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 December 2017
As I am sitting down in front of my computer to write this prayer we have just had out first two frosts, harbingers of colder weather to come. The days are getting shorter and we can expect slippery roads and pavements but it is not all bad news. We can also expect large flocks of Brent Geese coming to our shores from Greenland and Scandinavia accompanied by flocks of waders coming from colder climes to over-winter here. Also we can expect flocks of Fieldfare and Bramblings further inland. Wonderful sights. Without winter we would not see these visitors. Also, without winter our appreciation of spring would be so much less. So let us praise and thank the Lord for his marvellous creation. And now our prayer.
Creator God we thank you for this world on which we live, we thank you for the seasons which we can enjoy for what they bring us. Help us enjoy each season for the sights and joy that it brings.
But Lord we want to bring before you those for whom winter is a time of trial with its cutting winds and treacherous roads and pavements. We want to pray for those who will be cold because they cannot afford to use heating, for those without sufficient food and those who are living rough.
Great God be with them and show us how we can help them.
This is a time when we can look forward to Christmas and the birth of Jesus - born in a stable and shortly afterwards fleeing from Herod as a refugee. Lord we know there are so many refugees stuck in the countries of Europe now that borders have been closed. For them Christmas Day will be just another day of starvation and illness.
Great God be with them and show us how we can help them.
We lift into your presence all those who are lonely. Lord we would be delighted to befriend them. Guide them to us.
Great God be with them and show us how we can help them.
May we see the face of Christ in all we meet and may they see Christ in our faces and in our actions. Amen.
Prayer for November 2017
Great God we thank you for the seasons. We were grateful to see the new fresh green leaves in Spring and then the magnificence of fully clothed trees in Summer – but that is now past. As we approach Winter you lift our hearts and our spirits with the beautiful display of the colours of our Autumn trees. They take our breath away with the yellows and gold, the pinks and reds, the russets and browns. Each year you give us cause for awe and wonder as we ponder your creation.
We feel so happy to be a part of your creation and we recall that you made us in your image with all the other peoples on Earth. You made us all with the capacity to love – to love you with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and to love each other – enemies as well as friends.
In that sense of love, we ask your blessings on those for whom Autumn is a time of ferocious winds and deluge of rain – for the people in the Caribbean, for those in Bangladesh, for those in Ireland and Scotland. They are endeavouring to recover from hurricanes and storms. May they have courage and strength, food and water and the finance they need to rebuild.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Prayer for October 2017
Living God, we give thanks for the fruits of the earth to sustain us for daily living and for all that nourishes us in body, mind and spirit.
We give thanks for all that stimulates our minds.
We appreciate good books and for all that can inspire us through Radio and Television.
We give thanks for those called to leadership in the Church, May they heighten our awareness of your Spirit in our daily lives.
In to-day's world there is a great need for your Spirit of love, peace and hope to reign. Grant your strength to all who work in situations of need. Use them to bring healing of body, mind and spirit. In their ministry we recognise your Presence. May it renew our belief that nothing in life or death need ever separate us from your love. In the spirit of Jesus Christ we pray.
Prayer for September 2017
Do you ever find your thoughts wandering, maybe when having a quiet prayer in the privacy of your home, during the time of worship when listening to a sermon, or praying together with others? However sincere our intentions, this happens.
Let us take comfort from God’s promises in Scripture that the Spirit helps us in our weakness and intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words (Romans 8.26).
As we return after the summer months to our autumn activities, let us pray that we may be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, remembering what God has done in the past, but also being open to new ideas and new ways of working together.
We pray with the words of Thomas A Kempis (1380-1471).
“Merciful Lord, enlighten me with a clear shining inward light and remove all darkness from my heart. Repress my many wandering thoughts”
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.
Prayer for June 2017
As June sees the birthday of the church with our celebration of Pentecost, I offer this prayer based on the hymn by Edwin Hatch.
Breathe on me breath of God
May the gift of the Holy Spirit renew me during this season of Pentecost
Fill me with life anew
Strengthened and empowered to live the life of the Gospel
That I may love what thou dost love
Treating all your world with love and respect
and do what thou wouldst do
spreading your word in your world, that all may receive the gift of your Holy Spirit.
Prayer for May 2017
As I write this prayer I am aware that things in the United Kingdom and in Europe will never be quite the same again. It is the 29th of March 2017 and Theresa May’s letter has triggered Article 50. It makes no difference whether we voted ‘leave’ or ‘remain’, we had a referendum and the majority decision was that we should leave the EU. As a Nation, we are entering a time of considerable uncertainty. So I turned to Matthew’s Gospel Chapter 6, verses 25 to 34 for help. I quote:
`This is why I tell you not to be anxious about food and drink to keep you alive and about clothes to cover your body. Surely life is more than food, the body more than clothes. Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow and reap and store in barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than the birds? Can anxious thought add a single day to your life?
And why be anxious about clothes? Consider how the lilies grow in the fields; they do not work, they do not spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his splendour was not attired like one of them. If that is how God clothes the grass in the fields, which is theretoday and tomorrow is thrown on the stove, will he not all the more clothe you? How little faith you have!
Do not ask anxiously, ``What are we to eat? What are we to drink? What shall we wear?'' These are the things that occupy the minds of the heathen, but your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Set your mind on God's kingdom and his justice before everything else, and all the rest will come to you as well.
So do not be anxious about tomorrow; tomorrow will look after itself. Each day has troubles enough of its own”.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the wisdom found in the Bible. May we learn to trust you in everything that we do; so that we are able to concentrate on living in accordance with your will instead of worrying about things over which we have no control. We ask your guidance for all involved in the Brexit negotiations in order that the outcome may be just and equitable for all the countries involved. May your Spirit guide and inspire us in all we do so that we may truly say, “your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven”.
For we ask all this in the name of Jesus, Amen