The Church of England is using clips from hit films Four Weddings and a Funeral, Dead Man Walking, and Truly, Madly, Deeply in a bid to boost the nation's prayer life, through a new resource aimed at small study groups.
The clips are suggested as ways of beginning discussions about how God acts in the world, about genuine listening, and about the nature of human relationships.
Life Source, published today as an ideal course for Lent study groups, will encourage members to "discover a new found joy and delight in prayer" by examining major aspects of a balanced prayer life, founded on the idea of prayer as relationship with God.
Each of the 90-minute sessions uses a Bible study along with a range of interactive activities to introduce and explore different ways of praying, drawn from Christian heritage down the ages.
The authors, Canon Robert Warren and Revd Kate Bruce, designed the course to support both those new to the Christian faith seeking ways of developing their new-found relationship with God, and those longer-standing (or longer-kneeling) Christians looking for refreshment for their prayer life.
Kate Bruce, a chaplain at Durham University, reflects that "many people seem to experience a sense of guilt and failure around prayer, perhaps because we tend to treat prayer like a chore to be completed rather than a gift to be enjoyed; a task rather than the exploration of a relationship. We hope the book will maybe encourage people to engage more deeply in prayer."
Life Source specifically explores the use of five distinctive styles of prayer including The Lord's Prayer, lectio divina (a way of listening and responding to Bible passages), and Aaron's Blessing (taken from the Biblical Book of Numbers).
The book also contains a wealth of brief reflections to help in the discipline of prayer from writers such as the Rt Revd John Pritchard and the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, the Bishops of Jarrow and Reading. The Rt Revd Christopher Herbert, Bishop of St Albans, has commended the course as "a book about praying which is rooted in God and in our humanity, full of good sense, encouragement and joy." Last year's recommended Lent Course, Life Balance, sold more than 14,000 copies - more than one for every parish in the country.
Life Source, priced £3.99, is available from Christian bookshops including Church House Bookshop, 31 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BN, tel. 020 7799 4064, email firstname.lastname@example.org or see: www.chbookshop.co.uk first posted LONDON - 10 November 2006 - 415 words