prayerscapes - creative journeys in worship and prayer

creative prayer journeys


Author Archives: Neil

About Neil

Neil is the composer and producer for prayerscapes. He is married to his best friend Julie and they have two boys. Neil’s passions are listening to new music & following Accrington Stanley football club!

Dwell – a new worship film meditation

Dwell written underneath a beautiful rainbow

Sometimes God can surprise us with His presence. We read in the bible that He is always present with us – it’s just that we often forget this (or prefer to ignore this truth!) On the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-31) the disciples didn’t even realize it was the risen Jesus who they conversed with, until he broke bread with them.

On one particularly stressful day, I had a moment waiting in the car for my son to come out of school. I just found myself saying “God, thank you for your goodness to me”, over and over again, so much so that I was overwhelmed by the presence of God. Gradually the cloud of anxiety and fear lifted, and I knew in my inner being that I could relax and know that “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well”
(Julian of Norwich ca.1342- 1416. Christ is said to have uttered these words to Julian in a near death apparition)

It was in this moment that I sang the first line of “Dwell”. I knew that what I needed to do with the rest of the song was to somehow recreate this peace that I had experienced. I hope that as you listen to the track you will encounter this rest for your soul. But before you do so, I want invite you to get somewhere were you won’t be disturbed for five minutes, switch your mobile off, invite God to speak to you, and then press play:-

This track is the title song from our new prayerscapes album “Dwell”, out now on iTunes, and downloadable from our site here.

The chords, lyrics and full piano score (in E minor) are also available on this page.

Dwell – the new prayerscapes album

Dwell - the new album from prayerscapes

We’re super-excited to announce the release of our new album “Dwell”, now available globally via iTunes, Amazon and on our site at prayerscapes.com.

Some of the material on “Dwell” is taken from the  videos that you may already have seen at prayerscapes. The album weaves inspirational poetry, foundational scripture and song ministry together with filmatic soundtracks.

Here’s what others are saying about “Dwell”:-

“If you are looking for a recording all about Biblical meditation and reflection you won’t find anything better than the prayerscapes albums. We’ve used them for years at our creative prayer workshops. Yet again Neil & Julie prove that they have a God given talent by producing this unique new album.”

Ishmael & Irene Smale

(Ishmael – singer/songwriter – writer of “Father God, I wonder” and numerous children’s albums.)

Much of the material on the new album has been born out of some of our life experiences over the last few years. “May the Road Rise Up to Meet You” came out of praying for Julie, soon after our second child was born. I stumbled over this ancient Celtic blessing and found myself praying/singing it for her. It became a gentle reminder that whatever stresses we face (and these were plentiful with a small baby & a six year old child!) God holds us in the palm of His hand, and His faithfulness and love will never let us go:-

Other tracks have emerged from flashes of inspiration and creativity. The words to the track “Prayer Connects” came to Julie as one continuous stream of ideas – she scribbled the words down with the aid of a torch during the middle of the night! The poem is about God’s amazing gift of prayer, and charts the many different ways in which we encounter prayer in our lives:-

Other tracks simply invite us to return to our maker, and dwell on His goodness and provision. “This I Know” takes the form of a gentle lullaby, reminding us that whatever befalls us, we have a refuge, a safe place, a sanctuary we can abide in and find freedom:-

Dwelling is about finding a home, about connection with our Eternal Creator, pushing our roots deep into God’s Kingdom. To find “home“ we need to settle, unpack, relax and feel welcome. ”Dwell” is an open door leading us to moments that crystallize our beliefs, shelter our troubled hearts and inspire us to connect, to rest and to seek after the love of Christ.

It’s possible to explore the album further by visiting this page and clicking on the samples from the tracks on “Dwell”. Clicking on the track titles will take you to the lyrics, scriptures and poems that are on the album. Here you can also buy the album, either as mp3s or as a good old physical CD!

A new film for Pentecost

People seen from overhead

Come, O Spirit of God,
Cause blind eyes to see.
In this day, awaken our land.
Come, O Spirit of power,
Breathe life through your church.
Come O Lord, bring Heaven to Earth,
Bring Heaven to Earth.

This is our prayer for Pentecost Sunday – the day we remember how the Holy Spirit came on the first disciples with great power. The word “power” (Acts 1:8) in the Greek is “dunamis” from where we derive the English word “dynamite”. So “you will receive dynamite when the Holy Spirit comes on you” is a more accurate way of understanding what Jesus was wanting to convey to his disciples!

It’s possible to download this film in HD by following this link.

