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.
(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,
Prayer for September 2018
Evenings are drawing in; important exam results have been received and school holidays are coming to a close. These are some signs that we are witnessing the passing of summer.
We must not view this as forthcoming doom and gloom, but as a reminder that we should take time to look around us at the wonder of autumn .. morning dew on the grass, glorious sunsets, turning leaves and the never-failing Harvest signs .. golden crops, laden fruit trees and feverish farming activity, all reminders of God’s Almighty hand, providing all our needs, with the help of mother nature.
Dear Father, we all lead busy 21st century lives and often we need your help to slow down and take time to look around us, to witness all that you provide.
We thank you for providing for all our daily food. Without you, how would our seeds bring forth abundant harvests to feed our bodily needs.
Help us to consider the needs of others. We know that there is enough provision to feed 9 billion people. We ask your help to tackle the problem of still having food shortages within our 7.3 billion world population.
Grant us wisdom, strength and resolve, as your good earth rests through this coming winter, to do all in our power to make life on Earth a much better place than it is today, for all.
This we ask in the name of your beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Prayer for June 2018
This month in the Romsey and Wellow Gazette there is an article that was written by 5 members of this congregation in an effort to reach out to people in the area who are ‘Feeling Alone’ (this is the title of the article). There are so many people of all ages and from all walks of life who are feeling alone and lacking in friendship. Is there someone near you who would welcome a word from you – perhaps an invitation to join you for a cup of tea and a chat or to join one of the many activities that we have within our church?
As you think about that, will you join with everyone reading this magazine in a prayer to our Lord Jesus Christ who, during that first Good Friday, knew what it was to have no friends around him just when he needed them.
Suffering and deserted Lord, you know what it is like to be left alone in your hour of need and cried from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me”. Look with love upon all of those who find themselves alone and grant them the comfort of knowing that you are always with each one of us and you will never desert us.
Also grant, we pray, that those of us who know your presence will watch out for those who need us and take the initiative to share your love with whosoever needs it.
We ask this that we may do your will.
Prayer for May 2018
(prayer for the ‘Say one for me’ initiative)
Living God, in the Risen Christ Jesus and the Power of the Holy Spirit, you move us to prayer. Jesus taught us to pray in simple, heart-felt words and from the silence of our hearts, as he prayed alone.
Loving, compassionate God, there are so many people in the world, in our own communities and neighbourhoods, who have such deep concerns and needs, yet feel somehow unable to come to you in prayer, or who consider their faith too weak to pray.
As the father of the epileptic child exclaimed “I believe, help my lack of belief“ (Mark 9:24) help us when we find it difficult to believe, when faced by dreadful circumstances of life and to hold others in their deep distress, especially as we as local churches go out into the local community to meet people and ask them to share their prayer needs.
Through this outreach and show of Christ’s compassion, help people to know they are cared for and precious in your eyes, Loving God. So, may we be channels of your peace and healing and all-embracing love. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Prayer for April 2018
I remember well the time when at primary school we started learning joined-up writing and my parents bought me my first fountain pen. It was hard work, needing hours of practice and I still remember the ink plots! This was well before word processors, computers and iPads.
Many years later I was learning Cantonese in the language school in Hong Kong whose study involved writing Chinese characters. I never got very far with them and most of them I have forgotten, but I do remember the importance of the stroke order which had to be memorised.
Many things we forget if we do not practise them. They go into some kind of passive memory. Some things can be recalled and revived, some we lose completely. This kind of thing can happen also in our spiritual lives.
During the Lent Studies this year we have been talking about 'The Rule of Life', based on the Benedictine spirituality, learning what it means in practice to say 'Yes' to God who says 'Yes' to us on a daily basis. This is a life long journey of growing and learning, remembering that the fruit of the Holy Spirit in us grows not because of our own efforts, although our co-operation is needed, but because of us being connected to the true vine, us abiding in Christ as he abides in us.
We might forget the 'stroke order' and make many mistakes, but despite these 'ink blots' God, the vine-grower is faithful and merciful. We can always start again.
We pray with the words of the chorus of the hymn written by Graham Kendrick (Make Way Music 1993), the hymn used in the 'Women's World Day of Prayer' Service this year.
'God of the poor, friend of the weak, give us compassion we pray: melt our cold hearts, let tears fall like rain; come, change our love from a spark to a flame.'
Prayer for March 2018
These thoughts are written following a very successful 'Community Awareness' Sunday. Christmas donations had been sent to four local groups involving children and adults. Representatives and the Town Mayor came to the service and made us aware of the concern and action for people with illness, depression, homelessness and lack of friendship.
Coming home, we heard the news of OXFAM's problems overseas; the effect of sexual misconduct by their employees will have emphasised how the actions of a small number can effect so many.. It will give impetus to those who wish to reduce or even remove oversea aid. Our prayers are for those who are in need in so many ways.
God our Father All around we see limitation; the struggle of the poor to survive; the exploitation of women. The longing of the unloved.
Lord, We hear of those who serve the community; those who tend the sick, others who offer guidance and have sympathetic hands. In your name we bless them.
God our Mother There are women who long for children and children without parents; men without a friendship. The longing of the unloved.
Lord, In Jesus, we see God who healed the sick, liberated the unloved and spoke to the outcast. In your name we bless them.
God, the Holy Spirit There are those who fail to see the foreigner as family members. One to oppress or abuse.
Lord, We remember your words, 'Come to me, all who are weary and heavily burdened and I will give you rest'.
Prayer for February 2018
A PRAYER FOR FEBRUARY
In the early stages of 2018, we bring you Lord our praise and thanks for all your care and guidance throughout 2017. We pray that we may always be conscious of your presence with us as this year continues to unfold. We pray that it will be a year when, as a church fellowship and as individuals, we may be drawn closer in our relationship with you and accomplish all that you have for us as we go forward, strong in the strength which you supply through your eternal Son, 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.