Wednesday, 4 December 2013

8. ACTS 1: Adoration

There is a well known suggestion for a balance prayer life: ACTS. This stands for

 1. Adoration (adoring God, standing in awe at God, praising God)
 2. Confession (admitting all the ways we are not perfect, and resolving to do better)
 3. Thanks (saying thank you to God for all that we have and are)
 4. Supplication (asking God for things we need, asking for help for ourselves or others)

The idea is that a balanced prayer life consists of all four elements. Many people find that they actually just do 4, with not very much of 1, 2 or 3. But think of them like the food groups. A balanced diet of prayer will have all the different elements.

For the next four sessions, we will focus on one of these at a time. Often, you will want to make sure you do all four each time you pray. But for now, we will split them out and just look at each one at a time.

So, this week we begin with ADORATION.

What makes you think about how amazing God is? For some people, it might be being at the top of a high mountain; or a beautiful sunset; or the ocean waves; or a huge storm. You might be filled with awe at wild animals; or tiny insects; or vast crowds of people; aerial photographs of the world, or even space and the stars and planets. And what about God's story in the Bible, or in the world around us? Maybe beautiful churches; a soaring cathedral spire; music, whether a soloist or a rock concert; pictures and youtube clips of charities working to relieve hunger and poverty and suffering; pictures of Jesus being born on a Christmas card, or pictures of the crucifixion or empty tomb?

After thinking about this, make an adoration collage. You could either do this with paper, scissors and glue, using pictures from postcards, magazines, newspapers and printouts from your computer: or you could do it electronically, searching for the images you want and making a digital collage. Print it out at the end if you do it digitally, though.

Write 'I adore you, God' or simply 'Adoration' in the middle, and surround it with images that each make you feel awe, wonder, or love for God and for all that God has made and done.

Then, stick it up on your wall so that it is a reminder for you of how amazing God is.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

7b: review of Colour In your Prayers

I enjoyed doing this, it was really fun, but the picture I was doing did not make me think about the bible passage that was written on it (For God so loved the world that he gave his only son so that everyone who believes in him will not be lost but will have eternal life, John 3:16) but it did make me think about the picture itself.

A hand to me means feel or touch so a hand, to me, means God feels for us with his whole heart. The sort of rainbow pathway indicates the pathway to Gods love, heaven.

I like colouring in, but to me this wasn't really a prayer experience.

I think part of the problem might have been that this was a Bible passage I know well, and I've done some Ethics and Philosophy work on it at school. In a few weeks time I'd quite like to try doing this differently, by drawing the picture myself.

Ease of use 7/10
Effectiveness  4/10

Thursday, 17 October 2013

7. Colour In Your Prayers

One way that Christians sometimes use the Bible in praying is to focus on a short passage and just stay with it for quite a long time. Sometimes people say that reading a passage once, or twice, is just words. But read it three or four times, and suddenly something about it might jump out at you, or you hear it differently.

I have been thinking about how we can do this in a way that isn't just reading words on a page, and someone on Facebook (thanks Rosalind Rutherford!) said a teenager in her church had enjoyed using a special meditative colouring book (from the Lindisfarne Scriptorium) as a way to think and pray.

That book has to be ordered online, but there are several similar activities that you can try for free.
Have a look, and see which catch your eye, then print one of them off and have a go.

There are various options.
1. The first idea is to have a colour-in version of a short Bible passage. As you are colouring in the words and images, you will be able to think about them for quite a long time. And the fact that you are concentrating on colouring in means you won't be too focused on the words: your conscious mind will be occupied, leaving your subconscious to meditate on the passage without thinking about it too much. The best I have seen are at Flame Creativekids ; scroll down and choose one, print it out and get colouring!

2. Secondly, you could of course make your own. If you enjoy art, try choosing a passage - maybe one of the ones you've seen elsewhere on this site, or one you find by flicking through a Bible, or one you remember from somewhere else or from church this week perhaps. Enjoy deciding the best way to lay it out on the page, what style of writing fits it best, how you might illustrate it. Use the whole page, decorate every centimetre, take at least half an hour and make it as beautiful or dramatic as you can.

