Maybole Ecumenical Prayer Group
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Some members of the prayer group

Christian Unity Week was marked with a special prayer service.

News: Update to Fr. Woolley's WordsPrayer for Peace  | July 2003 | Mar 2003 | July 2002 | Oct 2001 | June 2001 | Feb 2001 | Jan 2001 | Nov 2000 | Prison Alpha

Last week the Maybole "Lydia" Ecumenical Prayer Group met for a grand reunion of current and past members at the Crosshill Arms where a very fine dinner was enjoyed by all. Ellen Hawkes welcomed twenty six members of the group, especially founder members Mrs Elizabeth Purvis, Mrs Jean Docherty and Mrs Rina Paterson. The group was founded twenty-three years ago and first met in the West Manse, and since then it has met in various houses and for a short spell in Maybole Castle. Mrs Eileen Hamilton read Psalm 103 and Mrs Janie Thorburn sang two of her favourite hymns after which Mrs Eva Martin said the grace. After the meal Mrs Elizabeth Purvis reminisced over some of the more eventful memories of past speakers and meetings, and ended with a challenging tale of a medical missionary inspired by an African child's simple faith in God to work miracles. This was followed by a hilarious toast to absent friends, all twenty-one of them, given in very expert fashion by Mrs Jean Dunn. The group's remarkably slow progress in musical talent was a subject of much hilarity and Mr Bennett Ward got a special vote of thanks for his guitar skills which helps the group to get some of the tunes right! The deceased members of the group were also remembered with thanks. The group meets at 7 Kildoon Drive, Maybole every Tuesday evening from 7.30pm to 9.30pm and new members are always welcome. Requests from people for prayer are also welcome.
(Ayrshire Post Jan 2004)

Maybole Ecumenical Christian Prayer Group first met some twenty years in the West Manse. It grew out of a small group of three or four women, including the minister's wife, meeting for prayer. Then at a Women's World Day of Prayer, in St Oswald's Church, a chance discussion of Colin Urquhart's book "When the Spirit comes" resulted in the formation of a Maybole Prayer group.

The group continued to meet in the Manse and soon included a few Catholic and Baptist members as well as Church of Scotland. Hungry for teaching about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and fellowship with other people, the group attended seminars organised by the Lydia Fellowship in Scotland, the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship, Evelyn Christianson Prayer Seminars, John Wimber Healing Seminars and various local charismatic and evangelical meetings and groups.

The Tuesday evening meetings became regular and attendance increased until there were some twenty women meeting every week to praise God, read Scripture and share their faith. Word got around and people came to see what it was about. Some stayed, some came along now and then and some visited to hear invited speakers. This was a unique event in town - led by lay people from all the churches in town, following its own programme, discerned through prayer. Local ministers and priests were invited to give teachings, and visitors from further afield were warmly welcomed to share their faith.

Over the years the group has had a regular core of some ten to twelve members, still mainly women, although a few men folk have attended and sometimes moved on to other groups. The Prayer Group from Our Lady and St. Cuthbert's amalgamated with the Group many years ago, sharing its gifts with the bigger group. The group has independently organised speaking events followed by suppers, Life in the Spirit Seminars over a seven week period, and in 1998, it became affiliated to the Maybole Council of Churches. Its members have played a central role in helping with the Ecumenical Lenten Groups, Healing Services and are now supporting the Maybole Council of Church's Alpha outreach which begins in October this year.

The group welcomes Christians from all denominations, young and old, men and women. It meets every week, on Tuesdays, in Maybole Castle, from 7.30 - 9.30pm.

Meetings vary from week to week but always include praise, Scripture, prayer, teaching and sharing of faith. The goal of the group is for each member to grow closer to Jesus Christ, to help one another identify and use our gifts and talents in our families, churches and workplaces, and to pray constantly for our families, town and nation. The group welcomes prayer requests from the general public and supports many people who need prayer due to illness, crisis, or some are of concern.

In the year 2000, the group started three ancillary groups which are open to all and meet outwith the Tuesday meeting. These groups tend to be smaller and to focus on specific gifts. One weekly group of four prays for healing and if invited will go and pray with individuals as well as for them. Another group of four meets to share about the gift of listening to God's message and trying to discern what the Spirit is saying to us today. Yet another group of five meets weekly to intercede as the Spirit leads.



