A praying Christian Community at the heart of our city

Stories & feedback from the Prayer House

(All names have been changed to protect people’s privacy)

DK, UNEMPLOYED GENTLEMAN WHO LIVES ALONE

The Prayer House is a place, an island of peace to unwind. It is good to be in a place where people can find people who listen when you have a problem, pray for you in different areas of need and give advice so that you know help is there. The people in the Prayer House are willing to be there for me so that I feel people care about me.

HARRY, 53 UNEMPLOYED AND SUFFERING MENTAL ILL-HEALTH

I’ve been coming to the Coventry Prayer House for about a year and a half. I am touched by the kindness of the people there who have made me feel welcome and wanted. It is hard for me to feel accepted anywhere but I do feel accepted in the Prayer House. Coming in to talk about my issues is helping me to keep my life together and helps to fill up what would otherwise be very empty and lonely days for me. Sometimes I don’t feel like talking but I know I can sit inside in the warm and have a cup of tea in peace.

SIMON, 44, HOMELESS and ALCOHOLIC

I am thankful to the people in the Prayer House for helping me to sort my head out. I had no job and no money, mainly due to my own fault because I was drinking. I am much more sorted out now and have found a place to live which means I am now able to get help and benefits.

(This gentleman bought us a jar of coffee as soon as he was in receipt of his benefits as a way of saying thank you for all the cups of coffee we had made for him).

ALAN, 91

Thanks for the time and space to be with others in the Prayer House. It helps me to take my mind off my cancer for a while.

JOHN, 38

Coventry Prayer House has been a place of rest and healing for me over the last few years. It has brought me into contact with lots of wonderful people from all backgrounds and traditions. Through its prayer ministry and support I have been freed from problems with alcohol and pornography. The ongoing love and support of all the people involved at the house is amazing. I feel truly blessed to have made such dear friends there.

JACK

I would describe myself as a “criminal” and a “fighting gypsy.” I was cut off from my children due to my drinking and drug abuse and faced a lot of rejection from the people who meant the most to me. When the team prayed for me I felt very emotional and had such a sense of being loved and wanted.

JEAN

I had a painful infection in my big toe and had to limp to get about. After being prayed for I experienced a decrease in pain and was able to walk away without limping.

DAVID

After doing some heavy work the pain in my neck, shoulders and upper back prevented me from being able to drive safely as looking over my shoulder was not possible. I was prayed for a few times by the team and now I am able to look fully over my shoulder without any pain!

SARAH

It’s such a privilege to be connected with the Coventry Prayer House through my involvement with Healing on the Streets. It truly provides us with a central base to engage with some of the city’s population who have a wide range of needs.

ANDY 35, INTERNATIONAL YOUTH ORGANISATION

The prayer house has been a wonderful facility for me personally and for the young adults I work with. The many rooms provide a great space for our 18-30 year-olds to retreat and spend some time with God in prayer. The larger rooms have been invaluable for finding a quiet space for small group worship, prayer and discussion times.

CHARLIE, 24, YOUTH LEADER

I led a youth event called ‘REAL’ during which we brought the kids from our youth group, together with kids from the local community, to the Coventry Prayer House. I’d heard many stories about it, but being an American myself, the building was completely different from anything we have in the states. But as awesome as the outside appeared, the inside was so much more amazing.

Walking in and watching the kids really enjoy all the different rooms(and enjoying them myself!) was really encouraging. It was an opportunity for each kid to be different in their own way. Each kid could sit comfortably and pray, read old stories of different christian cultures/prayer activities, and even draw on the walls! (They are lined with lining paper) They were so excited to JUST BE THEMSELVES. It was impossible to walk away from the Prayer House and not feel something deeper than yourself, and from conversations with the kids afterwards, many were significantly impacted in a positive way. The Prayer House is impacting the surrounding community of Coventry in such a positive way.

ARCHY, YOUTH LEADER

One of the really special times for me in the Prayer House was when we had a youth prayer event, which saw a group of about 30 young people spending time praying for their friends and for the city. It was creative and bonding and really beautiful. I love all that the Prayer House has achieved so far, and all that potential that it still has to continue to bring reconciliation, create community and be a sanctuary in Coventry.

MICHAEL, 18

At the Coventry Prayer House I feel free to be more open in prayer. It is a good place to meet my friends.

JENNY, 40, ALEX, 13 and JAMES, 11

For me the prayer house has been a place of peacefulness and calmness particularly in the last couple of years. Its been amazing just to sit in one of the rooms and hear the noise outside but feel such peace within the prayer house walls….. it’s a very precious space within the city. Both my boys (13 & 11) have had some good times at the prayer house with their youth groups and with us as a family. My wider family are blown away that Coventry has a place dedicated to prayer, not just for the local community but further afield too.

