquely personal journey for each participant.
What some Participants have said about the Experience
‘I never knew that the Gospel could speak to my life’
‘I felt the gentleness and peace of Jesus in a powerful way. Would highly recommend it.’
‘I found the experience of the week very rewarding. The readings became alive and I felt that I learned to pray them not just read them.’
‘To have a prayer guide journey with you in your personal prayerful reading of scripture is a precious gift. Talks, books, retreats may not bring you to such a personal encounter with Jesus. It has really helped my personal prayer.’
‘Very enjoyable and enlightening. It was very interesting to be using scripture so much. I was not used to using the bible on a daily basis, but through its use I have become so much more aware of God’s love for me and for all.
‘I found it a very enriching week. I looked forward to my guided half hour every day and I looked forward to spending quiet time in prayer when I was at home. Before that I was feeling low and useless. I plan to continue reading the scriptures and spending time talking to the Lord’
‘This week has created a lovely atmosphere in the parish.’
‘I really enjoyed my time with my prayer guide. I looked forward to it every day’
‘I am going to continue taking time for myself to pray every day because it has helped me’
’This was a transformational week for me. I had a hunger for something that would help me spiritually to connect more with Jesus/God and this week did just that. I was open to whatever the week would bring and it took me places that I never imagined or expected that it would.’
‘I found the readings were so true to life and the messages in them were very relevant to my life at the moment. The guide was lovely and very easy to talk to. I found it very rewarding and would do it again at the blink of an eye. It was my special time each day. Spiritual but not in a heavy way. I saw God as powerful, loving kind. A big experience too for my guide as we shared in an equal way.’
‘My experience was very positive, opportune and needed. The motivation to pray the scriptures more helped me to touch my present issues. My guide greatly facilitated this.’
‘Lovely to be in the Church with others and knowing we were all journeying together during the week.’
‘I am growing in the awareness that God is part of my daily life and very interested in me.’
‘This Week of Guided Prayer happened at a very difficult time for me. I was feeling lost, alone and struggling to cope with previous events in my life. I felt very listened to by my guide and for the first time began to see I am never alone, I am always guided and taken care of by my loving God. As people come and go and relationships change it is helpful to know of the constant care of a loving God.’
‘Really good although my week was very busy and quite fraught – the prayer time and meetings really were an oasis, which spilt over into all the other events of the week.’
For Further Information or to book a Week of Guided Prayer contact:
Sr Éibhlís NicUaithuas DC in the Office for Evangelisation and Ecumenism
firstname.lastname@example.org / Tel 8373732 Ext 244