July 2003

The Prayer Group is still meeting weekly in Maybole. Generally there are some eight to ten people present. The two ancillary groups - for healing and intercessory prayer still meet weekly.

In the Tuesday evening main group, there has been a return to a more expectant type of listening and faith. A recent book "If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat" has led the group to try to identify what each person's individual boat may be and if they are really willing to leave its security. Usually when this type of challenge is experienced by the group, the Holy Spirit is up to some radical changing of habits! It is always a revelation to find how easily each of us can slip into old habits and start to measure ourselves by the way the world thinks. In the prayer ministry this week, the request for a more dynamic faith in Jesus Christ was made by several. Once again the teaching reiterated that the kingdom of God is not the Church or going to Church : but rather as Jesus defined the proclamation of the Gospel good news by a dynamic and vibrant faith life in a Person, Jesus Christ and should allow us to manifest and experience not only the proclamation of God's word, but healings, deliverance from bondage and transformation of lives. We are the builders of this kingdom in our homes, churches and society - or are we?

March 2003

The Ecumenical Prayer Group still meets every Tuesday evening. This New Year over twenty existing and former members came along to a dinner in the Welltrees Inn, Maybole, which was a great occasion for nostalgia and prayers for the looming crisis with Iraq.

The meetings since the New Year have been very varied as we try to share what God is doing in our lives and try to encourage one another to live with hope and love in a darkened world. We are preparing to go on retreat as a prayer group on the weekend of March 8th to Skelmorlie, where we have been going for the past ten years!

On the weekend of 21st February some of the prayer group went along to hear Fr. John Woolley, an Anglican priest, who has written down the words which he believes he has received from Christ in a small book called “I am with You”, give a weekend retreat.

The book is used by many members of the group, some on a daily basis and is now used throughout the world and recommended for use by Christian leaders of many denominations.

Meeting Fr. Woolley was an experience as he is very self-effacing and unassuming, but a very powerful witness for Christ. Some thirty people from all over Scotland were present and all of them had the same experience of the book – the words bring an unfailing sense of God’s presence and intimate knowledge of their needs

In fact, from the hundreds of letters he receives every week, the message is the same – the words of the book, which are described as “words of divine inspiration given to Fr. Woolley”, have brought comfort and strength to thousands in a very difficult time in their lives and in our world.

The Prayer Group, with Fr. Woolley’s permission, would like to share some of the words with a wider audience, updating readers weekly.

"My child relationships are not spoiled until both say or do that which
brings in a more permanent factor. While you show restraint and rely on Me,
the possibility of change comes from your own very restraint and reflection
of Me! The hurt is then more  quickly dissolved.

I can only create love and harmony where I am allowed to do you
avoid the blockages of fruitless recrimination, controversy, and intrusion
of the "hurt" self, and as you pray, and let Me work upon the situation.

You have learned that the way of love can be hard..... but never as hard as
when you depart from that way! The power of My love, when permitted to work,
is the great binder-up of misunderstandings and even of deep hatreds. Alas,
the world (because of its indifference to Me), has yet to experience just
how much the influence of My love can achieve."

Pray for those who ill-treat you.  (Matthew 5 : 44)

If you would like more information about Fr. Wooley’s book you can contact The “I AM WITH YOU FOUNDATION” via Mrs Ros Kraushar, 2 Lauradale Road, London N2 9LU (0208 883 2665) or Mrs Ellen Hawkes at 7 Kildoon Drive, Maybole (01655 883765) if you live locally.

July 2002

It is some time since the Ecumenical Prayer Group has updated the internet due to busyness with many other things. The group still meets on Tuesdays for Prayer and Praise and Bible study. We all went of in February for a Lenten retreat to Skelmorlie in Largs. The theme was “The power of God” and we looked at where that power was evident in our lives. Compared to the power displayed in the life of Jesus and even in the book of Acts, we felt we had a long way to go. However, we were convicted that in all of our lives that power has been and is evident when we are obeying God’s word – not just the bits we chose to obey but all of it. We believed it had become  easy for us as Christians to fall into worldly values and even although we had decided the previous June to measure ourselves against God’s standards and not man’s, living in modern society with its selfish interpretation of love and its bewildering political and media messages, had dented our original enthusiasm somewhat. We had to rediscover the vision of living here and now in God’s kingdom.

