Rob Drost is a Probationer Presbyter in the Aire and Calder Circuit, Leeds District. Prior to candidating Rob was chaplain at the Children’s Hospital in Sheffield and lay minister at Millhouses Methodist Church. He is a JNC Nationally Qualified Youth and Community Worker and managed a number of Barnardo’s projects working with excluded young people. He is married to Rachel and they have four children between them.
Listen to Rob’s prayer here and it is also written out below.
For five years, before and during candidating for Presbyteral Ministry, I was Chaplain at the Children’s Hospital in Sheffield – I loved the ministry, the people and being part of a multi-faith chaplaincy team. I had access to all the wards with just one swipe of my card. One of the ever-present dynamics was not knowing fully what was going to be beyond those electronic doors…
Some of the patients and families became well known to me because of the nature of their long-term medical needs. I was a guest in their space and their invitation to visit regularly gave me the opportunity to build a relationship and demonstrate God’s love in action; sometimes playing and gluing, sometimes being a listening ear and sometimes praying with families. A lot of the children and young people were only in for a day or two, meaning that one interaction was all I had to share something of God’s love.
At each locked door, I prayed. I prayed that I would find the right words, have the right thoughts, give the right reaction to staff, patients and family.
Now I am a probationer minister, there are fewer doors, but just as much need to pray. Whether I’m visiting someone recently bereaved or doing a baptism visit; taking an assembly for 200 young people or speaking to an individual at the Foodbank everything I do needs to be covered in prayer.
In …. Paul encourages us to pray without ceasing, we are invited to consider the whole of life as a prayer. This approach suits my activist personality very well. Talking to God in a very ordinary way, as I go about my work, is natural for me. I don’t use special words, but treat it more as a conversation with a friend or parent-figure as Jesus encouraged us to do.
I am a minister in three communities, all of whom would say that the church building is important to them as a place of prayer and worship. We are often moved to action by a prayer request brought to us from a member of the congregation who has identified an injustice. Our prayers inform our worship which in turn inform our action in the world. We become God’s hands and feet and voice in the local as well as global community.
Rev Nick Holtam, a former colleague writes, “’Churches are an essential part of our cultural and religious heritage. They are places of memory and carry the history of a community. They are places where people gather to do what Jesus asks us, his disciples, to do in his name: taking bread and wine, trying to love one another and seeking forgiveness and grace when things go wrong.” Being part of this continuing story is a great privilege and one which I exercise with reverence.
On an outside wall of one of the churches I work with, is a commu
nity prayer box – simply write something and post it. This box has held requests for people to find jobs, for people who are sick, for someone who has suffered a bereavement, and even a request to help find a missing cat! It seems people outside our church community have a deep faith in our ability to pray even if we at times struggle or feel inadequate.