Praying together – 17 January 2022

Here a group of Breton peasants are at prayer together. Gathered for an important service, at a festival, they wear their finest dress. Although they are all praying, they are engaged differently. Some pray with their eyes open, others bow their heads and close their eyes. Some use prayer books, others simply listen to prayers being read by others. There is then a sense of the diversity of persons held together by a holy activity.

Our eye might begin with the standing row, moving from left to right, from the darker figure of the single man in the picture, towards the right, where the light catches the headdresses of the women. We notice other figures behind, this is indeed a crowded church.

After this we pay more attention to the young woman seated at the front. She is extremely still and thoughtful. In her hands she holds not just a prayer book but a long tapered candle. We are invited to consider the content of her thoughts and prayers.

The picture here is ‘Bretons praying’ by Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret (1888), a French naturalist artist.


Tomorrow we begin the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – an opportunity for Christians of different denominations (and personalities and ethnicities) to gather (face-to-face or virtually) to pray together, that we might be one.


Jesus prayed:

I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word,  that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

John 17:20-23


Lord Jesus, who prayed that we might all be one,
we pray to you for the unity of Christians,
according to your will,
according to your means.
May your Spirit enable us
to experience the suffering caused by division,
to see our sin
and to hope beyond all hope.

Written by the Chemin Neuf Community