prayerscapes - creative journeys in worship and prayer

creative prayer journeys


Tag Archives: Prayer

Writings and reflections on prayer. The prayers section at prayerscapes features over 100 original contemporary prayers.

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 really bless others the way it is intended to. Yet strangely, as I find myself in a broken place surrounded by much sorrow and pain with friends and family, I have needed to “Dwell” myself! Searching through my CD’s I have come back to this album as the space it offers me helps me to pray and intercede for those suffering, even in the darkest times. We thought we would share with you a quote from a recent review of the album by writer and blogger Freya Pickard. It encourages us that “Dwell” can connect with and carry others:-

“This cd was the perfect gift at a very difficult time…Not since I discovered the music of Iona in the 1990s, has a cd had such a profound effect on me. Hearing it gives me goosebumps. I find it both relaxing and challenging. When I first listened to it, I felt like a dry sponge soaking up cold, refreshing water.”

(Read this review in full at Dragonscale Clippings Blog)

So, we hope that others will choose Dwell as a gift for loved ones and that the Holy Spirit would find space in the lives of the listeners to heal, restore, envision and keep them.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Here are some excerpts from Dwell:-

Until Christmas, “Dwell” is on offer as a download from this site for just $7 (normally $10.99) or as a CD for $15. It’s possible to purchase it now by following this link.

The Nicene Creed

White dove with hands raised

In August of this year, our church asked us if we might create a film recording of the Nicene Creed (this creed is an ancient declaration of the Christian faith dating back to A.D.325 and the early church communities).

We decided to record many different voices because we wanted to build a diverse picture of what it means to be part of church family – the young and old together, from many backgrounds and upbringings, all united in their love and adoration of Christ. So, on this recording you will hear Scottish, Irish, English and even Afro-French accents! In the western world we value highly our individualism with “I” and “my” being some of our most frequently used words. Christ knew that it was “we” – the church – that would become a beautiful family of relationships – his bride and treasure on earth. He knew that if we continued to view the world and understand ourselves with an “I” outlook, that we would fall to confusion or comparison. “We believe” is then a transforming creed, “we” are whole within the body, we are valued within the body and “we” are sheltered within the body.

We hope that the imagery we have woven into this film will help others who are on a journey of faith to distil, contemplate and rest in these ancient statements. We are “one” in belief, connected to our brothers and sisters of faith through many generations in Christ. “We” can play our part – not with fear, comparison or insecurity, but with confidence. “We” belong – accepted, loved, forgiven and free. “We” can rest when we are tired, question when we doubt, and be carried when we can no longer stand because we share in the love and the legacy of others who have gone before us.

This film can be purchased and downloaded for a small fee by visiting this page.

Here are the words to this glorious declaration of Christian faith:-

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

Amen.

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.

Our Father

New York Underground Train in Station

We all experience the brokenness of humanity. My heart goes out to all those of you who find yourself in that place today. Illness, sorrow, fear, loneliness, hopelessness, confusion, hurt and fatigue are all real and immensely hard sufferings to endure. Christ knows all these feelings, and he overcame even death itself to create a path for us through the hard times. So when Jesus taught us how to pray, it is his understanding of these things that lie at the heart of that prayer, commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer.

It begins “Our Father” – two very powerful words. We are all sons and daughters, equally loved, with the same inheritance, the same status, and the same grace heaped upon us in God’s Kingdom. Jesus does not pray “My Father”! “Our Father” unites us, it forms the stable ground for love to reign and redeem and restore us individually and corporately. This heart connection, this heavenly vision, will unite us and soothe our souls.

Shortly after the 24/7 prayer movement began, we were asked by Pete Greig to create a track that captures the essence of this famous prayer. We recorded the prayer in several languages, reflecting both it’s corporate nature and echoing the growing movement of 24/7 prayer vigils springing up all across the world – a movement that today has now touched more than 2 million people in over 10,000 prayer rooms across the earth. The film was also shot in New York shortly after the 9/11 tragedy.  This added a challenging ring to the line “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us”. The film reminds us that God is ever present with us – we can reach out to Him wherever we find ourselves – whether this be on the daily commute, carrying heavy shopping back from the city, or sat in solitude in the midst of crowds. Throughout, the prayer reveals itself as an offering rising up like a beautiful fragrance from the debris of a fallen world. Today, as you watch the film and pray the Lord’s Prayer, we stand with you trusting in the Holy Spirit to minister to your needs and bring God’s redeeming change into your life.

