Coronation and Prayer

It was lovely to see two of the bishops I have worked for taking part in King Charles’ coronation. Durham accompanied the King and Hereford accompanied the Queen. Despite the weather it was an amazing day and I felt it was uplifting to see how much spiritual content and beautiful music they managed to incorporate into the service. I pray people’s lives were touched both in Westminster Abbey and those watching from afar through the Archbishop’s sermon, prayers, liturgy and music.

The themes of ‘God’s love’ and ‘servanthood’, that were very much communicated throughout the coronation service are also observed today in the Common Worship calendar. We remember the life of Julian of Norwich, and many years ago I was given a book about her when I was ordained.

Julian was born in 1342 but at the age of 30 she fell seriously ill, and on the day she thought she was at death’s door, her pain suddenly vanished, and she received several visions within a few hours. Julian wrote these down as Revelations of Divine Love. She became known as an ‘anchoress’ that is a woman who has committed her life to God, to live secluded in a small cell and to commit her life to prayer and contemplation.

Julian wrote about the love of God, spirituality, prayer, and suffering. She focused on the the cross and the sufferings of Christ. She believed that humanity is separated from God by sin and is redeemed and reunited with God through Christ. Her writings have been highly influential across the centuries as she reflected on the great philosophical questions about life in the light of our spiritual experience. She wrote:

Thus I saw and understood that our faith is our light in the night; which light is God, our endless day. When the soul is tempest tossed, troubled, and cut off by worries, then is the time to pray, so as to make the soul willing and responsive towards God. But there is no kind of prayer that can make God more responsive to the soul, for God is always constant in love. And so I saw that, whenever we feel the need to pray, our good Lord follows us, helping our desire.

(Extract from Saints on Earth: A biographical companion to Common Worship by Darch and Burns).


These are some prayers written by Julian of Norwich in the fourteenth century while she witnessed the tragic effects of the bubonic plague all around her in England:

He said, Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be distressed; but He said: Thou shalt not be overcome.” And “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything. God is the ground, the substance, the teaching, the teacher, the purpose, and the reward for which every soul labours.

Pray, even if you feel nothing, see nothing. For when you are dry, empty, sick, or weak, at such a time is your prayer most pleasing to God, even though you may find little joy in it. This is true of all believing prayer.

For we are so preciously loved by God that we cannot even comprehend it. No created being can ever know how much and how sweetly and tenderly God loves them. It is only with the help of his grace that we are able to persevere in spiritual contemplation with endless wonder at his high, surpassing, immeasurable love which our Lord in his goodness has for us.



Revelations of Divine Love (Penguin Classics) by Julian of Norwich edited by Elizabeth Spearing

Prayers for Living: 500 Prayers for Public and Private Worship by Rosalind Brown

Multi-sensory Prayer: Over 60 Innovative Ready-to-use Ideas (Multi-sensory)

by Sue Wallace


I will be taking a break from blogging for a couple of weeks now to focus on some research I am conducting for my next book. But I leave you with this lectionary reading for today from the Gospel of John 14: 21-26:

They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.’ Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, ‘Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine but is from the Father who sent me. ‘I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.