Abbey United Reformed Church, Romsey

Prayer for September 2019

Our grandson, Sam, has just returned from a year out teaching in Central  America.  Before coming home he visited Columbia in South America.  

He told us of going to the capital Bogata where there are 75 miles of highway reserved each Sunday from 7am to 2pm for leisure, so walkers,  joggers, skaters and particularly cyclists are free to move without the

danger of vehicular traffic.  The idea, called La Ciclovia, or Cycleways, has been taken up slowly by other countries. 

I would like to think that the instigation of Ciclovia has a religious base to it, using Sunday as a day of rest. The Autumn can be a  harvest of the good things of life but also a slowing down.    Our September prayer has this in mind: 

Dear God,

I have nothing special to do today.  I know the time may pass too quickly and that I can waste it.  Help me to use this leisure-time well.

There are jobs to be done at home, garden and church; but  we are not as young as we used to be.   There are books to read; friends to visit who could be cheered by an unexpected call; parents and  family who need  help; phone calls to make. Sunday brings its own responsibilities; our worship may help us search for peace and understanding but we need time to think straight.

O Lord.  Show us  what is important  in all our activities.  Help us to relax,  to be still and know that you are God.

In Jesus we ask for your blessing.

Amen

Geoff Prestage

 (with assistance from Richard Hall in his book 'For everything a Season')

Prayer for June 2019

As I sit in our study to write this prayer, I am struck by all the things we need to be thankful for, day by day, but many of them become commonplace and maybe we need to stop and pause to reflect and to offer up a word of thanks to our God.It is evening and I am looking out on ours and neighbours’ gardens that have bloomed beautifully as a result of the recent warm and sunny weather.  Now the spring flowers are fading and summer blooms are taking their place.It seems an appropriate time to recall a poem-prayer by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh and sweet;
For song of bird and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!
For blue of stream, for blue of sky;
For pleasant shade of branches high;
For fragrant air and cooling breeze;
For beauty of the blowing breeze –
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!
For mother-love, for father-care;
For brothers strong and sisters fair;
For love at home and school each day;
For guidance lest we go astray –
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!
For Thy dear everlasting arms,
That bear us o’er all ills and harms;
For blessed words of long ago,
That help us now Thy will to know –
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

And remember those children especially whose experience is very different to this sketch by Emerson.  Amen

Derek Hiscocks

Prayer for May 2019

We can’t but have helped but notice the great distress and bewilderment over recent days at the destruction wrought by the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, especially for the people of Paris, the nation of France as a whole, as well as further afield.  It was so very moving to see so many people gathering together in the streets to gaze silently at the devastating sight and, in their sorrow, to burst forth with spontaneous prayer. On Maundy Thursday church bells all over this country, and the world, rang-out in solidarity with the people for whom Notre Dame is not just a beautiful, magnificent landmark, but their spiritual home.  I share this prayer with you now as the people of France, in particular, look to the future and to re-building and renewal.

Living God, in solidarity and in faith in you, we pray for people known and loved by us who are experiencing the turmoil of bereavement and the pain of grief.  When the darkness of sorrow threatens to overwhelm us help us, by whatever little faith we think we have, to reach out for the light of hope in Christ Jesus.  Help us also to accept and to lean on the prayers and faith of others.

Also, living God, we pray for and with the people of France, for all who consider Notre Dame Cathedral as their spiritual home – a place of centuries of prayer and worship, through times of joy and of tribulation.  Be with them we pray in this time of sorrow, and into the future.

Amen

Prayer for April 2019

Easter is late this year, with the first three weeks of April being our final three weeks’ journey through Lent, ending in the Holy Week journey of the joyous Palm Sunday, the Last Supper of Maundy Thursday, the agony of Good Friday and the despair of Easter Saturday.  Then comes the one day which makes the Christian faith stand alone from all others; the day we celebrate when our Father raised His Son from the dead – for you and me.

Some of us may have been following a Lenten discipline, whether it be giving up something, endeavouring to make a small difference in our daily lifestyle, or rising to the challenge set by Derek on 10 March to just speak more about our Christian faith and the Good News it brings. Each of us has a different pathway to follow in our Christian journey, just as Christ followed the path set before him which led to the cross, but ultimately the empty tomb. So, as we conclude our Lenten journey and arrive at the Easter cross, I offer you this prayer;

Father God, you call each one of us to a journey of faith.  We praise you for the strength and sustenance you provide for that journey and we thank you for the example of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who suffered for us that we might have hope of eternal life.