JAYNE, 34, YOUNG MUM with MAX, 18 months

I love the prayer house it is so peaceful! It is great to have a place where people can go to pray for any situation they are facing. The decor has been well thought out, with activities and displays that are so creative. We don’t have any outdoor space where I live so when I come with my little son we love to plant things in the Prayer House courtyard garden and play and pray together in a space that is private and safe.

SINAM, 3 and OLIVER, 2

Having fun in the art and craft room with their families.

AMY, 6

I like art in the art room and I enjoy writing about God on the board and praying for my friends. I really like the prayer house.

POEM by EMILY, 10

The Prayer House

It is holiness, it is magical

It is a pathway for all to see

Jesus is there, the holy one,

For you and for me

It is peaceful and quiet

And a safe place to be.

MARGARET, PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHER

I have lived in Coventry for much of my life but had never been inside the Priory Row cottages until recently. My two friends were staying with me and I was taking them on the city’s historical trail. While reading the plaque outside we were delighted to be invited in and to be taken on an impromptu tour of what is now the Coventry Prayer House. I love Coventry and our shared history and the tour was well informed and inspiring. I am not religious myself but I think it is good to have a resource in the city like this. I teach R.E. and will be arranging to visit again with our primary school children as part of their R.E. curriculum. Thank you for both the welcome and inspiration.

JM

I don’t know what it is about the place but I feel drawn to it. It is so welcoming and peaceful.

DAVE and HANNAH, ON PILGRIMAGE from S.E. ENGLAND

We were very touched by the wonderful welcome and warm hospitality we received when we arrived at the Coventry Prayer House. It felt like an oasis of peace in the middle of a bustling, hectic and dynamic city. We love how they created many different kinds of space for spiritual wholeness and reflection, both for individuals and visiting groups. We were deeply impressed by their strong interdenominational, intergenerational and intercultural character, encouraging a heart and vision for compassion and love in the complex needs of the local community. The prayer house also sensitively explores the rich interwoven tapestry of spiritual and social history of the city including its monastic origins and its struggles with poverty and social injustice. We loved all the beautiful creative ways in which they explored faith and how they encourage others to creatively express their faith including joint work with local schools. The prayer house includes some powerful, original, inspired and imaginative spiritual artworks connected with the city. We felt they really understood the nature of our spiritual pilgrimage and we left feeling very encouraged, strengthened and excited.

PHILIPE, 25, POLISH VISITOR to U.K.

‘Thank you for yesterday meeting and prayer. I feel you very friendly and comfortable and very special also. I am on the way to Scotland but I promise to come and meet you after on way back.’

CAROLINE and MATT, VISITORS FROM AUSTRALIA

Our unexpected visit to the Coventry Prayer House was the best part of our trip to see Coventry’s historic sights of all the things we have seen here so far. Thanks for taking the time to welcome us in and for the informative guide to the history of the building.

BRUCE, TOURING THEATRE COMPANY DIRECTOR

Wow what a welcome and what amazing hospitality! Thanks for the wonderful service you provided for our theatre group. We have never before had use of such amazing changing room facilities! It made all the difference to our performance to be able to change, shower and rest in such close proximity to Broadgate.

LISA, 29, SOCIAL JUSTICE CHARITY

I work for a charity which campaigns to raise awareness of social injustice in Coventry and to prevent it happening. Our small group are grateful to the Coventry Prayer House for praying for our work and for providing a central city centre location for us to meet, free of charge. Very helpful and much appreciated.

DAVE, CITY WORKER

I work in the city centre and I can say that there seems to be less evidence of unwanted activity in and around the churchyard and city centre generally. It seems more peaceful some how and I do put this down to the Prayer House and all the prayer that goes on there to make the city a nicer place to live and work.

CHERYL, 38, CITY CHURCH LEADER

As a member of Healing on the Streets we have really benefitted from the welcome and use of the Coventry Prayer House. It is a great base for us to meet, pray and get prayer before we go and offer prayer for healing to people in the city centre. The prayer house volunteers always make us feel welcome and valued. I know from talking to others who use the prayer house that this welcome is consistent no matter what your background or faith, or none.

JOHANNES, CITY PASTOR,

I was joyful when I discovered the prayer house in Coventry City. To me it’s a dream come true. I found it to be a place of meditation, where I could be quiet and listen to God. The prayer house has and is continuing to uplift my spirit and I see the vision of Coventry being fulfilled through peoples’ prayers.