3. Another way of engaging with a Bible passage in this way, particularly if you prefer more specific questions or don't like colouring in much, is to try a Cartoon Church cartoon worksheet. Again, there are several different ones available on that link, scroll down and choose one you think looks interesting.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

6b. Review of bedroom door prayers

I made two Post-It notes for my door. As I came in I had 'God be in this place', and going out I had 'God be with me wherever I go'. I read them each time I passed, though the sticky notes fell off the door after two days! But by that time it came naturally to keep saying it each time I went through the door. The effect wasn't very noticeable though.  I preferred the activities like the Lego where you interacted with something else. Just saying something was not as powerful. It did make me think about God though, not every time I walked in but quite often. When I went to bed, for example, I found I usually said a prayer because it had reminded me to.

Ease of use: 10
Effectiveness: 2.5

Sunday, 15 September 2013

6. Bedroom Door Prayers

What does it say on your bedroom door? 'Keep Out'? Maybe your name?
What about inside? Maybe it is blank - perhaps covered in posters - or is it where your dressing gown hangs?

What about your house door? It might have just a number, maybe a 'Welcome' doormat. Perhaps a Christmas wreath in December.

In many religious traditions, written prayers or short blessings are put on doorways. The idea is that every time you enter or leave the house, you are reminded to pray. You don't even have to consciously say the prayer each time, you just see it and notice it as you are passing.

So this week, let's try writing doorway prayers for your bedroom door.
Let's do two: one for outside your door, that you'll see when you go in, and one for the inside, that you'll see every time you leave. (If you tend to leave your bedroom door open, put this one next to the door frame or light switch on the inside of room instead).

What would you like a prayer or blessing that you see going in to your room to say? You might be going in to go to bed, or to be on your own. You might just be popping in to get a jumper, sitting down to do homework, feeling sad or lonely or curled up with a good book or a computer game.

Perhaps: 'God bless this room'.
Or: 'God, be with me'.
Or: 'God bless all my thoughts and dreams'.
Or: 'God's peace be in this place'.

You could choose one of those, or write your own.
Write it out, on a piece of paper (decorate it as much as you like, make it something you enjoy seeing). Make sure the writing is quite big, so you can read it as you approach the door. Then stick it to your door, where you will see it every time you go in.

And what would you want to pray for as you leave your room?

You might be leaving for school; going briefly out to get a drink; about to see family who you may or may not want to see at that moment.

Perhaps: 'God, be with me wherever I go'.
Or: 'God bless me'
Or: 'God grant me patience and peace'.
Or: 'God, protect and surround me with your love'.

Choose one of those, or write your own. Again, decorate it if you like, and hang it on the inside of your room near the door.

Leave them there for a week. For the first day or two, deliberately say the prayers - either out loud, or just quietly to yourself - every time you see them. After that, you will probably find you hear them in your head anyway, but just make sure you notice them each time you go in or out.

If you like this idea, you could always do it for other doors too. The front door, the bathroom door, the kitchen door?

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

5b: Posture - Review

Ease: 9/10
Interest / spiritual value: 9.5/10

I did the postures and thought about God being in front of me: and it was the WEIRDEST experience.

Even though I had my eyes closed I imagined this big light; and there was - hard to explain it - God standing there. And so I didn't say anything because if God was really there I think I'd be too scared to.

I tried standing first. It ached a bit as I don't like standing still for long, but it was probably the one where if God was actually in front of me, I'd be most shocked. If I was sitting down I'd feel more relaxed, small and safe, but standing felt more vulnerable - vulnerable to Gods power. If you were standing before God what would he say to you? Look at all these wrong things you've done? God always expects better, it says so in the Bible. When I was standing I felt like God was telling me off.

Kneeling didn't really feel right: I wouldn't kneel in front of God, I'd rather stand or preferably sit down. When I was kneeling it felt like an interview with God, it was  traumatising: I felt small, with no protection. I imagined a picture in my head, in heaven - kneel here in front of Gods big desk - and he starts interviewing you and telling you all the wrong things you've done in your life and the few good things you've done. And all the time I'm hoping God will let me into heaven - which he probably would, because he forgives, but it was still pretty horrible.

Sitting down was the easiest, because it was much more relaxing. I didn't have such a strong picture in my head as I felt much more relaxed, which gives you more time to pray. God was there - I imagined the bright light - but I was just getting on with praying in front of God. So I prayed about the train explosion and the floods and so on.