Currently we are beginning to see some very positive fruits of this return to Christ’s values. We are being clearly told through Scripture that we must fervently desire to please God, not ourselves and not others. No matter what people say or think, we must obey God’s word in our own lives. There are constant failures, but we are finding that the powerful presence of the God who loves us, encourages us to start again. There is new joy and peace evident in the group. Individuals within the group report this in their own lives, where there is a renewed desire to read God’s word and a growing freedom from fear of what others might think of them. There is an underlying excitement in the group – we know God always hears and answers our prayers ( even when No! is the answer) but there is a feeling that he is about to be present with us in a new and powerful way to help us get our vision right so that his kingdom can really reflect his promises. Instead of doing it our way, he wants us to do it his way. This could lead to conflict with traditional ideas we have held on to for too long, could make us rather unpopular people perhaps – but we have come to realise that we are in a spiritual battle, for our minds and for our souls, and we are being prepared so that we can fight back.

We believe we are being given new directions in prayer in our Intercessory group which meets on Fridays at 4pm…not just praying for our town, our country and our world but being led to pray for specific areas. Recently we spent the whole time praying about Christian marriages, when we had initially intended to pray for the Christian Church. The following week, we prayed for prisoners and families and were led on through a very powerful word in Corinthians 1 : 10 to pray for Christian people, many of whom are wounded or even dead due to the crisis in faith they are experiencing. There is a sense that the Lord is not pleased with the splits and divisions among us. Unconsciously, many of us betray Christ by our lack of love and by cementing division.

Our healing group still meets on Thursdays, at lunch time, and there is never any lack of sick people to pray for, including ourselves. Here too we feel the direction we are being led in is to meditate on the Passion and death of Christ, from which so much power was released for humanity.

October 2001                                                                                     by E Hamilton

October sees us well into the theme of maturing in our living of the Christian life.

Well into but still struggling. We know what we should be doing but doing it seems to be the problem. All of us are faced with the fact that we are less devoted to Christ than we want to be. Our Prayer Group reflections over the past few months have really challenged us to measure ourselves against Gospel values 100%, not 50% not 25%. And we are recognising how much help we all need from God to even keep this goal in focus. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

The events of September 11th have focussed our attention back to prayer power which the Scriptures tell us constantly activates the almighty power of God into our situation. We are therefore trying to renew our prayer life and pray expectantly and confidently that the dark days in which we find ourselves may become an opportunity for God's power of forgiveness and reconciliation to reach the hearts of leaders and peoples on all sides. We looked at Elisha (2 Kings 6 : 13 -23) who prayed in a situation of war that seemed impossible and we believed the words were being spoken right into our hearts in the present day crisis by God. We are to pray as earnestly and as confidently as Elisha. We reflected that if the 2 billion Christians in the world prayed like Elisha, the conflict would be over in an equally short time with similar results - lasting peace!

Over the past two to three weeks the group has reflected on and been encouraged by the spiritual journeys of other great Christians who have trodden the same paths as we do and it is amazing how similar the journey has been.

St. Augustine who lived some 1,700 years before us, had trouble giving up worldly habits. He wanted to but struggles "in two minds" for years, almost getting there and drawing back from complete dependence on God. Brother Lawrence, a humble French lay brother, who started his spiritual journey around 55 years of age and spent the next 33 years working in a Parisian monastic kitchen, struggled for years with his "practice of the presence of God". Each almost gave up but perseverance won out in the end. Both studies filled members of the group with encouragement and new determination to carry on the struggle towards holiness in the 21st century in Maybole.

We now consider Augustine and Lawrence to be honorary members of our group!

The group hope to continue looking at some of the great spiritual examples of Scripture and later times, in the weeks ahead.

Meantime, we continue to pray for those who ask us. A separate healing group meets on Thursdays and an intercessory group on Fridays. Anyone who wants prayer can reach us on e-mail

The group are hoping to arrange transport for a conference on Brokenness and Healing at Our Lady & St Meddan's Church Troon on Friday 2nd (7.30pm to 10.45) and Saturday 3rd November (10.30am to 4pm) and for an evening concert by Ian White at St Meddan's Troon on Thursday 15th November.

June 2001

On 12th June 2001, the Prayer Group resolved to take a serious look at Christian Maturity.

