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Joe Giddens/PA Wire
World News

Archbishop Welby holds first live Q&A

by Hannah Tooley

The leader of the Church of England responded to questions asked on Twitter using the hashtag #askJustinWelby.

One Tweet read: "What has been most helpful in developing & deepening your habit of prayer?"

The Archbishop of Canterbury responded: "I think having someone wiser, older and more experienced, who I could talk to about prayer, and listen to about prayer, who could help me deepen my own habits - what's often called a spiritual director or soul friends.

"That's been the biggest thing in helping me to learn to pray, really marvellous for me."

One user asked the Christian leader: "How do you break through when you find it difficult to pray?"

He said: "I think for me the most important thing in breaking through when I'm struggling to pray, which is fairly frequent, is to pray with others, not just to sit there struggling by myself.

"Being a Christian is being together with God with others, we're in a relationship in the most extraordinary and beautiful way, and when we recognise that it changes everything."

Another user asked: "Is it OK to pray for yourself?" and the archbishop stressed the "honesty of prayer", saying "we pray for ourselves because we're worried about things, we're absolutely honest with God, we never hide things from God, and that means we pray for ourselves for a bit, but not dominantly."

Users also asked "Is it ever okay to be angry at God in prayer?", "How do you avoid prayer just becoming a list of requests? Or is that OK?" and "Shouldn't serious prayer be followed by serious action? Instead of asking God to bless him or help her, should we just do it?" using the hashtag #askJustinWelby.

The archbishop thanked people for their questions, admitted he had been nervous and concluded the session with a prayer.

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