Lying down was really strange but definitely my favourite because of what happened. For the first minute or so I was just settling down and trying to close down my senses and stuff and imagine God, and so I was saying the Lord's Prayer. And then - a bit like that bit in the Bible where God calls Jonah - it was as if there was a bright light over my bed, and a voice saying the Lords Prayer with me. That only lasted quite briefly and I lay there for a bit longer hoping it would come back but nothing more happened. That was a lovely experience and Id really like it to happen again.


Friday, 28 June 2013

5: Posture

How much do you think about what you do with your body when you pray?

We all remember from primary school being told 'Hands together, Eyes closed'. The idea of that is to stop distractions. Hands together means you aren't fiddling, eyes closed means you aren't distracted by what you can see around you.

Scientists are continually finding more connections between our bodies and our minds. We are not just a mind in a body, like a computer in a case. Our bodies are part of us, and what we do with our bodies can shape our thinking.

At its simplest, try this: smile. You actually feel happier when you make the muscle movements that are a smile, even if you are just acting. Maybe thats why funny cat videos are so popular?

How many different physical ways of praying can you think of?

Originally, in Roman times, people seem to have stood to pray, with their arms outstretched. If you go to an Anglican or Catholic church, the position of the priest during the communion prayer is a descendent of this.

Kneeling became fashionable in the middle ages. It was a position that people were used to because you knelt before a lord, or the King. Kneeling was used because as people began to have a more personal idea of God, they related to God as they would to their social superior. A similar theme can be seen in other cultures, such as Islamic prostration on prayer mats, which again imitates the kind of posture used in the presence of a king or superior in Eastern medieval culture.

In some times and places, people lie on the floor to pray. This is called prostration, and it is usually kept for particularly serious times of prayer. In some churches now, this is used on Good Friday, or at ordinations of new clergy. In the past, monks or nuns might pray all night lying on the floor before taking vows to join the monastery, and a knight might do the same before a battle, perhaps.

Nowadays, the most common posture for prayer is sitting down. Differences are mostly about what you do with your hands: clasped together? Flat together? Open on your knees, as if you are waiting to receive something from God? In the air, as if you are carried away at a rock concert or celebrating a goal?

Today, try several different postures for prayer, and see how they make you feel about the relationship between you and God.

Go to your room, or somewhere you know you won't be disturbed, so you don't feel embarrassed at being found in different positions! Then try standing, with your arms out (like a priest at the altar). Imagine you are standing before God. How does it feel to be in front of God like this?

Next, kneel down (either on one or two knees). This is rather like kneeling before the monarch to be knighted; or pleading with a lord for some favour, or mercy. Imagine you are kneeling in front of God: how does it feel?

Next, lie down, flat on your front. Legs together, arms outstetched - a bit like a lying down crucifix. Are you lying in front of God? How does that feel? Or are you imagining what it was like to be Christ on the cross?

Now sit on a chair. Imagine Jesus sitting next to you. How does it feel to be talking to God in this position? If you like, try out some different hands positions too.

If your body comes up with other positions to try, then try those out too. Think about how each position makes you feel, and makes you feel in relation to God if you imagine God there in the room with you.

Friday, 21 June 2013

4b: review of Lego Bible Study

Well, that was interesting! Noah and his younger brother (Toby, 8), did this one together, as Toby thought it sounded cool and didn't want to be left out.

Toby says: 'it was easy as pie. It made me think the story was very realistic'.

Noah, however, was not very impressed (something you may not be surprised by at this stage!):

'It didn't make me think very much, I just had an idea in mind of what I was going to build so I just built it. It was fun but I didnt think about it much. Probably because it was a story I already knew backwards.'

They scored it: Noah gave it 8/10 for ease, 2/10 for 'spiritual value/ made me think', whilst Toby gave it 10/10 for ease and 9/10 for value.

It was interesting discussing their models with them though. In fact, I think they were thinking about the story more than they realised. They paid close attention to the facial expressions of the models. Noah focused entirely on the scene of ambush and attack, and Toby on the acts of the kind stranger who helped the victim (and was very concerned to get the detail of paying money to the innkeeper in). Interestingly, neither made any reference to the passing by on the other side which we adults often make the primary focus of the story.

Both agreed, though, that my suggested story was stupid because it is so well known. They are going to try again with a different story.