As we draw near to remembering again the crowds shouting hosannas at your entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, may we too always be ready to offer our prayers of adoration for your wonderful creation.

As we join you at the Last Supper, sharing in the breaking of bread and wine, and the washing of your disciples’ feet, may we too never forget the needs of our neighbour in our actions and our prayers.

As we try to shy away from seeing you hanging on the cross, listening to the words of confession from the thief hanging alongside you, may we never forget that you made such a sacrifice that our sins too may be forgiven.

And as we gaze with wonder at the empty tomb may we offer ourselves anew in your service.  Amen

Angela Bevan

Prayer for March 2019

Father God,

May we care for each other, Lord, as a group of people together searching for a life of faith in you.

      * One with life before them.  Ideas and ideals longing to be used.

      * A parent with many demands of home life

      * A person having time and patience for others

      * One who has a difficult home life through misunderstanding or illness                        

      * An old person losing their memory and adaptability

      * Elders with their leadership responsibilities

      * One whose enthusiasm and talents are being enjoyed

      * Another who lives alone longing for companionship

      * Someone impatient for progress

      * One who has small grandchildren and sees the young parents  growing in wisdom               

      * A widow waiting to turn sadness into good memories

      * A visitor finding friendship

Bring us together Lord, in our differences, in our companionship, in our worship. May we grow in Christian love and understanding.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen

Geoff Prestage

Prayer for February 2019

A PRAYER FOR FEBRUARY

During February we are in the season of Epiphany when the Church remembers the coming of the wise men from the East to a stable in Bethlehem to see a King in a manger.  Matthew tells us that there were wise men but does not specify a number. On the other hand he does specify that there were three gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Prayer

Great God you gave us your Son to be our Lord and King.  This was signified by the gift of gold.
We worship you as King and long for your Kingdom to be established among all people.  We pray for all in authority that they will rule justly and in peace.
We shall arise and shine for your light has come.

The gift of frankincense recognises that you are holy.
We worship you as the Holy One.  We pray that all life on the planet will be regarded as sacred as part of your creation.
We shall arise and shine for your light has come.

The gift of myrrh recognises the myrrh carried by the women to embalm you following your death on the cross.  They could not use it because you had defeated death and had risen in glory.  We pray for all who are suffering – for prisoners of conscience, refugees, those living in war zones, those living with cruelty and those who are sick.
We shall arise and shine for your light has come.
Amen

Derek Hiscocks

Prayer for December 2018

In September I was blessed with a new granddaughter . Little Helena Sofia was nearly two weeks overdue and we were eagerly awaiting her birth. When she eventually arrived  we rejoiced and gave thanks. During the season of Advent we are pregnant with expectation and preparation. But what are we waiting for? Not for Santa Claus but for the birth of the Christ child who will grow up and die on the cross for us and for the whole world. 


As we progress through the busy weeks leading to Christmas and the New Year 2019, let us give thanks with the words from Rejoice and Sing hymn 685. This hymn is based on Psalm 34. ' Through all the changing scenes of life, in trouble and in joy, the praises of my God shall still my heart and tongue employ.'


May God's blessing be with us all during the time of Advent, Christmas and The New Year. 


'May the God who brings heaven close to earth give truth to our judgement and flame to our longing that our hearts might be ready to be born again in love. And may we who have been touched by the Word made flesh be his body for the world, his hands to bring blessing, his senses to glory, in the promise of creation restored.  

Amen                                                                          

Leena Knowles

(Prayers for an Inclusive Church, Canterbury Press, Norwich, 2008)

Prayer for November 2018

Living God, at this time of harvest thanksgiving and the safe bringing-in of the bounty of the fields, so we make our prayers for those who have lost everything, due to natural disaster, including, tragically, loved-ones, neighbours and friends.  We pray for those left behind to face the unimaginable task of rebuilding their lives, this in the midst of the trauma they experience.

We also pray for volunteers working with charities and aid-workers who, against overwhelming odds, seek to help people rebuild their lives.

