Opinion: I recall ‘Pray as you can, not as you can’t’

PUBLISHED: 08:30 02 May 2020

Rev Canon Ann Easter has been spending time with Aled Jones during lockdown.

Rev Canon Ann Easter has been spending time with Aled Jones during lockdown.


What a strange and peculiar time we’re in. I know everyone’s calling it unprecedented, and no doubt it is, but I want to call it frightening and confusing and worrying and eerily quiet, and weirdly slow too.

Christopher and I had the virus in March so it was a little while before I began to feel the full force of the lockdown.

I finished some face cream and thought ‘I’ll pop into Westie and buy some more if I’ve got time this week...’ Then I remembered that I can’t.

And my relationship with my family, usually an important part of life, is suddenly reduced to phoning and Zooming – which is a blessing, but just not the same as a hug.

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My situation is comfortable compared to so many, I know; my heart goes out to those people who are lonely and those for whom this time is a terrible struggle. I think we’re all getting fed up with it but we know that, for safety’s sake, the lockdown will go on for some time yet.

And while I’m thankful that so many of us here in Newham have a faith to fall back on, I haven’t found it easy to find God in all this.

Please don’t think that a clerical collar makes it any easier. I am glad of the discipline of daily prayer with my colleagues (on Hangouts) but I sometimes wonder if God is socially distancing too.

But then I remember that someone once wrote ‘Pray as you can, not as you can’t’, and that means that we can bring to God whoever and whatever we are – the aching head and tech neck, our tiredness and jumbled thoughts – no big words or holy phrases – and I believe that God will hear and will bless us, as always.

A lockdown project for me has been the creation of some podcasts with my mate Aled Jones; search for ‘Oh My Goodness with Aled Jones’ and you’ll hear me too!

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