In the meantime, though, here are their models:

Monday, 17 June 2013

4: Lego Bible Study

Lego Nativity
Bible Study! Anything with the word 'study' in the title sounds boring, right? But Lego....hmmm.

There is a way of reading the Bible called 'Ignatian', because it was invented by St.Ignatius. The idea is that you read a Bible story, and imagine yourself there. What does it feel like (hot?), smell like (camels?), sound like (busy? shouting?), and so on. Then you imagine yourself in the scene and ask yourself what part you are playing. And then you imagine Jesus turning to you. What does he say?

This is a bit like that, but less 'sit still and think' and more 'get out the Lego and build'. You are going to recreate, in Lego, a story from the Bible. The challenge is to think about what the characters in the story are thinking or feeling, and try to choose Lego figures with appropriate facial expressions, and pose them in ways that expresses what you think they are feeling. So in the nativity above (courtesy of Noah last Christmas), the shepherd looks terrified, because the angel is saying 'do not be afraid'.

You could choose any story you like, but if you can't think of one how about giving the story of the Good Samaritan a go? You probably know it already, but you can also read it here.

Show your model to friends and family, compare how different your version is from your friends and discuss why, and put the pictures on facebook or tweet them to me @MirandaTHolmes!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

3: Prayer Beads

Using beads, or even just knotted string, to help you pray has a long history.

The idea is usually threefold. Put very simply:

1. Each bead, or knot, reminds you to pray for something.

2. Your hands and mind are kept busy by touching the beads, so your mind can encounter God directly.

3. The physical action of taking up the beads and going through them one by one makes you take time out to pray.

The picture above is of a modern example of prayer beads, the 'Pearls of Life'. These were invented by a Swedish bishop (Martin Lonnebo) in 1995.

The exercise this week is to first make your own prayer bracelet, and then to wear it and use it.

So first, you will need a stock of beads (or buttons would do), and a piece of string, wool, or elastic.

The diagram shows the original 'Pearls of Life' layout: you can copy this, or you could make a simpler version of your own. The suggested sizes and colours given here will help you remember what the beads each represent, but you could choose whatever you like, or whatever is available easily.

1. Tie a knot in the string first, or the beads will all slip off when you put the first one on! Then choose a large gold bead (or another one that seems special to you), and start by putting this on the string. This is the God bead.

2. Find 6 plain beads - here, they are long and wooden. These are used to create space between the special beads, and are called the beads of Silence, or peace.

3. The third bead represents you! Try to find a small pearl-like bead, or another one that you feel represents you better.

4. A large white bead comes next in this pattern: this one represents Baptism, becoming and being a member of the Church.

5. After a Silence spacer, comes a big sandy-coloured, maybe rough-textured, bead. This is the Desert bead, and represents the rough and bleak parts of your life.

6. After another Silence spacer, a big blue bead: this is called the Carefree bead. It might remind you of the sky, or the sea. This one represents being happy and relaxed, and trusting God.

7. Another Silence spacer, and then two big red beads. These represent God's love for us; and God's (Jesus's) death for us.

8. Then come three (or more) small Mystery beads. They might be pearls, or silver, or whatever you like. These are for your most important things or people to pray for and about. You could choose one for each thing or person, or each one can hold a whole group of concerns. For example one could stand for your family, one for friends, one for issues that you are worrying about.

9.The big black bead is the Night bead, for death and darkness.

10. Another Silence spacer, and then a final big white bead for Resurrection.

So, make your bracelet following this pattern, and then either wear it as a constant reminder of prayer, or just pick it up and use it.

There aren't particular set prayers to use, but if you want more reflection on the different beads you could try clicking on the different beads on the Pearls of Life website.

Just touch the first bead with your fingers: hold it between finger and thumb. Think about what it means to you, today, for a bit. Then move on to the next one. Remember what it represents: think about it for a few seconds, or a few minutes. And so on, all round the bracelet.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

2b: The Lord's Prayer - Review

This is just words, words, words.

I tried saying the prayer every morning and evening for three days. I know it off by heart because we say it at every church service - and I go to church every week because my mum is a vicar! I didn't say it in any particular way, I just said it in my head.

I didn't understand the piles of boring writing, so I just said the prayer and then got on with getting up or going to sleep. I didn't find I thought about it much, I just said it.

I didn't really understand what any of it meant: the explanations were just a bunch of words. Last week the instructions on what to do were clear, but this didn't really tell me what to do.