HEATHER, SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR

I came to the Coventry Prayer House to lead a series of ‘retreats in daily life’ where participants draw aside for spiritual rest and stillness for a short time each day. It was wonderful to have a venue like this that offered such a sense of peace and safety, in a central and convenient location for all participating. I think the Prayer House is a light in the city.

GARY, 33, COMMUNITY LEADER

Saint Aidan’s project based in Wood End, has used the Coventry Prayer House several times over the last few years for individual retreats and team planning days. We are committed to the long term social, spiritual and economic well-being amongst young families in our community. We find the prayer house a valuable resource in the heart of our city, inviting us to connect with the monastic foundations of Coventry’s social & economic history through experiencing the disciplines of communal prayer, stillness and reflection, which we believe are as relevant for sustainable 21st century living as ever before.

LYNNE, 51

I have found the prayer house to be a place of peace and tranquility, a place to meet God and be refreshed. It is a place where everyone is accepted and able to just be who they are made to be. It is also a place where people can worship creatively and intercede powerfully for Coventry, the nation and the world without the distractions of everyday life intruding. It is truly a blessed place where the heart of the city beats.

BELINDA and MATTHEW, 70’s

We went on a guided historical tour of the Prayer House building which was being offered during the Pentecost celebrations in 2013. We were amazed at all the lovely rooms set up to facilitate prayer for a particular area or in a different style and there was a tangible sense of God’s presence. We had recently come through a difficult time in our lives as my husband had struggled with depression for a number of years and our daughter had died of breast cancer. The gracious welcome we received from the hosts and the peace we found there was just what we needed and we started going there regularly becoming part of its community. Something very special takes place there and we are so grateful that we have been able to benefit from it ourselves and also be part of offering it to others.

ROBERT, 66, PRAYER HOUSE COMMUNITY HOST AND WELCOMER

I have always felt completely safe and protected at all times in the Prayer House with its caring atmosphere. I am amazed at how much I have grown to be more confident in myself and never seem to experience a ‘lack of words’ when I have been there with other people. I have even got to like being with one of the prayer house users despite my first impression of him. The things that are going on there are unique and amazing. I am glad that I am retiring in August because I will be able to be in the Prayer House most days.

MURIEL, 55

The Coventry Prayer House is a focal point for local people and those visiting the city to meet up together and pray and I have enjoyed being part of this community. God healed my back pain which was previously quite extreme and I have also witnessed many of God’s blessings in my life through being in the prayer house community.

SURINDER, 32

I have been coming to the prayer house for few months now and it has been a great blessing to me. I have always felt welcomed and comfortable to spend time there. The volunteers are amazing and very supportive and have taken great, great care in maintaining the building and preserving its original character. I know this house has been a source of comfort to many people who come to the city. I would like to see this house continue to support and assist people in need and those who truly come to seek God in prayer.

SADIE, 30

It has been amazing for me to have a place in the heart of Coventry city that acts as a sanctuary. Over the years, I have often popped in, sometimes with a friend or two or sometimes on my own – and often ended up spending several hours there, both because of the people there and the sense of God’s presence and peace. I think the Coventry Prayer House resonates with Coventry being awarded the ‘City of Sanctuary’ status that we actively set aside places of sanctuary in our city.

VAL

My first contact with the Prayer House was following an Open House tour last year whilst visiting the City Centre. Out of curiosity I decided to go on a tour and was amazed and surprised at the overwhelming presence of peace in the place. Having a place to pray can be quite challenging at home due to the amount of distractions. The Prayer House is like an Oasis in the desert and I think it’s mainly due to the monastery that was there long ago. It is truly a highly treasured asset to the history of the city of Coventry.

CLAUDIA

The Coventry Prayer house is such a gift to the city. Such a blessing!

FG

Ever since I first walked into what is now the Coventry Prayer House, the building has been for me a refuge among the bustle of everyday life around. It’s centrality makes it very accessible and yet there is a peace about the place as well as a beauty in its higgledy piggeldy ness! I personally have been encouraged and challenged when I have gone to the prayer house to pray and to contemplate. I know this has been true for many people over the years who are searching for God.

KLARISSA

Coventry prayer house has and is still a great blessing to me personally. When I need a quiet time with God, praying at home is not ideal because of all the distractions there, so the prayer house has been very helpful to me. The atmosphere there is excellent, I feel the presence of God as I enter and my overall experience there is awesome which contributes greatly to my spiritual wellbeing.

MORAG, 72

I am filled with thankfulness for the Coventry Prayer House. I have witnessed it to be a ‘sanctuary’ in the city centre which is accessible to all whoever you are. It is a place where pilgrims call. A place of stillness, peace, friendship and where love abounds. It is a place for all cultures and all ages. I love it!