Recognising the risks involved, the possible hurts or misunderstandings, the opportunities for

self – justification, and the likelihood that the group may not persevere until fruit was evident, the members nevertheless resolved to pursue the theme, because of the challenge it offered.

Text : John 12 : 20 –26. Are we willing to let those character traits/habits in us, which sever us from close union with Christ, die? Are we willing to take an in-depth look at ourselves?

We agreed that over the next few weeks or months we will try prayerfully to listen to what is shared by group members, hear what the Holy Spirit is trying to teach us, and discern where each of us needs to change. Change is the way ahead to holiness. Signposts along the way challenge us to put the other first, to be humble, to check our motives, to be courageous with one another, to look at our own selves first under each and every topic shared.

"The kingdom of God is within you " – so we have to start here!

The Challenge is to listen, to pray, to persevere, to forget others faults and be self-examining, to change. TO BE HOLY which is very unfashionable language today. We will be trying to find out what exactly it means.

June 12th 2002 – we will review progress.

June 19th 2001-06-24

Members of the prayer group looked at Luke 6 : 27 –36, and one member had a translation of 1 Peter 1 : 17 which read " Look anxiously to the ordering of your lives while your stay on earth lasts." We agreed we should keep on track and the first part of the meeting took on a different format, with members sharing how they had coped during the week with a new awareness of self.

However, the Luke 6 reading challenged us to "turn the other cheek" and this is one area where we all have a lot of growing to do. We felt it meant no getting back at people who hurt us, who criticise us or who oppose us. We came to the conclusion that as Christians, in such matters as loving one’s enemies, we went by our own yardstick rather than God’s, as Christ outlined it in this passage. It came as a revelation that we were all settling for, and living, standards far less than we ought to aim for. The Christian life is not easy, even impossible, where such high standards are demanded. But rather than being discouraged, we believed that with the Holy Spirit, and our renewed efforts and awareness, together we could aim for Christ’s standards. So this week, we hope to respond in love, no matter what the provocation.

We look forward to sharing at next week’s meeting and seeing where we go from there. It may be a hard journey, but it is a stimulating and exciting one and one which will draw us closer to Christ, if we let him in. It has only taken us twenty years to get this far, but we hope the pace will accelerate, now that we have wakened up to where we really are.

February - 2001

The Ecumenical Prayer Group this month varied in numbers from six to sixteen, largely due to the weather. The theme this month was prayer and the spiritual battle which Christians are engaged in, in an increasingly hostile world. The group looked at an Old Testament story one Tuesday evening, when Elisha's servant was daunted by enemy hordes and the prophet told him not to be afraid and prayed that God would open his eyes to see the vast army of heavenly angels encamped around them. The passage was new to some and led to a great deal of sharing and encouragement.

In these days of emptying churches, political intrigue, world wide disasters, and now the spreading foot and mouth disease, it is easy to lose hope and to become very anxious. The group are being made aware of the great weapon of prayer which Christ gave to his people, a spiritual weapon, which is so often unused. We were reminded of the great pray-ers in Scripture - Moses, who changed God's mind by prayer, Elija who brought down fire from heaven, David the great psalmist, Solomon who prayed for wisdom with such great effect and who led his nation in prayer, Daniel who prayed and fasted while in captivity, and Nehemiah whose prayer rebuilt Jerusalem. Then the group considered the number of times Jesus went out alone to pray. His style of prayer was so different and so effective that his followers asked him how to pray as he did. And then the great prayers of the Passion - at Gethsemene and Calvary. The followers had largely fled by then and we looked at the people of God today to see where we were when trouble brewed.

So the month of February, which included the start of Lent, was one in which people felt re-called to expectant prayer, to belief in an almighty God who wants his people to pray. Isaiah 65 : 1 " The Lord said, ' I was ready to answer my people's prayers, but they did not pray. I was ready for them to find me, but they did not even try. The nation did not pray to me, even though I was always ready to answer Here I am. I will help you.' "

January - 2001

The Prayer Group conducted the service for Christian Unity in Our Lady and St. Cuthbert's Church on Tuesday 23rd January. After praying about texts to use and the format of the evening, it was agreed that we used the texts from Ephesians 4 : 3- 8, 13, 16 in which Paul exhorts us to remain united and work together like different parts of the same body. Bennett sang the psalm "Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth" to Fr. Jim's accompaniment on the guitar. This was followed by John 17 : 21 -26, the great High Priestly prayer of Christ encouraging his church to be one. A short reflection (see attachment) was read from an address to clergy in 1994, and from the 2001 address of the Moderator of the Church of Scotland.