Ease: depends what you mean. Saying the words was easy, but the exercise as whole was badly explained: 4/10.
Value/interest: 1/10.

We apologise for the delay but we were on holiday!

Miranda's comments:
A definite fail, here! I thought we'd better not do something all-singing all-dancing interactive every week, and include some more traditional prayer, but I think that was a mistake. Also, I shall make sure that I give much clearer instructions next time, and write less.

I wonder if this would work better in a group context, with the whole group rewriting the prayer phrase by phrase? If anyone tries this, do please let me know how it goes.

Friday, 24 May 2013

2: The Lord's Prayer

When people asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he taught them the short form of prayer that we now call 'The Lord's Prayer'.

There are slightly different versions of it in different accounts, but all are similar.

Our Father in heaven (It was very new for people to call God 'Father'. And although it sounds very formal to us, it was more like saying 'Daddy'. People were not used to talking to God as a person that they could have a close relationship with).

Hallowed be your name (May everyone call you holy)

Your kingdom come (Jesus's main message when he was talking to people was about God's kingdom coming. He used lots of stories to describe what the kingdom might be like. But he didn't seem to mean a normal kind of kingdom. When he was killed, the sign on his cross said 'The King of the Jews', but Jesus had said to Pilate 'my kingdom is not of this world'. What do you hope would be different about life in God's kingdom?)

Your will be done (This part of the prayer says 'I want all the things I am asking for, but I accept it is up to you whether I get them. I believe you know what is best for me and everyone and I trust you')

On earth as in heaven. (This was another quite radical thing to say. It means that we think and believe that this world could be like heaven. We don't just get through life and look forward to a better life afterwards: we want to work with God to make this world a better place.)

Give us today our daily bread (Asking for what we need, but not for everything we would like. It is OK to ask God for things, but the thing to notice here is that we are only asking for enough for today. So we are trusting God one day at a time, and trying not to worry too much about the future. This can be really difficult, and that's OK. But saying these words reminds us gently to try to worry about just one day at a time.)

And forgive us our sins (We might not feel we have 'sins', as it sounds quite heavy and serious. But Jesus included these words for everyone. Saying them, we are admitting that we are not perfect, and trusting that won't stop God loving us and hearing our prayers.)

As we forgive those who sin against us (This can be the most difficult bit! If we can trust God to love us whatever we do, can we bring ourselves to forgive people who have been horrible to us? And what does 'forgive' mean, anyway? Forgiving doesn't mean forgetting. For example, you can forgive your brother for breaking your Stuffwithout having to let him carry on playing with it. I think 'forgiving' means something like 'letting go'. If you are angry with someone, it can feel like letting them off if you choose to stop being angry. But Christians believe - and scientists agree - that choosing not to hold on to anger makes you a happier and healthier person.)

And lead us not into temptation (These last two lines are both asking for bad things not to happen. 'Temptation' is when we feel we want to do something that we know is wrong. This line asks that we won't be in situations where we will have to decide. When are you tempted to do wrong things?)

But deliver us from evil. (This line is a catch-all prayer asking for protection from bad or scary things. From illness, people dying, people wanting to hurt us. And maybe also, asking for help for us not to be evil to other people?)

What is not known is how Jesus meant these words to be used. Did he mean 'say exactly these words'? Or did he mean 'include these areas when you pray'. We don't know, but many Christians do both. Saying the Lord's prayer is a good way to start or end prayers, and if you go to church it will usually be said in every service.

It is a good prayer to use if you can't think of anything to say, or don't know what to pray for. If you use these words, you know you are doing what Jesus taught his first followers to do.

So this week, I'd like to suggest you try using this prayer.

Either just say it, thinking about each line and what it means for you ( don't worry if some lines mean more than others). If you can, try doing this morning and evening for a day or two.

Alternatively, write it out and try to write each line in your own words. Look at the breakdown of it above, and try to say something about what each section means for you today.

And let me know how you get on!

Friday, 17 May 2013

1b: Review of Labyrinth

So, Noah tried the labyrinth suggestion and wrote this review of the experience:

I started by doing the labyrinth with my finger, and thinking about the words Miranda had set. To begin with, I was just saying the words to myself, and I didn't really know what to do, quite frankly. So then I started thinking about the words- and saying 'if you are the way or the light or whatever, show me' and I suppose I was thinking about what it meant for God to be the way etc., and asking him to help me understand that.

