In the school of prayer with Eddie Askew

I came across this prayer in my copy of 2000 Years of Prayer (compiled by Michael Counsell). I was particularly taken with the down-to-earth, practical spirituality that ministers to you as you engage with the prayer.

See links below for more about Eddie Askew and his work with the Leprosy Mission and links to further examples of his work.

Lord, teach me to pray.
It sounds exciting, put like that.
It sounds real. An exploration.
A chance to do more than catalogue
and list the things I want,
to an eternal Father Christmas.

The chance of meeting you,
of drawing closer to the love that made me,
and keeps me, and knows me.
And, Lord, it’s only just begun.
There is so much more of you,
of love, the limitless expanse of knowing you.
I could be frightened, Lord, in this wide country.
It could be lonely, but you are here, with me.

The chance of learning about myself,
of facing up to what I am.
Admitting my resentments,
bringing my anger to you, my disappointments, my frustration.
And finding that when l do,
when I stop struggling and shouting
and let go
you are still there.
Still loving.

Sometimes, Lord, often –
I don’t know what to say to you.
But I still come, in quiet
for the comfort of two friends
sitting in silence.
And it’s then, Lord, that I learn most from you.
When my mind slows down,
and my heart stops racing.
When I let go and wait in the quiet,
realizing that all the things I was going to ask for
you know already.
Then, Lord, without words,
in the stillness
you are there . . .
And l love you.
Lord, teach me to pray.

by Eddie Askew (1927-2007)
from A Silence and a Shouting: a collection of meditations and prayers


From his obituary in The Guardian (2007)
“Eddie Askew, the former general director of the Leprosy Mission (TLM) … devoted half a century to the disease and its consequences. …
Inspired by his travels and his Christian faith, Eddie found an outlet for his creativity in painting and poetry. A Silence and a Shouting, his first book of meditations and artwork, was published in 1982. It was followed, over the years, by 16 others, and the sale of his books and paintings raised around £2.5m for TLM.” (The Guardian) whole article

A visual meditation based on an excerpt from A Silence and a Shouting
Travelling home

walk, run, soar

Those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:31 (NIV UK)
This post touches on three key elements we find in this beautiful verse from Isaiah 40 – walking, running and soaring – explored through the medium of video/film.
It all started with the first video.
My favourite quote: “Walking is medicine for me.”
WALK (from Millican’s Meaningful Journeys)

RUN (from Chariots of Fire)

SOAR (from American Beauty) esp. first 2 minutes


From the blog
Rise up (includes a song inspired by Isaiah 40:31)

2017 windows on Holy Week #8

Nazareth (photo: Kate McDonald)

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

1 Peter 4:3-9 (NIV)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Sun, moon, sky, stars,
mountains, valleys, heights, plains,
fountains, pools, rivers, seas,
whatever flies, crawls or swims,
lift up your voices to the glory of Christ.
Today the world’s Redeemer returns
victorious from the inferno.

(Ancient prayer depicting the whole
of creation worshipping the risen Christ)

1. Sun and moon, stars and planets,
Wind and rain and fire and hail,
All of creation, join in our song of praise.

Sing glory! Glory to God in heaven!
Sing glory! Glory to God!

2. Land and sea, hills and mountains,
cows and sheep and birds and bees,
All of creation, join in our song of praise.

(Repeat chorus)

3. Rich and poor, kings and shepherds,
Men and women, boys and girls,
All of creation, join in our song of praise.

(Repeat chorus)

A Procession of Prayers: Meditations and Prayers from Around the World by John Carden, p. 299

words and music by Irene Bom (notation included)

2017 windows on Holy Week #7

Holy Sepulchre (photo: Kate McDonald)

At the tomb

John 19:38-42 (NIV)
Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
Prayer for secret believers
Bless all, O Lord, who worship you in secret;
all whose hearts are growing round an undeclared allegiance;
all whose life is laden with a treasure they would pour at your feet;
all who know with greater certainty each day
that they have found the pearl of greatest price;
then by the power of the cross, O Christ,
claim your victory in their hearts,
and lead them to the liberty of being seen by others to be yours,
for your dear name’s sake. Amen.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord

A Procession of Prayers: Meditations and Prayers from Around the World by John Carden, p. 282

2017 windows on Holy Week #6

Nazareth (photo: Kate McDonald)


Luke 23:33-43 (NIV)
When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Jesus, by your wounded hands teach us to be diligent and generous.
Jesus, by your wounded feet teach us to be steadfast and to persevere.
Jesus, by your wounded and insulted head, teach us to be patient, single-minded and self-controlled.
Jesus, by your wounded heart, teach us love, teach us love, teach us love.
When I survey

A Procession of Prayers: Meditations and Prayers from Around the World by John Carden, p. 265

2017 windows on Holy Week #5

Jerusalem streets (photo: Kate McDonald)

On the road to Golgotha

Luke 23:26-31 (NIV)
As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.

Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’

Then “‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”’ For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
Simon’s day ought to be for us the Festival of the Passer-by, the Feast of the unexpected. Imagine ‘coming out of the country’ and being caught up in the redemption of the world! A parable of sainthood, of the claim of the divine in the ordinary, the critical in the trivial, the eternal moment which is always now.

Lord of Simon’s calling-to-aid,
Make our everyday holy with your need of us
and give us readiness of heart and hand and mind.

(Middle East: Bishop Kenneth Cragg)

Man of sorrows

Meditation and Prayer:
A Procession of Prayers: Meditations and Prayers from Around the World by John Carden, p. 221

2017 windows on Holy Week #4


In the Praetorium

Matthew 27:27-30 (NIV)
Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.

voice 1 Our Father in heaven
voice 2 and here in the police headquarters, amongst us, the detained.
voice 3 We who meet in your name day after day.
voice 1 Hallowed be your name
voice 3 despite all the jeers and roughness with which they treat us when we name you.
voice 1 Your kingdom come
voice 3 where there is no degrading treatment, no infringements of liberty,
voice 2 nor police obeying unjust laws.
voice 1 Your will be done on earth
voice 2 and on this part of the earth in particular.
voice 1 As it is in heaven
voice 1 Give us this day our daily bread
voice 2 the bread which takes away hunger
voice 3 and the bread which maintains within us the hunger and thirst for justice.
voice 1 And forgive us our sins
voice 2 those that we have done to the police when we refuse to treat them as brothers,
voice 3 or when we refuse to accept that they also live with great tensions and contradictions.
voice 1 As we forgive those that sin against us
voice 2 or rather, as we try with all our heart to forgive those that sin against us, even the commissioner of police.
voice 1 Don’t allow us to fall into temptation
voice 3 by responding to a curse with a curse, to hatred with hatred, to maltreatment with maltreatment.
voice 1 Free us from evil
voice 2 from grovelling and fawning, from humiliation,
voice 3 from despair and desperation
voice 2 and from our sense of loneliness and isolation.
voice 1,2,3 Amen

(Chile, prayed by ten people detained
in the Central Police Station, Santiago)

Matthew 27:31 (NIV)
After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

A Procession of Prayers: Meditations and Prayers from Around the World by John Carden, p. 203-4

2017 windows on Holy Week #3

Garden of Gethsemane (photo: Kate McDonald)


Matthew 26:36-38 (NIV)
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Stay with me,
remain here with me,
watch and pray,
watch and pray

Matthew 26:39-44 (NIV)
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
Prayer giving thanks for the oil
Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.
Through your goodness we have this oil to offer,
fruit of the olive tree and work of human hands,
serving the needs of countless people through the centuries,
giving light and health and healing;
may the light of your Son crushed in agony
under the olives of Gethsemane
likewise serve the everlasting comfort and light and joy
of your people everywhere.
Matthew 26:45-46 (NIV)
Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

A Procession of Prayers: Meditations and Prayers from Around the World by John Carden, p. 183

2017 windows on Holy Week #2

Jerusalem rooftops (photo: Kate McDonald)

Upper Room

Matthew 26:17-20, 26-30 (NIV)
On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.

When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve.

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Jesus celebrated communion only once, and within forty-eight hours he was dead.
We are dust
Yet we share in a dream
As we eat and drink
We are remembering
Who we are in Christ
Who we shall be
And all God did through Jesus
to set us free

words and music by Irene Bom (notation included)

2017 windows on Holy Week #1

Temple Mount (photo: Kate McDonald)

On the way to Jerusalem

John 12:12-19 (NIV)
The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’
‘Blessed is the king of Israel!’

Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written:

‘Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.’

At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realise that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.

Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, ‘See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!’
Jesus is passing this way
This way, this way
Jesus is passing this way
He’s passing this way today.

(Sierra Leone: Krio shout)

A Procession of Prayers: Meditations and Prayers from Around the World by John Carden, p. 153