Here’s the film we created :-

It’s possible to download and keep this film for a small fee by following this link.

Disturb Us Lord

Sailing Boat on the oceans

The words in the video below cry “Disturb Us Lord!”. Come disturb us – when we are too safe, too distracted, too caught-up in the now to “dream of eternity”. Yet unlike some of those early Celtic pilgrims we are unlikely to literally sail out in a coracle into the vast unknown! However, at every stage, circumstance or challenge in our lives we can choose the great adventure. We can choose to trust in God, to give him everything, and allow the Kingdom of Heaven to be poured into us.

Recently a very special man who was part of our home church, an artist and sculptor, lost his battle with Alzheimer’s.  He truly encompassed the meaning behind this poem. He and his wonderful family faced “the unknown” and choose to sail with immense courage. He lost so many things in life but never lost his faith, which continued to shine brightly, even in his final days. The strength, love and compassion of his family are a living testimony to the redeeming power of Christ.

Take heart as you sail into the sea of parenting, negotiate the waves of ill health, or navigate the demands of a stressful career. Take courage as you voyage through clouds of depression, tack the shifting waves of anxiety, or confront the darkness of grief. At times such as this we are called to fix our eyes on Jesus, stay soft in heart, and carry the promise of eternity in our hearts.

“…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 2: 1b-2, NIV)

It’s possible to download and keep this film for a small sum by following this link.

prayer in this film:-

Disturb Us Lord

Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

(attributed to Sir Francis Drake -1577)

Finding Faith in Prayer

Pile of Mustard Seeds

Sometimes I feel it is pointless praying. At times, when faced with the terrible suffering of others or in desperate circumstances I struggle to string any words together to God. Yet it is in these times that prayer is the only place we can go, it is often all that we have. “All” – thank goodness we are told that we only need a mustard seed sized faith. Because often this is the size of my faith in these situations. Yet the Holy Spirit can be, and can do far more than we could imagine! The truth is that God really does “step it up” when his beloved children need him the most. I have seen it, felt it and in my heart I truly do know it. We are told “do not worry about tomorrow“, that God’s grace is sufficient for each moment. So – although I can not conceive of how God can meet the heartache of a grieving widow, strengthen the mind of a mother caring for a seriously sick child, or reach into someone who has suffered traumatic rejection, I know he can! And he does, and he will. If we pray – the mustard seed  – can become a tree!

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:-

Buy Now Button

With One Voice

I have been so blessed over the last 25 years to be part of a church that regularly stands and prays for individuals.  Over this time an extraordinary amount of special people have come alongside me and prayed for me. There have been so many – from those who sheltered me in my early days of faith as a student, through work and career choices, having my first child, praying with me in illness and encouraging me to stand up and try again after disappointment or failure. And what is even more extraordinary – it feels like one long prayer – like a whole thing – each person speaking out God’s heart for me, proclaiming God’s love over me and instilling God’s hope within me. Wow! So many different prayers, yet it has been one song, one story, one voice! God has used so many different people to reveal His heart for me.

I will never ever forget the first time someone actually said “can I pray for you?” Standing with me, interceding for me. Such things have changed the course of my life. And the most remarkable truth is this – we are all invited to this lavish banquet, this beautiful taste of heaven.

Beautiful Tune

Common Yellowthroat Warbler

Sometimes I just stop and listen. I might be in a cafe, picking up children from school, or walking down the street. It is an extraordinary thing to dwell for a moment on the sounds that surround us – the chatter of voices, scrapes and scratches from chairs and cutlery, the hum of appliances or the buzz of traffic.  I wonder how God must feel when from this collage of sounds he hears us address him?

“Father” – a silent prayer amidst a social gathering.

“God it’s me” from behind the desk in a classroom.

“Jesus I love you” – grace filled singing heard above the cacophony of city life.

“Help me” – a fleeting thought within a workplace.

The sound of beautiful heart cries rising from a fallen world.

At times when I find I’m once again bewildered, confused by all around me I will try to listen for birdsong. Sometimes I find I can tune into their songs, and I sit and wonder. How is it that they sing so sweetly? These thoughts lead me home. Home to a creative Father, home to love reigning, home to the beautiful music which resounds from creation. “Lord, may this birdsong in my life take centre stage. May I tune into the kingdom of heaven more and more each day.”




latest from the blog

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