So here I am, sitting in the virtual prayer room and wondering how to provide the way for you all to access the wonderful resources you might find in a physical room. Perhaps I could begin by describing a typical prayer room if such exists....
When you walk in, you expect that the next hour (or however long you have signed up for) is going to be tedious. Only duty and the fact that the vicar has twisted your arm have got you here in the first place. And you have all this time to fill before the next person comes to take over the prayer chain....
Looking around, it is hard to know where to start. So you wander over to one wall, which has been draped with a sheet or cloth of some kind, where a few pieces of paper have been randomly pinned up. Fascinated, you start reading the prayers of other people... Jo is asking God to care for her gran, who is living alone and isolated. Craig thanks God for the peacefulness of the room and asks God to be there, somehow. Someone has sketched a rather cock-eyed cross and decorated it with felt pen flowers on a green hill. There are no words. Gwen remembers her uncle, and others are praying for various loved ones, old and young, on both sides of death's curtain. On a small side table are some crosses - a holding cross, a big metal cross, palm crosses, a rosary... which one draws your attention?
In the centre of the room is a table of candles, and you light one to ask for God's help. Again, you see a water feature playing in the corner, and you are asked by a little notice to drop a pebble or shell in as you say your prayer. The far wall is covered in drawings, paintings, collages, some with prayers, others simply without words at all, but all conveying something of the feelings of the person who has offered them. Thank God for art: it can be anything, and it doesn't have to qualify for the Turner prize. Your art offering is a prayer in itself.
On various tables there are piles of paper, card, even fabrics and other items for collage. There is a pot of pins and a pack of Blu-tak for attaching prayers and artwork to the various drapes in the room. If you look, you might even find the clay lurking under the table, ready for some modelling.
And the subjects people have written about...! Poems, short reflections, hymns copied out...oh yes, and there is a shelf of books to dip into, some well-known, others a mystery. Perhaps just have a peep at one...?
But to read you need a comfy chair and decent light, so you head over to the corner where these are and discover also the kettle and tea-making facilities. Plus a bin for the empty paper cup! How easy it is to chill out in God's presence. How different it feels from the more formal services in church: and yet how peaceful it is as you settle in.
Some people like music to listen to, or indeed to sing themselves. Why not? Nobody else will hear. There is a CD player and a range of CDs to choose from. Or you might have brought your own favourites.
Some prayer rooms are bigger than others, and if there is space then dancing is also a possibility. Praise God for movement and the joy of physical action! Only God is watching: do your thing! And if your thing is to kneel in silent prayer, then there is the space to do just that.
Where did the time go? You have only just scratched the surface, perhaps. But God is always waiting, listening, hoping you will come back again and he can speak to you as the time goes on in ways you had not realised before were possible. May he continue to bless you and walk with you as you continue your journey of faith.