‘The will to pray is the essence of prayer’ wrote Thomas Merton, and ‘the secret of prayer is a hunger for God’. Stephen Cottrell describes himself as ‘an experienced beginner’ at prayer who has never got much beyond this, but says his long apprenticeship has taught him that the beginning and end of prayer is the longing to know God and to be known by God.
But for many people profound questions remain. Is God really listening? Does what we pray affect what God does? Also, why is it that everyone struggles with prayer; shouldn’t it be easy? Stephen Cottrell will reflect on what prayer is and how we might begin, or begin again, to pray more authentically.
The Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell is the Bishop of Chelmsford. He has written widely on evangelism, spirituality and discipleship, and is the author of numerous books including How to Pray: Alone, with Others, at Any Time, in Any Place (Church House Publishing, 3rd edition 2010).