Posts Tagged Marylebone

PrayerWalk London: The London Central Mosque

9 April 2011

The last excerpt of PrayerWalk London took us from Park Crescent, south of the Regent’s Park, through Harley Street to St. Marylebone Parish Church. This part of the route takes us clockwise around the park to London’s Central Mosque.

London Central Mosque

Visitor information. The Islamic Cultural Centre & The London Central Mosque. 146 Park Road, London, NW8 7RG. Tel. 0207 725 2213; 0207 725 2152. Email: Website: Guided tours by appointment only.

London Mosque from Regent's Park

The idea of building a mosque in London was originally put forth by Lord Headley, an English convert to Islam. After several decades of advocacy, a prime building site on the edge of Regent’s Park was presented to the Muslim community by the British Government as an “unconditional gift.” Construction of the mosque began in 1974 and was completed in 1977.  

The main hall can hold 5,000 men, with women praying separately on a balcony overlooking the hall. The mosque includes six important features: 

  1. The mirhab, a special room where the imam (spiritual leader) stands to lead the congregation in prayer. It also helps indicate the direction of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
  2. The minbar, or pulpit, where the imam stands to deliver sermons on Fridays, the Muslim holy day. Every Muslim man is required to attend jumu’ah (congregational) prayer on Fridays.
  3. The minaret, perhaps the most visible part of the mosque as it reaches to the sky and can be seen from miles around. A muezzin stands in the minaret to deliver the call to prayer.
  4.  The dome, a common architectural feature of mosques. The London dome is crowned with a crescent. The dome serves the practical purpose of helping with the acoustics and air circulation within the main prayer hall.
  5. The facilities for wudu, or ritual washing, which are crucial in a mosque as they provide a place to wash and purify parts of the body before prayer. The washing areas are separate for men and women. 
  6. The library, an integral part of a mosque, because the Prophet Muhammad taught his followers that seeking knowledge was obligatory to their faith. 

Point to Ponder: Pray continually 

Muslims pray five obligatory prayers per day, and are encouraged to do so in congregation with other Muslims. This encourages a discipline and builds a sense of fraternity and community among those who pray, and an opportunity for them to exchange thoughts and help each other with problems. Can you imagine the wonderful things that could happen if Christians prayed fervently five times a day, every day? Consider putting this theory into practice and setting an alarm on your phone or other device to go off at five preset times during the day as a reminder to drop everything and focus on what’s most important: God and prayer.

If Time Permits: Prayer Hall

A visit to the mosque, while perhaps controversial for some Christians, can be an excellent way of gaining insight into the Islamic faith and of praying for Muslims “on location.” Check in at the security gate at the Park Road entrance. Out of cultural respect, women should consider covering their heads with a scarf before entering. If positions were reversed and a Muslim were visiting a Christian church, wouldn’t we be grateful for his consideration in not removing his shoes?

Prayer Points

  • Pray against any religion and any creed that hinders or prevents knowledge, sets itself against the knowledge of Christ and that does not acknowledge Christ for who He is – The one and only Savior of the world, the Way, the Truth, the Life.
  • Pray that God might continue revealing His Son to Muslims through dreams and visions of Jesus Christ, as is happening throughout the Middle East.
  • Pray that Christians might lead lives so blameless through the help of God that their Muslim neighbors have nothing to hold against them.
  • Pray that true friendships might be forged between Muslims and Christians and that without ignoring our fundamental differences we might realize and respect what we have in common: sincerity in our search for God and for the Truth, zeal in our worship and proselytizing, and a deep faith and conviction that God is real and governs the lives of men.
  • Pray that God might move on the heart of Christians and grow both their desire to pray and their discipline to make prayer a priority.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

PrayerWalk London: A Peek at the Manuscript

27 March 2011

(This excerpt covers the walk from Regent’s Park underground station to St. Marylebone Parish Church; next excerpts will cover London Mosque to Queen Mary’s Gardens to complete the walk. Click here for Walk 5 key facts, highlights, and summary of area.)


Step out of Regent’s Park underground station and follow signs to Marylebone Road and Harley Street. Once at street level, take time to admire John Nash’s elegant semicircular terraced houses.

1. Park Crescent

These dramatically curving flats with stucco facades were designed by famous architect John Nash and completed in 1821. There are situated on the north end of Great Portland Street, just across busy Marylebone Road from Park Square and its gardens. Supposedly there is a “Nursemaid’s Tunnel” linking Park Crescent with Park Square Gardens. Park Crescent is now home of the International Students House.

Did You Know? A crescent is an architectural structure where a number of houses are laid out in an arc or semicircular shape. One of the most beautiful examples is Royal Crescent in Bath, England.

Continue walking west along Marylebone Road. You’ll soon come to Harley Street, renowned for its association with eminent medical specialists since the 19th century.

Prayer Points — Harley Street

Isaiah 53:5, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

  • Pray for the more than 3,000 people employed in the Harley Street area in clinics, medical and paramedical practices, medical schools, and hospitals such as the London Clinic.
  • Pray that doctors and nurses will not rely on medicine and science alone but will trust in the Great Physician.
  • Praise God for the progress of medical science and of modern medicine that has contributed to a better quality of living and longer life expectancy than at any time in the past.
  • Pray for miracles of healing that defy explanation and can only be attributed to divine intervention.