We finished the evening by praying together for unity among God's people nationally and in our town, and then everyone lit a candle, got up and placed it near the Bible on the altar , and quietly said a short private prayer. One of the group read a beautiful Celtic blessing asking God to renew us in the quiet watches of the night.

There were about forty people present from the different denominations and four of the local pastors. A collection for El Salvador victims realised £92 which has been sent to the relief fund.

The prayer group continues to meet on a Tuesday evening and to pray for Christian Unity. One of the group has a dream of opening a small High Street drop-in centre where people can come and rest or just for a quiet prayer. We will be praying that if God wants this to happen, we will be ready.

Other prayer topics, "adopted" by the group are local hospitals, hospices and schools. We also pray for any sick, and prayer cards were distributed at the Christian Unity Service. All we need is a name and a request.

The healing group continues to meet at Thursday lunchtimes and has embarked on a prayerful study of Francis McNutt's suggestions for healing ministries. The Intercessory Group meets on Friday, early evening, and we cover topics as the Spirit prompts us to pray.

Many of the group are involved in outreach such as Prison visiting, visiting the sick and other parish ministries. As a group we have agreed to pray continually for the Alpha Outreach to non- Christians and to work with the Maybole Council of Churches to continue Alpha courses in the autumn.

November 2000

Many of the members of the group are taking part in the Alpha outreach being undertaken by Maybole Council of Churches. We have been meeting for the past six weeks on a Monday evening in Maybole Castle. We start with a light supper, a praise time, teaching on Christ and his Good News and then small discussion groups. Last Saturday 18/11/00 was the day dedicated to teaching about the Holy Spirit - Who He is, How He acts in the world today, and How to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

The whole day was very special with thirteen people in all attending. The day was held in the home of a member, which is a converted school. Some years ago she and her husband felt the Lord calling them to a new ministry and they bought the Old Schoolhouse in Kirkmichael, renovated it and offer it to Christian groups for spiritual purposes. Their hospitality was much appreciated.

Much of the teaching was being heard and put into practice for the first time. We had a prayer time afterwards during which we each asked God to fill us with His Spirit. Several people were very moved, there and then, and we hope to hear more of how faith is growing in the weeks ahead.

On Tuesdays the group continues to meet faithfully, though not as large as in pre-alpha days. It always amazes us the variety of ways in which the group interacts. We always expect the Holy Spirit to be there, and we are never disappointed, although at times we ourselves get in the way. Recently we are being brought into a new awareness of the importance of our human relationships and how often we fail to witness to God's love in this area. We are being taught not to seek to justify our actions all the time, to pray for people rather than criticise and most importantly to listen -really listen - to others. "Never judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins"

We have agreed to pray constantly for Alpha which we regard as our outreach work, to cover the local schools and hospitals and we have left notes in the churches encouraging people who would like us to pray for special intentions to let us know. We always dedicate time to this kind of prayer every week. Last week, as there were so many people ill, the meeting concentrated on prayer for healing of the sick. Members of the group also asked for others to pray with them as individuals for healing or for guidance.

Two weeks ago, we had an evening which ended up praising God for most of the meeting. We have never been blessed with a music ministry, but recently one of our number has learned to play the guitar and he is now confident enough to start us off. We accompany him on the tambourine and other simple instruments - at least we try to. We recognise our frailty but look forward with expectancy to the happy day when we will all sing in tune, accompanied by the heavenly choirs!!

The word of God which seems to be re-iterated in the group during November is to learn to trust him more than we do.

"Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit" says the Lord

The smaller groups continue to meet most weeks. The healing group prays continually for people who have asked for prayer. The intercessory group prays as the Spirit leads but members have particular burdens to pray about Abortion, people who have cancer, the high suicide rate among young men in Scotland, and the interest in the occult. The group studying the gift of prophecy has not been able to meet for a wee while but hopes to start again after Christmas as they consider there is a great need for the authentic gift of prophesy so that we know what the Spirit is saying to the Churches - and ourselves - today.

The group is very happy to pray for anyone who would like prayer and will pray for their intention whenever they get the request at the meeting that week. All prayer requests are confidential and only first names need be given.

God bless and keep anyone reading this news page!