I had a fantastic week at the Northumbria Community this summer. You could really sense the heartbeat of God's presence in the beauty and the stillness of the worship there. I bought myself a copy of The Little Book of Prayer Experiments by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes only to bump in to here on Twitter the very next week.

The bookis a great little pocket sizes practical workbook to help you experiment and record your experiences with some different forms of prayer. Experiments include Colouring The Bible, Prayer Walking, Breathing Meditation, Prayer Den, Praying with your Body, Using a Labyrinth and many more. I'd recommend this to new Christians or those lifelong Christians (like me) who have really kept to just one or two ways to pray. These ways of praying have been tried and tested over the whole life of the church, and most of them have ancient and biblical roots. They're worth thinking about.

I decided a short interview by tweets was the order of the day, so here is our conversation. Please do like, comment and join in the conversation. I'd be really interested to know what people make of the different forms of prayer advocated in the book.

 

@MirandaTHolmes Question 1. What made you think your book would be necessary? If that's not too obvious.

— ChurchesAliveOnline (@aliveandonline) August 16, 2016

@aliveandonline So my son and I started a blog where I suggested prayer types & he experimented & reviewed them.

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 16, 2016

@aliveandonline it all started with the Teenage Prayer Experiment. First as a blog, then a book; then the 'grown up' version was requested!

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 16, 2016

@aliveandonline I wanted to buy a book for 2 boys getting confirmed, on developing your prayer life. Couldn't find anything suitable.

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 16, 2016

@aliveandonline Then we found youth groups, churches etc were using it and asking for more! @SPCKPublishing took it on.

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 16, 2016

@aliveandonline And then people kept asking for a version that wasn't branded as being for teens, retreats & vicars were using it for adults

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 16, 2016

@MirandaTHolmes that all makes sense. I'm a lifelong Christian but haven't explored the richness of Prayer that the book presents

— ChurchesAliveOnline (@aliveandonline) August 16, 2016

@MirandaTHolmes Question 2 What has the response been to the book? Any success stories? Rave reviews?

— ChurchesAliveOnline (@aliveandonline) August 16, 2016

@aliveandonline My son when we were wrong it had a profound experience of the presence of God at one point (experimenting with posture)

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 17, 2016

@MirandaTHolmes It's so lovely that your son had that experience

— ChurchesAliveOnline (@aliveandonline) August 17, 2016

@aliveandonline Yes, made it totally worthwhile even if nobody else ever found it helpful! Amazing to think it might help others to that too

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 17, 2016

@aliveandonline One of my faves was a staffer st a retreat house telling me she had to buy a 2nd copy as her daughter was complaining

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 17, 2016

@aliveandonline that she kept punching her copy of TPE to use on retreats and quiet days!

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 17, 2016

@aliveandonline TPE has had rave reviews from youth workers too. I feel a bit of a fraud as I am by no means a 'Youth Expert'!

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 17, 2016

@aliveandonline And you could have knocked me over with a feather when LBPE got reviewed in the TLS the other week 😳😊

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 17, 2016

@aliveandonline Early days for the LBPE yet, but I've had some great stories about the TPE - people praying with their teens for first time,

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 17, 2016

@aliveandonline It's been really good! As I say, the new version is literally 'by popular demand', which was so amazing and satisfying!

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 17, 2016

@MirandaTHolmes Question 3. Have churches used the book in small groups such as house groups for group prayer experiments?

— ChurchesAliveOnline (@aliveandonline) August 17, 2016

@aliveandonline The LBPE only came out in June - I've had several people tell me they plan to do this in the autumn.

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 17, 2016

@MirandaTHolmes I'll certainly be sharing it in my church and recommending it to people

— ChurchesAliveOnline (@aliveandonline) August 18, 2016

@aliveandonline thank you 🤗

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 18, 2016

@aliveandonline the intro to the book gives guidelines and suggestions for how to use it like this, or for a day prayer workshop

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 17, 2016

@aliveandonline So far I've heard of lots of youth groups doing this with the TPE which came out a year ago.

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 17, 2016

@MirandaTHolmes Thanks. Question 4. I'm really interested in walking meditation and breadth prayers. Can you suggest any further reading?

— ChurchesAliveOnline (@aliveandonline) August 18, 2016

@aliveandonline um - no! Sorry, but I'm away from my desk for the next few weeks and in any case found a great lack of suitable stuff.

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 18, 2016

@MirandaTHolmes Question 5 of 6. Mindfulness is mentioned everywhere nowadays. Do you see links between this and the Prayer Experiments?

— ChurchesAliveOnline (@aliveandonline) August 18, 2016

@aliveandonline SOME of the benefits of prayer are generic across many religions and quasi-spiritual practices: focus, time out, mindfulness

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 18, 2016

@aliveandonline and so on. But of course the difference with Christian prayer is God! I'm sure God can & does work through wider practices

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 18, 2016

@MirandaTHolmes speaking personally it's the peace of Christ that I meet through prayer that really 'gets me!'

— ChurchesAliveOnline (@aliveandonline) August 18, 2016

@aliveandonline for me it's the presence of God - highly addictive!

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 19, 2016

@aliveandonline but Im also convinced from my own experience that consciously praying to God is a transformation of the 'secular' benefits

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 18, 2016

@aliveandonline of practices such as meditation and mindfulness. They aren't opposites, but prayer has that whole other dimension.

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 18, 2016

@aliveandonline Yes, I think Mindfulness contains much of the benefits of prayer but if course without the explicit mention of God.

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 18, 2016

@MirandaTHolmes last question. Do u have any other books in the pipeline?

— ChurchesAliveOnline (@aliveandonline) August 18, 2016

@aliveandonline that'd be telling! I've got a few ideas on the go but nothing definite yet. Watch this space!

— Miranda T-Holmes (@MirandaTHolmes) August 19, 2016

@MirandaTHolmes ta 4 taking the time to chat. I'll put all this on my blog asap Enjoy the rest of ur summer. Guest blog on my site any time

— ChurchesAliveOnline (@aliveandonline) August 19, 2016
I hope you enjoyed reading th interview. Please follow Miranda and Churches Alive Online on Twitter and join in the conversation. There are still plans to launch a weekly #ukchurchchat twitter hour at some point when some support has been drummed up. Comments on this blog as well as interactios on Twitter are ALWAYS appreciated.