We pray for the leaders of the nations, that wisdom will prevail when allowing people to build homes and livelihoods in places known to be at risk of natural disaster of any kind.  And may a true generosity of spirit lead to governments, institutions and individual people giving of their riches in charitable giving.

Living God, we know that you do not inflict such suffering but, rather, you show us in Christ Jesus what it is to be compassionate, caring and healing. And help us always to be thankful for what we have, and what we can give to others we pray.

In Jesus’ name.  Amen

Prayer for October 2018

Earlier this month there was discussion about those bits of the Bible that we don't like.   As I write this, an example was given with the reading of Mark 7 which had Jesus referring to a woman needing help, as 'a dog'. Mike led us in his sermon to consider the circumstances and how it was a process of teaching the apostles the hard facts of following his message.   It also has been suggested that there was a certain humour in Jesus’s response to the woman as “you a gentile come to a Jewish healer for help?” Whatever, surely the Christian message for us is that we do not judge people by their nationality or creed. Unfortunately, it seems humans require enemies to justify frustrations but it is not a Christian outlook.   During the last 100 years many mothers, of many countries, lost their sons and daughters in the two world wars.   History, the Press and bad government show us that national anger can be fermented easily over as short period of time. Nowadays, the red poppy needs the white one with it.   As we pray for peace in the world we need to reject the stigmatising of the dog.   The dogs don't deserve it!

God, our heavenly Father,

We pray for those who are suffering because of their place of birth; for the Rohingya Muslims living in huge refugee camps having been cast out of Myanmar; for families living in Syria expecting bombing from their own government.

We know your challenge for Christians to help rehouse refugees fleeing conflict and we bless those who have accepted the needy. We give thanks for the charities who work in difficult zones, the Red Cross, Medecins sans Frontieres, Christian Aid and Save the Children.

We think of those people of many nationalities who are unable to sort their immediate future because of visa restrictions and any who suffer harsh treatment in low-paid servants’ work. For all in government and authority we ask for your blessing that peace will reign in the world.

In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,

Amen

 

 

Prayer for July & August 2017

Avril Bamber's service in June used colours as visual aids for our worship. In our service Avril had words of prayer for rainbow colours but also referred to BLACK, illustrated in many newspapers by the burnt-out shell of the high-rise flats in Kensington. RED can also be a reminder of good and bad; the enveloping flames or the fire engines. Some of us were given a prayer card with coloured ribbons. 

LORD - teach us to pray without words as we reflect the colours that surround us: 

RED - for the love of God all around. 

BLUE – for God's over-arching presence reflected in clear skies and calm seas 

GREEN – the trees and plants of creation that sing God's goodness to us 

GOLDEN YELLOW – in sunshine, in flowers, in precious gifts given in love. 

But also, Lord, we pray for those who have lost family and friends, for those with bleak memories that will not go away. 

RED engines – of the fire brigade 

BLUE uniforms – of the police 

GREEN AND YELLOW – for the gifts of food, clothing, hugs and sympathy that have been offered. 

For guidance and blessing we ask this in the name of Christ our Lord. 

Amen

Geoff Prestage

Notices

  • This Sunday

    Sunday 15 September             

    10.30 am Combined Battle of Britain and RAFA Anniversary Family Service – led by the Minister

    6.30 pm Evening Communion Service in Abbey Hall Lounge led by the Minister

    Forthcoming Events

    Monday 16 September

    10.30 am MOT in Abbey Hall Lounge

    Tuesday 17 September

    10.15 am Grand Fun in Abbey Hall Lounge

    Wednesday 18 September

    2.00 – 4.00 pm Kettle’s On -Time for Tea in Abbey Hall Lounge

    Thursday 19 September

    7.30 pm Worship Group in Minister’s Vestry

    Friday 20 September

    7.30 pm Badminton in Abbey Hall

    Saturday 21 September

    7.00 – 11.00 pm Harvest Supper and Barn Dance

    Sunday 29 September following morning worship

    11.45 am Church Meeting

    Saturday 23 November

    10.00 am – 4.00 pm Church Vision Day in Abbey Hall led by Revd Mary Thomas and Ruth White

    Next Sunday

    Sunday 22 September

    10.30 am Family Harvest Festival led by Derek Hiscocks

    6.30 pm Evening Worship in Abbey Hall Lounge led by the Minister

     

     

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