Weeks of Accompanied Prayer

‘Lord, teach us to pray.’   This is what the disciples asked of Jesus after they had been with him for a little while and it is still the cry of many Christians who, despite a regular and committed church membership, feel their prayer life has not progressed and are a little intimidated by the whole subject of prayer.  Weeks of Accompanied (sometimes called ‘Guided’) Prayer were developed in response to this need.

The links and downloads in this resource are designed not only to give participants a flavour of what they might expect during a Week of Accompanied Prayer, but they will also help organisers have some idea of what is involved behind-the-scenes, and how best to approach it.

Spiritual Director, experienced retreat leader, and APR Trustee, Revd Alison Christian, has written an excellent Introduction to Weeks of Accompanied Prayer, which clearly outlines what to expect if you attend a Week, and (for potential leaders) how you might approach organising one in your own parish context. Writing from her own experiences, this is a very accessible document, clearly laid out, and full of simple, but effective, advice. It contains a number of links to other resources that can accessed online, some of which are also listed below.

However, perhaps the most important source of help and/or encouragement when trying to arrange your own Week of Accompanied Prayer is to talk to someone who has done it before, and who can perhaps also introduce you to Prayer Guides in your local area. Most diocesan Spirituality Advisers will be able to point you in the right direction (check your own diocesan website to find out who this is), but we have also put together a list of people we know who have the experience and connections you might need; they are all willing to help with your questions!

The Retreat Association have produced a leaflet, introducing Weeks of Accompanied Prayer,. Although it is written more for participants than organisers, it does give a good flavour of what to expect.

Nick Helm has produced some detailed guidelines about how to organise your own Week of Accompanied prayer, which can be found by clicking this link. It covers every aspect of how to plan them, from venues, to refreshments, to planning corporate worship at the beginning and end of the Week. Don’t be daunted by this; it really is a very helpful and useful document!

Briefer notes, produced by the Spirituality Team in the Diocese of Portsmouth, are available to download here, as well as an Outline Timetable, which gives an idea of the workload involved for each Prayer Guide.

The Diocese of Canterbury places great emphasis on the need for ongoing and regular support within the Teams organising Weeks of Accompanied Prayer, as can be seen in these guidelines, or by following this link to their own pages.