Farnham & St. John's
Torrence's Weekly Message
“Prayer Works”

What is the most often quoted passage in the Gospels? Pause and think about this for a moment. There are a number of possibilities. A good guess is Jesus’ response to his disciples’ request: “Teach us how to pray.” Thanks to their question two thousand years ago, we have what he offered in The Lord’s Prayer. Those early disciples needed something they saw Jesus had – a connection with a Source to give them strength, courage, resolve, comfort, purpose, understanding, inspiration for life in the world in which they found themselves. Don’t we need those same things, given the world in which we live, move and have being, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year?

How to pray is a question so many of us struggle with. As if prayer has to be a certain way; has to be just right or it might not be heard. How often we need, desperately need, to pray and cannot seem to find the words. Believe we are inadequate, not worthy to even try to pray. Sometimes our mind and emotions are so jumbled up, our spirit so crowded with worldly concerns that we do not even know where to start. Or we are so distracted by the events swirling around us, that we forget that whatever our question, God is the answer. That prayer is our connection to our Lord waiting to connect with us, offer us refuge, resource us with calm, shed light through the darkness, illumine a path forward.

As for words – our Episcopal Book of Common Prayer is a wonderful resource. A wonderful prayer partner when we need to pray. Another prayer partner is the is the book of Psalms in the Old Testament. The Psalms offer prayers of lament, joy, celebration, calls for help, relief from fear, need for hope, refuge, discernment. We can find every emotion offered and prayed about in those ancient psalms which have stood the test of time over almost three thousand years. If the Lord’s Prayer is our number 1 quoted passage from the New Testament, the Twenty-Third Psalm must surely be the number 1 from the Old Testament.

Annie Lamott offers her take on prayer as she shares out of the experience of her own life three essential one-word prayers: “Help!” “Thanks!” “Wow!” Prayer may be a desperate cry for help, a heartfelt response of thanksgiving for grace in our lives, an exuberant exclamation when we are wowed by amazement.  
Sometimes all we need is a one-word prayer. Such as on some coffee/tea mugs I have been accumulating and using over this past year. Simple, found at a quirky small shop in Carytown in Richmond. Each one has a single word on it. As I select one each morning to start my day with something warm and invigorating, I find I am doing so as a sort of prayer “prompt.”  Each one is named. Here are the ones I have so far: Wisdom, Hope, Patience, Serenity, Strength, Nourish, Savor, Comfort. There are others yet to be acquired as I frequent that little store from time to time in future months. My little mugs have become a kind of “prayer partner” to start my day. As I select my “prayer” mug for the morning I seem to sense one of them reaching out to me, saying “Pick me, you need me! Today!” Isn’t that prayer?

Sometimes, prayer is wordless. Simply a feeling, wordless: fleeting or persistent, loud or soft, vibrant or subtle. The window to prayer may simply be a sound, a sight, a taste, a smell, a touch prompting a response in our heart and spirit. God tries to reach us, connect with us, through all of our senses and through all of creation.

As I have gotten older and loosened up about prayer, been willing to risk seeming childish, or imperfect, or needy, or vulnerable, or stupid I am learning that really “anything goes” in my prayer life. That the most important thing I need to do is give up my expectation of how I am supposed to be, of how I’m supposed to do it. Just let go and open to my deepest need to connect with the Divine who is just waiting for me to seek and find, to seek and be found by it. I am learning that all those things I see as “risks” are actually doorways to a Holy Source. So, most of the time, I find I do not even need words, just need to get in touch with a feeling that I am in need of something I have lost touch with: Hope, Wisdom, Strength, Serenity, Comfort, Nourishment, Patience, Understanding, Love, Compassion, simply a connection with a Presence that wants to love, cherish, sustain, refresh, restore, renew me. I believe that the next time I visit the store where I picked up my other prayer mugs, I will look for one that says “Humility” and for one named “Grace.” I’ll let you know.

                                               Isn’t God amazing?


