Prayer Bench First Anniversary

by | Jan 14, 2016 | Reflections

The Prayer Bench ministry is one year old.
I’ve decided to interview myself about this Prayer Bench quest
that offers spiritual pause and refreshment
to a diverse and invisible internet community,
and provides spirituality-focussed resources.

What makes you laugh when you look back over the year?

That I’m normal. There isn’t a lot of information about starting new ministries. There is a lot written about starting new businesses

Janice MacLean

Janice MacLean

and everything I read said it takes more time than you expect and demands far more than you can do. And almost every blog says you think you will be the exception.

What I’m doing on the Prayer Bench is my dream. It’s the place where my best self, my true self, intersects with what I can offer the world. I imagined myself a continuously happy home monk with all the time I needed to think up creative things and write magnificent words …

Well, starting a new ministry takes more time than I expected and demands far more than I can do. So, I’m normal. And sometimes cranky. And sometimes scared. And sometimes doubtful. And almost always grateful that I can get up and do what I do each day.

Speaking of getting up, what is your first thought when you wake up in the morning?

Now that I work mostly from a home study, the first two hours of the morning are my blank slate. I get up. It’s early. It’s dark and it’s my most creative time. I have lists, lots of lists, and sometimes I launch into tasks but I really try to let these first two hours hold the best shape for my ‘rule of life.’ I walk or ride a stationary bike, practice centering prayer, read, roam the internet for things of interest that spark my soul. I write posts for the Prayer Bench Website or find something that touches me to share on Facebook.

What stretched you most on the journey so far?

Sometimes it’s hard to hold firmly that this is a new ministry and a business. It’s not just all that goes with being self-employed; it’s finding a language for promotion (sharing the story of Prayer Bench) that feels authentic and has integrity. It’s managing creativity and administration and tending relationship and nurturing my deep self.

What sustains you? What are your starbursts?

That this is a ministry. I’m glad I had savings to give eight months to work full-time on establishing Prayer Bench. At the end of that time, the Prayer Bench was doing ok financially and I could seek out other half-time work. I’m serving now in a half-time ministry appointment with Trinity United Church in Riverview. It’s a lot to juggle but I know I’m fortunate to have two vocational loves.

What encourages me are the e-mails I get, or the comments in posts, or the conversations that affirm the vision of the Prayer Bench as a sacred space for people, and how it feeds something in their soul. Or hearing from group leaders how a small group study provides spiritual language that helps a group share deeply their faith stories. And how so many people willingly share leadership or offer donations to support the Prayer Bench ministry. These are the starbursts that encourage me.

With deep gratitude to so many of you for such astounding support during this first year of the Prayer Bench ministry.
Janice, Host of the Prayer Bench

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  1. I love your process of a self-interview. Like a new kind of ‘selfie’. And I appreciate you sharing your reflections – wise and full of courage you are. Very real and normal indeed!

  2. Hi Janice – it can be hard to build the trust it takes to develop this kind of innovative ministry. Thank you for taking the risk in reaching out with a ministry to all of us out here, especially, speaking for myself, for those of us engaged in deeply beloved and possibly all-consuming ministries ourselves. Thank you thank you thank you.

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