Did You Know? Lionel Logue, who cured King George VI of a pronounced stuttering problem, practiced in Harley Street. He is portrayed by Geoffrey Rush in the Academy Award- winning movie The King’s Speech.

If Time Permits: Madame Tussaud’s

Church where the Brownings married

Visitor Information. Baker Street. Open Mon-Fri 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sat-Sun 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Closed Dec. 25. Cost £25-£40. Advanced booking recommended. Tel. 0870 400 3000.

You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see the massive crowds lining the streets, waiting to get in. This most popular London attraction houses over 400 waxwork models of famous people — from religious figures to royal family members to movie stars — arranged in exhibits titled Blush, Premiere Night, World Stage, Chamber Live, Spider-Man, Spirit of London, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Allow a couple of hours in order to get your money’s worth. Skip unless you have teenage children who feel their lives will be incomplete if they don’t visit.

Continue walking west down Marylebone Road until you see St. Marylebone Parish Church, where Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett were married in 1846. Until her elopement, Elizabeth had lived just a few streets away in her family home at 50 Wimpole Street. Cross Marylebone Road toward York Gate street. Take a left when you reach the Outer Circle of the Regent’s Park, and continue walking.

Why Include “Recreation” in a Prayerwalking Guide?

12 March 2011

“Parks & Recreation” is one of my favorites walks in the book because it takes the reader behind the scenes to discover Londoners at play. The most militant prayerwalkers may be inclined to skip this chapter as a waste of time. I would strongly discourage this course of action, and here is my rationale.

Seven walks, seven topics

PrayerWalk London touches on seven areas of London life, from “Church & State” which includes Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, to “Resident & Alien,” addressing the changing face of London with the influx of immigrants in recent years.

Sunday in Regent's Park

Recreation is an integral part of London life and it would be foolish and neglectful to leave out this all-important area as a subject for prayer. Rest and recreation are not mere frivolous pursuits: they are part of a biblical injunction, provided in the example of God, the Creator, when having finished his masterpiece he “rested from all his work” (Genesis 2:3).

The “real” Londoners

Off the beaten path is where you’ll see the “real” Londoners. If you just see Londoners at work, you see one side: professional, unemotional, proper; if you see them at play with their children, spouses, and friends you see a carefree, tender, vulnerable, playfully competitive, familial side that otherwise you would miss.

The fact that Greater London has 8 major parks covering 4,900 acres of land is an indication of the importance of parks (and the leisure they represent) in the lives of Londoners.

Opportunities “off the beaten path”

BBC's "best street in London"

One of the most fascinating conversations I had in London took place at an outdoor café on Marylebone High Street (voted BBC’s best street in London) with a socialist lady from Bristol as we discussed the British vs. American university system and their respective approaches to online education. And I was ridiculously pleased with my ability to fit in when in that same neighborhood a British woman asked me for directions to the nearest tube station — even though I didn’t feel quite as proud when I discovered later that I’d given her the wrong directions!

In other areas covered by this book, you will encounter shopkeepers, museum docents, Blue Badge guides, and business professionals who will view you as clients and tourists and interact with you accordingly. Here in the northern fringe of the city, you can actually mingle and potentially blend in with the locals and look into the eyes of the people you have been praying for.

PrayerWalk London: “Parks & Recreation” Highlights

5 March 2011

Walk 5

Parks & Recreation: Regent’s Park and Marylebone

Summary of Area

Have you ever wondered what Londoners do in their free time (besides going to pubs)? Uncover the secrets of “London at rest,” as you wind your way along a scenic canal dotted with picturesque houseboats, enjoy spectacular views from one of the highest hills in London, amble through the king’s former hunting grounds, discover a garden with over 400 varieties of roses, and wind down in a street voted “Best Street in London” by listeners of the BBC.

Key Facts

Boating Lake, Regent's Park

  • Starting Point: Park Crescent  (Station: Regent’s Park)
  • Finishing Point: Marylebone High Street (Station: Baker Street)
  • Days to Avoid: Rainy days — but seeing as this is London, grab an umbrella and head out anyway
  • Best Day: Sunday
  • Length of Walk: 2 miles
  • Time Needed: 60-90 minutes

Walk Highlights*

1. Park Crescent. Dramatically curving set of “flats” designed by architect John Nash in 1821.

2. Regent’s Canal. Picturesque, houseboat-dotted canal built in 1820 that stretches eight miles from Little Venice to the Docklands.

3. Primrose Hill. 256 ft-high hill with unbroken skyline views of central London. Surrounding area often associated with the superstars who live there.

4. Regent’s Park. Designed by John Nash in 1812 as a royal park. Bounded by Regent’s Canal to the north and surrounded by terraces and villas.

5. Queen Mary’s Gardens. Described as England’s largest and best rose garden and located in an area of Regent’s Park formerly used as a botanical garden.

6. Marylebone High Street. Quiet shopping street lined with restaurants, boutiques and cafés.

*As mentioned in my previous blog, this manuscript is a work in progress. Each highlight above currently links to Internet sites providing general information. Eventually they will link to sections of PrayerWalk London.