P. S. By the way, the best prayer partners are friends. So check out our Lenten Series announcement below. Consider this opportunity to partner with others as we explore the theme of “Prayer Works.” 
The Annual Meeting of the Congregation of St. John's Episcopal Church
Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 10 a.m.
The meeting will be conducted by Zoom -
Agenda items will include
  • election of two vestry members
  • the 2021 Budget
  • Annual Reports
Vestry members concluding their three year term are
  • Arline Hinkson and
  • Brother Mark Jenkins. 
Nominees for election for the two openings on the vestry are
  • Barbara Jean LeFon and
  • Anne Neuman. 
The Annual Meeting of the Congregation of N. Farnham Episcopal Church
Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 1 p.m.
The meeting will be conducted by Zoom -
Agenda items will include
  • election of two vestry members
  • the 2021 Budget and
  • Annual Reports
Vestry members concluding their three year term are
  • Kim Calvert and
  • Ed Elliott. 
Nominees for election for the two openings on the vestry are
  • Brenda Harhai and
  • Stan Terhune
Mark your Calendars for the Upcoming Lenten Series:
"Prayer Works: Praying with the Psalms"
Tuesdays, February 23, March 2, 9, 16, 23

A blend of bible study, prayer, reflection, conversation

Two options: A morning 10 a.m. session; an evening 7 p.m. session
By Zoom
More details to follow
Services & Sermons
The Zoom links for meetings and services will be e-mailed to the congregations and posted on our web-site, farnhamwithstjohns.org. They are the third item in the dropdown menu on the left hand side of the page.
Sunday, January 31st 

Annual Meetings by Zoom

10 am St. John's
1 pm Farnham
(no service)

Zoom link to be sent to the congregation and has been posted on our web-site.

Diocesan Sermon by
the Rt. Rev. Porter Taylor

Sunday, February 7th  

10 am Combined Service of Morning Prayer
by Zoom

including homily
Zoom link to be sent to the congregation later and will be posted on our web-site

Diocesan Sermon by
the Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson

Sunday, February 14th  

10 am Combined Service of Morning Prayer
by Zoom

including homily

Diocesan Sermon by
the Rt. Rev. Susan Goff

Wed., February 17th  

Ash Wednesday
services via Zoom

12:00 noon
7:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 21st  

10 am Combined Service of Morning Prayer
by Zoom

including homily

Diocesan Sermon by
The Rt. Rev. Eugene Sutton, Bishop of Maryland
Sunday, February 28th  

10 am Combined Service of Morning Prayer
by Zoom

including homily

Diocesan Sermon by
the Rt. Rev. Phoebe Roaf, Bishop of West Tennessee
The Parish Prayer List
for those in need of God's comfort and healing
Courtenay Altaffer
John Barber
Martha Berger
Randall Bone
Sue Bowie
Nancy Allin Bush
Pat & Richard Damion
Constance Edwards
Bob File
David Gallagher
Regina Griggs
Barbara Grander
The Rev. Howard Hanchey
Weir Harman
Billy Hooper
Rebecca Hubert
Marcia Jenkins
Stephanie, Nick & Donovan Kaywork
Jim & Sharon Krider
Mary Douglas Lawton
The Rt. Rev. Peter Lee
Barbara Leiter
Susan Lewis
Rich Lyman
Frank Lynch
Susannah Marais
Pat Merkel
Tommy Neuman
Judi Newman
Kirsten Palubinski
James Rynd
Debbie Belfield Stacks
Scott Strickler
Waldy Sulik
Billy Tennyson
Roclyn Tennyson
John Welch, II
Matthew Yates
Rose Mary Zellner and
all the victims of COVID 19
and for those serving in our armed forces
Royce Baker
David Berger
Ryan Berger
Allen Crocker
Randy Crocker
Court Garretson
Cameron Heidenreich
Dan Heidenreich
Charles Jones
Daniel Kirk
Mark Lawton
Scott Longar
Luis Loya
Christopher Strickler
Gavin Wade McClung
and Travis Pullen
We also pray for those who have died.

Martha Lyman and Bennie Shepherd

Upcoming Birthdays & Anniversaries
Jan. 28th - Junius & Martha Berger
Feb. 2nd – Anne Grigg
Feb. 8th – Steve Foster
Feb. 15th – Brenda & G.W. Goddin
Feb. 15th – Eva Milsted
Feb. 17th - Barbara Jean LeFon

Aurora Borialis Background Photo by Maria Vojtovicova on Unsplash
The Episcopal Church Welcomes You!

Our services at Farnham & St. John's this coming Sunday have been replaced by annual congregational Zoom meetings. The link for these meetings is on our website farnhamwithstjohns.org
North Farnham Church
St. John's Church