twelve: darkness and light
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  As a simple, elemental act of worship, or as a way of praying during a time of darkness, this exercise is powerful and thought-provoking. It also demands patience and attention, because you will need to memorise a few verses from the Bible. These are the words you will need to commit to memory (they are from the beginning of John's Gospel):

In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
Through him all things were made
and without him nothing was made
that has been made.
In him was life
and the life was light for everyone.
The light shines in the darkness
and the darkness has not overcome it.

1. Take a candle or nightlight and go to the darkest room of your house. With the light on, set up the candle in a safe place and work out where you are going to sit, kneel or stand to pray near it.

2. Turn out the light. Wait for two or three minutes, while your eyes adjust to the darkness. After that time, if the room is completely dark, you won't even be able to see your hand passing in front of your face. Feel the darkness. Listen to your own thoughts and to God.

3. In the darkness, say out loud the words you have memorised from John's Gospel. As you say the words, "the light shines in the darkness..." light the candle. Think of the coming of Jesus into the world, into your life, into your darkness. Use this moment as the beginning of prayer, or as prayer itself.

[submitted by Simon Jenkins, London]

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