19 Tilford Road, Farnham, Surrey, GU9 8DJ

Life in the Spirit Prayer Group

Who are we?

The Group was started at St Joan's Catholic Church around 1980 by former Parish Priest Fr Michael Albon and has met continuously ever since. In 2020 we celebrated our 40th Anniversary - follow this link for a summary of our first 35 years. We have no formal "membership" but are open to anyone (Catholic or otherwise) who needs prayer support or who wishes to develop their prayer life and spirituality. No previous prayer group experience is necessary.


Alastair Emblem by email alastairemblem@yahoo.co.uk

What happens at the prayer meetings?

There is no set format, but the meeting will usually start with a time of praise and worship - including contemporary praise songs. There may be readings of short extracts of Scripture, followed by a time of silent meditation. We usually pray for Spiritual Renewal and a fresh infilling of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (more details below); and we always set aside time to pray for the needs of those present, their families and friends, the Parish, other issues of concern, as well as praying for healing.

How do we meet?

MEETINGS are usually on Wednesday evenings at 8.00pm in the large meeting room in the Parish Centre and everyone is welcome. The meeting lasts an hour and is followed by a time of fellowship over coffee and biscuits.

Next meeting is Wednesday 21st February. Meetings continue every Wednesday until further notice.

Why "Life in the Spirit"?

We are named after the Life in the Spirit Seminars, the foundation course in learning about the Holy Spirit and how to experience the power of God working in our lives. Pope Francis is keen to encourage Catholics to develop a deeper appreciation of the work of the Holy Spirit. "Listen to the Holy Spirit because he is giving people the good news that God loves them and can renew, purify and transform their lives." - Pope Francis, 8th May 2013.

And the Pope would like all parishes to promote renewal in the Holy Spirit: "I ask each and all of you ... organise seminars of Life in the Spirit in your parishes ...to share Baptism in the Spirit" - Pope Francis, Worldwide retreat for clergy 2016

What is spiritual renewal and Baptism in the Spirit?

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is an action of God, invited by an individual through prayer, which brings about a deeper conversion to Christ, and which gives the Holy Spirit permission to work in that individual's life in a more powerful way. It's not a sacrament, but it re-ignites the graces already given to Christians through the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. And it's also a new, fresh experience of the Holy Spirit and His charisms (or gifts of power) which inspire and equip the individual for service, for mission, for discipleship and for life. More information HERE.

Other group activities

Over the years, the group has arranged several "Life in the Spirit" Seminars for spiritual renewal as well as Alpha courses,"CaFE" (Catholic Faith Exploration) courses, Parish Missions and other training courses and Prayer Services for the Parish.

The Prayer Group has been led since 1991 by St Joan's parishioner Alastair Emblem, who is also leader of ADoRE (Alton Day of Renewal), a monthly meeting of spiritual renewal, now held mostly on Zoom and open to anyone. The 3-hour meetings include Mass, Adoration, Prophetic sharing, Praise & Worship, Testimony, and an inspiring talk by a leading Catholic evangelist. 2024 theme is "CHOSEN TO BE HOLY - Transformation by the Holy Spirit." More information HERE

Life in the Spirit Prayer Group

Pope Francis says: This is a prayer we need to pray every day, every day

Holy Spirit may my heart be open to the Word of God,

may my heart be open to good, may my heart be open

to the beauty of God, every day.