“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46.10)
It is sometimes said that Quaker worship is based on Silence. Quaker worship is based on God, but silence is placed at the centre of our religious practice. We meet in silence to share our experience of the Inner Light. We can each meet with God in the stillness and through the words of those who feel moved to speak.
Our Meeting houses are simple convenient places in which to gather, worship and hold social events. Some Quaker groups meet in each others’ homes.
Meeting for Worship begins when the first person enters the meeting room. People arrive as individuals with their own joys and problems. The group begins to settle or ‘gather’. There may be silence for the duration of the meeting, or after a time, someone may feel prompted to share their experience of God by speaking, praying, singing, or reading aloud. Such contributions should not be planned or polished, but should come out of the silence and arise from that place where each of us meets God. The acceptance of this wide variety of spoken contribution is an important part of Quaker worship. Someone is appointed to close the Meeting at the appropriate time by the shaking of hands.
Meetings for Worship are usually held on Sundays between set times because it is convenient to do so, not because any day is more ‘special’ than any other. A Quaker Meeting for Worship can take place anywhere and at any time Friends feel they need to be still.
Anyone is welcome to come to Meeting for Worship. Children may stay for the whole Meeting, or if they prefer, go into a separate children’s meeting to take part in activities or worship arranged for them.
Our communion is inward and silent, yet it is also a group experience, as a ‘gathered’ Meeting attests. Because each individual has a direct relationship or communion with God, there are no ordained priests, no set liturgy, or outward sacraments such as bread, wine, or baptism with water.
Return to FAQ
Praying for Others
We may ask for and offer vocal prayer as guided by the Spirit, but also, as we seldom know what the needs of another person truly are, we often ‘hold them up in the Light’, imaginatively releasing that person or situation to the work of the Spirit. This makes us more open to co-operating with the guidance and work of the Spirit in the situation and we may get a clearer sense of what kind of action to take, or whether to take action or not.
Return to FAQ