On the way out, when I was meant to be thinking about Jesus saying 'follow me', I was asking Jesus if he could help me follow him, because I still don't know really why I'm on the path because I'm not quite sure if I believe in him yet. So I was asking 'could you help me and other people to realise that you and your father do exist, and that the world would be a better place if everyone believed.'

After I'd done that, I tried doing the labyrinth with the marble. The marble was much more fun, and I had to really concentrate on communicating with my body.

 [Miranda's note: I had expected Noah to push the marble around the track with his hands, but in fact, he instinctively picked up the whole labyrinth in both hands, and concentrated on tilting it in three dimensions - like a Wii game - to guide the marble around by gravity. Which did look a lot more fun, and more absorbing!]

I actually did it twice with the marble, because the first time I just concentrated on getting the marble round the track, and realised at the end I didn't get it as a prayer at all. So I did it again, and the second time I was more just letting it go round and not trying so hard to follow the path exactly letting the marble jump corners and walls. I didn't think much on the way in, but on the way out that time I found myself thinking about how it compares to life.

I mean, when you were rolling the marble around and trying to get it right, it kept jumping corners and going over the lines, but you eventually got there in the end. And I thought of this as sort of being like the journey of life: you try to get somewhere and when it feels that you're really really close you get turned away by little things, and then they turn into bigger things, and then you sort them out and they start seeming to be coming back into the perfect life and you are coming back into the centre again. And then more little things go wrong, more arguments with friends and family or whatever happen again, and get you further and further away, so you sometimes feel like there's no point in life and you might as well just die. But then things start to get better again and you realise that life is good and you start to feel it gets better. And you start to think maybe going to church might help you in life.
 And I thought, when I first remember going to church - when I was six or seven or whatever - it seemed really boring and pointless, but the more I learned about God I realised the more important it was and that it might help eventually to find my connection with God.

Summing up the whole experience I would definitely recommend using the marble (or the finger really) just don't bother using the set words.

Marks out of 10 (where 1 is bad and 10 is good)

Ease of use: 10/10 Very easy.

Interest: Marble: 8/10 made me think
Finger: 7/10 made me pray but more limiting because of the set words

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

1: Labyrinth

Welcome to The Teenage Prayer Experiment!

This is a collaboration between my son and me, to try out different ways of praying and see which work best for a young teenager. (He's actually 12, but there isn't a name for that). We will be blogging alternately: I will come up with a prayer idea, then he'll review it.

You can find out more by reading 'The Project'.

For our first week, I thought we'd start with a labyrinth. Why? Because it is hands-on, interactive - and I happen to have one lying around.

I have an oak finger labyrinth, bought from Pilgrim Paths, and I'm going to suggest that Noah tries tracing the path first with a marble, and then with just his finger.

A labyrinth differs from a maze, because it only has one path. The path winds round and back on itself, so you can seem suddenly very near the center, then very far away. But you know you can't get lost, and all you have to do to get to the center is simply keep following the path.

Labyrinths have been used since ancient times as symbols of the spiritual life, and since at least medieval times as symbols of the Christian path. They were perhaps used as an alternative to costly and impractical pilgrimages for people who couldn't easily travel. The center might represent going to Jerusalem, or meeting God face to face, or reaching the end of life.

There are various ways to use a labyrinth, but the pure method is simply to slowly follow the path to the center, rest there a while, and then slowly follow it back out. It is a method of praying using your whole body. You don't just sit there and think, your body actually makes a journey. In my experience of walking full size labyrinths, I have found that my mind follows that physical journey, and is able to make some connections that I'm not sure I'd have made if I were just sitting still.

An alternative is to think about a particular question, or a scriptural quotation, on the way in, and perhaps another on the way out.

Full size labyrinths are big, and expensive and time consuming to build: though maybe if this goes well that could be a project for the youth group? Finger labyrinths like this one are more practical, and also take less time to 'walk', important for a beginner.

Since we are just beginning, my hunch is that having some words to focus on might make contemplation easier. So I'm going to suggest that on the way in, Noah thinks about the words 'I am the way, the truth and the life'; and on the way out 'Follow me'.

Watch this space to see how it went from him....