Creating a Prayer and Meditation Center
by Erik Alsgaard
Thousands of prayer shawls from around the denomination were displayed at the 2006 United Methodist Women's Assembly. Credit: Paul Jeffrey, Response, May 5, 2006.
Rule No. 1 for creating a prayer and meditation center in your United Methodist Women's unit or circle: center everything on Scripture.
Rule No. 2: there is no Rule No. 2; see Rule No. 1.
That is the advice of Liz Williams, chair of the prayer and meditation room during Assembly. Local units can duplicate elements of the room in their own settings. "The room was prepared as a center for prayer, a special space set aside for people to spend time in the presence of the Holy Spirit," Ms. Williams said.
The prayer and meditation room at Assembly was designed to be tactile - a place where people can literally be "in touch" with God.
"We have a listening station here, because music is a form of prayer," Ms. Williams said. Simply setting up a space in a church or during a unit meeting where people can listen to Christian music through a pair of headphones on a CD player could be an easy way for local units to provide this prayer ministry. The same goes for a reading program.
"Give people some space, some time to read and strengthen their prayer life," Ms. Williams said.
One colorful way to experience prayer and meditation is through prayer shawls. "The intent of a prayer shawl is literally to surround a person who is in need with prayer," Ms. Williams said.
Information on starting a prayer shawl ministry may be found on www.shawlministry.com.
Another form of prayer is experienced through the walking of a labyrinth, also available during Assembly.
Several websites have information on creating a labyrinth, including www.labyrinthcompany.com; www.labyrinths.org; www.paxworks.com.