Welcome to Quiet Spaces. This issue covers an interesting time of year. We are just finishing summer, and by the end of the issue we will have experienced harvest, Advent, Christmas and New Year and will be in the middle of winter. We try to reflect on all these seasons in this issue and to bring some stillness and peace to these packed few months, as well as some challenge and learning. In Quiet Spaces we try to provide permission to pray as suits you, to pray because you want to, not because you feel you ought to. You can feel free to explore the styles of prayer on offer, be adventurous and try something you had never thought of and accept the gifts God gives from it; even if it is a struggle and the prayer feels dry, try reflecting on the experience and see where God was during your time of prayer. I also invite you to try praying for different lengths of time. Sometimes we have only a few minutes and at other times we may have half an hour or an hour, or even-luxury-half a day. You can use the time you have available, not worrying about how short it might be.
You can recognise that we all have days when we struggle to manage any more than a few arrow prayers in the midst of the busyness. I was challenged recently when someone asked if I saw prayer as homework, as something to be done that was set and had to be completed or I would get into trouble. For many of us prayer can become like that, a duty rather than a joy. I'm sure God does not intend time spent with him to be entered into other than from love for him and a desire to spend time with him. The desire to meet with him is the first step. Remember that God delights in your friendship and longs to spend time with you. He cherishes the time you have together rather than bearing a grudge for the time you don't spend with him. So receive his forgiveness and turn to him. Sally Smith Writers in this issue Helen Jaeger is the internationally published author of five books: Paths Through Grief, As Night Falls, As Day Dawns, A Treasury of Wisdom (Lion Hudson) and Simple (Scripture Union, 2003). She writes regularly for a variety of publications, including Woman Alive and for charities. Helen is also an editor, workshop leader and mentor.
Sally Smith enjoys creating spaces that enable encounter with God through leading Quiet Days and creating prayer corners and stations. She has led prayer groups in her local church, works as a spiritual director and writes and produces education materials. Dorinda Miller has been leading Quiet Days and retreats in the UK and overseas, across denominations, for many years. She is currently involved in running Staying in the Vine, a six-week course on prayer and spiritual disciplines, in Nottingham. Tony Horsfall is a freelance trainer and retreat leader based in Yorkshire, with his own ministry, Charis Training. He is an elder of Ackworth Community Church and has written several books for BRF, including Working from a Place of Rest (2010), Rhythms of Grace (2012), and most recently Servant Ministry (2013). Andrea Skevington lives in Suffolk with her family. She writes for both adults and children, winning the Christian Book of the Year award (Speaking Volumes) for her retelling, The Lion Classic Bible (Lion Hudson, 2011). She also enjoys storytelling for children and running creative writing seminars for adults.
Sally Welch is a priest who lives and works in the centre of Oxford, working with families and young children in church. She is a writer and lecturer on spirituality and is particularly interested in pilgrimage and labyrinths. She has made many pilgrimages both in England and Europe. Angela Ashwin is a writer and speaker on spirituality. She has written several books about prayer and life with God, including Faith in the Fool: Risk and Delight in the Christian Adventure (DLT, 2009) and Woven Into Prayer: A Flexible Pattern of Daily Prayer (Canterbury Press Norwich, 2010). She and her husband live in Southwell, Nottinghamshire. Janet Fletcher is Team Vicar in the Rectorial Benefice of Bangor. She has contributed to Guidelines Bible reading notes (BRF) and is the author of Pathway to God (SPCK, 2006). She offers spiritual direction, and enjoys teaching groups in prayer, spirituality and faith, and leading Quiet Days and retreats.
Publisher: BRF (The Bible Reading Fellowship)