The refrain of “Come O Spirit of God” is a heart cry to the Lord, that His Holy Spirit would move through the church with great power and awaken hearts and lives to him. The verses outwork this move of the God into the neighbourhood, taking as their base Isaiah 61 – words which Jesus presented as his manifesto at the beginning of his public ministry.

Sometimes as a songwriter, very occasionally, something seems to come from nowhere. It’s almost as if you’ve been wandering through a forest and uncovered a treasure that has been lying there hidden for centuries. “Come O Spirit of God” was one of those rare moments in my life. The main refrain, chords and melody came to me very quickly. Of course, like any song, it needed crafting. And that’s when I gave Malc Garda, a good friend of mine a ring and invited him round to see what he made of it. Malc had the great idea of developing the verses into a practical outworking of what this heart cry means.

Little were we to know that within a year thousands would be singing it at major Christians festivals up and down the land, and it would end up on several CD’s and song books. If you’d like to try this song with your congregation, here are the links to the  chords/words sheet, onsong file & melody line score.

“Come O Spirit of God” is taken from our new album (entitled “Dwell” – out next month!) – a collection of prayer songs and creative readings that we’ve been crafting over the last few years. Some of these tracks are already backing tracks to videos on this site (such as “Prayer Connects” & “May the road rise up to meet you“) – whilst others are brand new for the album. However, it’s possible to download “Come O Spirit of God” as a single from iTunes or Amazon now.

Quietude – Instrumental Prayer Music

Sunset over rolling waves

Often during prayer times I have found myself taking to the piano and playing some chords gently in the background as others pray and intercede. Music seems to have an extraordinary effect on us. It lifts our hearts, it inspires our minds, and it can also help connect us with our maker, our Father in Heaven.

I wrote “Quietude” this summer in one of those moments.

I hope that this track will create a “space” for you to pray, find inspiration, and soak in the peace of God. It’s deliberately long (at over thirty minutes) and musically stays in a “tranquil” zone. In the times when I’ve needed to contribute to a meeting (and not been free to play!) I’ve found it hard to find a piece of music that does this, and often instrumental albums may have a really useful track but then follow with a track that doesn’t work that well for prayer or ministry.

You may find that there are other uses for “Quietude”. Perhaps you know a friend who finds it difficult to settle for sleep, and some calming music is needed. Or you are leading communion and would like to bring something creative in. Or perhaps you are writing or preparing for something and just need some gentle ambience in the background.

You’ll know the track is near finishing when you hear a high falling piano theme, that repeats itself. I put this in as a cue – if you are using the music to lead a prayer or meditation time you’ll know that you have about a minute before it runs out!

Here’s the video version of the track:-

You can also download and keep it as an mp3 for $2.00 by clicking on the Paypal button here:-

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A new website coming soon!

Hi everyone! We are really excited to announce the launch of our website, set launch soon after Easter this year. Do check in frequently to discover new tracks, films and writings from the prayerscapes stable! Here’s a quick overview of some of the features:-

Prayers

With over 100 contemporary prayers for many different times and occasions, such as morning and night prayers, prayers for opening bible studies etc. Great for personal devotion, worship meetings or including in newsletters etc.

Films

A film section with over 25 short videos that can be watched for free on the site (or downloaded for a small fee) and is also mobile friendly!

Resources

With resources for developing creative prayer and worship, such as our guide to sourcing thousands of great copyright free images and photos.

Blog

News and devotional thoughts from prayerscapes.

Music

Prayerscapes have three albums. The first two feature soundtracks which combine song with scripture readings, poetry and musical underscore, and a third album of purely instrumental tracks.

Be sure to stay tuned!




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Dwell at Christmas

Dwell album cover from Prayerscapes

In this season of giving, it is hard sometimes to cut through the commercial trappings, rise above the “perfect Christmas” expectations and truly connect with loved ones to give a gift that is really yearned for. We (like most creatives) sometimes find it hard to “push” our own work, to believe that our music can Read More


A Beautiful Prayer

Beautiful Tree Branches hanging low down

I think one of our deepest longings as humans is to know that there is a purpose for our lives, that we have a role to play in this world. Thankfully as Christians we can be certain that life isn’t just a random series of events. God the creator of the earth and the heavens Read More


An Ancient Celtic Blessing

hand in sunlight

“May the Road Rise Up To Meet You” is a beautiful old Celtic blessing. Blessings are a gift and ancient ones like these help us to become open channels for the fragrance of Christ to surround those we give out to. I love the references to creation – the sun, the wind, the rain – Read More