We read a lot about prayer in today’s readings. In Acts 16:16-34 Paul and Silas are on their way to pray when Paul stops to expel the spirit from a slave girl who was making a great deal of money from her fortune telling ‘gifts’. Not surprisingly, the slave girl’s owners were incensed as they saw their earnings disappearing! They seized Paul and Silas and brought them before the authorities. They were thrown into solitary confinement and their feet put in stocks. We read that they were “praying and singing hymns to God”. They were obviously quite certain that God was a) going to hear their prayers and b) going to act in response.The focus of the Gospel reading is also prayer, this time Jesus’ prayer to God. John’s placing of this in his narrative seems all the more poignant when we realise that Jesus is praying immediately prior to his arrest, trial and death.For us, as a community of faith, the context and tenor of Jesus’ prayer is, I believe, an amazing statement of assurance, hope and truth.