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  • Writer's pictureSt. Matthews

Praying more intentionally - Anam cara group

Anam cara is an old Gaelic term, meaning ‘soul friend’, (or ‘Soulmate’). Anam is Gaelic for ‘soul’, and cara is Gaelic for ‘friend’. The phrase comes from the Celtic belief that souls can be connected spiritually and can create a strong bond.

St. Matts has now started a fellowship group which has grown out of our Education for Ministry (EfM) group which we have called Anam Cara (EfM). All the members are EfM alumni, and as EfM students graduate they will be invited to join Anam Cara (EfM). The group seeks to be companions or spiritual guides to one another. With an Anam Cara, a person can share their innermost self without fear or judgement. In this relationship, you are truly understood without mask or pretention. We meet weekly to seek that "thin space" from Celtic theology, the places where heaven and earth are so close… they almost touch. We search for this through fellowship, discussion, formation, spiritual discernment (Group mentoring), prayer, meditation and reflection and listening for Gods still small voice, listening for God’s heartbeat.

As part of our prayers, we have recognized that we should be praying more intentionally on some of the bigger issues that confront us and our world today and pray in faith for God to intervene. It is sometimes easy to pray for those small things where we can make a difference ourselves and ignore the big issues which we feel we cannot impact or might be sensitive issues where our prayer might cause offence. After some prayerful discussion and discernment, we believe that our big prayer for the next couple of months should be for God’s intervention in the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us have been painfully touched by the pandemic and the recent worldwide resurgence, driven through the Delta variant, has filled many with renewed unease about the future.

As part of our EfM practices we often write short collects together and our Anam Cara group is continuing this practice. To that end the group has prepared the collect below which we will use in our weekly prayers together and in our own individual prayer times. We believe that big prayer like this is best done with a big voice, and we invite all of you to join in making this prayer – perhaps in your daily prayer, maybe you could say it as part of your Sunday worship. As you say the prayer you will be joining in a community of prayer.

Blessed are you, O Lord God, Mother, and Father of us all, For you long to shelter your children as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, especially in this time of worldwide pandemic. We thank you for the miracle of the COVID-19 vaccines and for your servants; from the front-line workers who have served diligently in caring for those infected by COVID-19 to the essential workers who continued with their duties despite the risk of infection. We pray for the souls of those who have lost their lives, for those who have lost loved ones and those who are suffering. We confess that we have not always loved our neighbors as ourselves. Give us compassion and humility to protect each other, especially those most vulnerable in our community. We ask You to move the people and nations of the world to cooperate in fighting the COVID-19 virus. Help us survive this time of crisis and reaffirm we are all your imperfect children who are called to love and support each other. Please, God, help us to work together to end this pandemic. Amen.

Linden Sanders
Linden Sanders

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