Prayer for April 2020
In these uncertain times when life seems to present a whole raft of new challenges for us all, it is important that we remember the comfort prayer can bring. As communal worship is put on hold, we need to explore new ways of sourcing spiritual nourishment. The internet is an obvious choice for this and the URC web site offers a daily reading and prayer, as do many other websites; daily Bible Study notes can be purchased from Oasis; or we can simply just speak with God as we would speak to any friend. So, I offer this simple prayer for these uncertain times.
Dear Lord God
We thank you for all you have done for us and all that you give to us each day. Thank you for your love shown through our friends and family, and through the gift of your Son. We ask, Lord God, that you be with us as we face the challenges of each new day; bringing us comfort when we feel alone and helping us to be aware of the needs of others. Lord God, we think of those not so fortunate as ourselves and ask they may draw strength from the knowledge that you are alongside them, both at times of joy and also in times of trouble.
We pray especially for those who are ill at this time, and for those supporting them and ministering to them. We give thanks for the dedication of those providing medical care, ignoring the risks to which they may be exposing themselves. May we never take such dedication for granted but be ready to follow the example they, and Jesus, have set for us. We ask that you help us to be your hands and feet, bringing your love to others; your eyes and ears to respond to the needs of others. May the power of your Holy Spirit touch us as we respond to your call. This we ask in the name of your Son and our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Prayer for March 2020
There is an account of the special friendship of the Russian cellist Rostropovich to the composer Shostakovich. The cellist rang up late one night to plead “Slava, Slava. Immediately you have to come and see me. Immediately, I need you to come.”
Rostropovich recounts how he thought maybe he wants to speak about some concert coming up. So I went to him and he said “Slava, sit down.” and after a while “Slava, let's just be quiet” ‘and we sat there not looking at one another. It was like an eternity. Can you imagine it, not speaking for over a quarter of an hour? Then he got up and said “Thank you, thank you Slava, for coming to see me” and I returned home.
Eventually this sort of meeting came up more frequently and Rostropovich became more used to it, but I wonder whether this is the sort of experience we need to find space in our busy lives for - quiet reflective times of prayer.
I must admit I have not found it easier in later life to keep regular structure for any pastime, appointments, mealtimes, or taking pills. But there is a truth in this account, that forming a pattern of time to think slowly for assessment and prayer would be of benefit to a muddled head.
John Pritchard in his book on prayer suggests finding space with the route 'Thank you, Sorry and Please' - and talk to yourself about how you feel.
The Magazine editor needed the Prayer for March, and below is my prayer expressing how I feel: -
Whilst my mind is occupied worrying, thank you Lord for others offering answers to my concerns. THANK YOU for them and bless them, SORRY for thinking I was on my own, PLEASE help me to support those who need help in other ways.
Prayer for February 2020
A PRAYER FOR FEBRUARY
My grandson Joel is four years old and loves trains as many boys his age do. One of his favourite places to visit is Romsey Signal Box, a working museum which is a 'hands on' place to learn about trains, how to operate points and raise/lower signals. There is also an opportunity to hear a talk which gives an insight into a life of a railway signalman years ago when things were done manually and by phone rather than with computers.
It was hard work and long hours with big responsibility. Mistakes would cause accidents and a potential loss of life. There were extremely busy times, many trains coming at the same time and then long gaps between but one had to stay alert all the time.
Life is often like this. Much of the time we experience a very ordinary everyday routine but we also have special festivals and celebrations, something to look forward to.
Waiting an hour for a bus in cold rain may seem a long time but waiting for something of which we are afraid is much harder; waiting for the unknown, illness to take its course, waiting for healing, injustice or suffering to end or our prayers to be answered. We need patience and encouragement.
In the midst of all our hopes and dreams for today or for the future we can be certain that God is always awake. God does not leave us or forsake us whatever this new year brings to us personally or to our families or to our wider communities.
It has been said that God's phone number is 5015 because in Psalm 50, verse 15 it says: 'Then if you call me in time of trouble, I shall come to your rescue, and you will honour me.'
In and through prayer we have this opportunity to communicate with God and also bring others to God in prayer who are perhaps too tired or unable to pray for themselves.
'Lord Jesus, in your mercy heal us. In your love and tenderness remake us. In your compassion bring grace and forgiveness. For the beauty of heaven may your love prepare us.' St Anselm (1033-1109)
Prayer for December 2019
Living God, as we enter into the time of Advent, as the leaves fall and the darkness deepens, help us in our journeying towards the new life and light we celebrate at Christmas. May we continue to know of your presence in the new year, with all the uncertainty that lies ahead.
Bring us to a place of renewed security and hope, by our faith in your Son, our Saviour, Christ Jesus, born again in our hearts.
Revd Mike Perrott
Prayer for November 2019
During the first week of October I listened to Desert Island Discs – not something I usually manage to fit in, but on this occasion we were enjoying a break in the West Country and I was fortunate in being able to listen to Sabrina Cohen Hatton.
At the age of 15 she was made homeless after her father died of a brain tumour. Although her school were aware that she was not living at home they did nothing to support her. She sold The Big Issue and slept on the streets of Newport, Wales. It was the sales of The Big Issue that gave her the money she needed to live.
After living on the streets for two years, she succeeded in joining the Fire Service at 18, although this took a large number of applications. Now she is Chief Fire Officer of West Sussex having gained a BSc in Psychology and followed this with a PhD and she is still only in her 30s.
My reaction as I listened to this programme was certainly one of immense praise for her achievement but also, I wondered about how much hope a person must have had to enable them to navigate their way through such a difficulty journey.
In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul speaks to us about Faith, Hope and Love and perhaps we are prone to take Hope as the poor relation of those two great aspects of our lives – Faith and Love. Here we have a person who, during a lot of her life, must have been living on Hope.
Shall we pray?
Dear Lord, Father and friend show us that no matter how bad things get for us we still have Hope to keep us connected with Faith and Love. Amen
Prayer for October 2019
October is here, and it only seems like yesterday that we welcomed in the new year. Planning is well underway for events to be held during the final quarter of 2019, and hope for the New Year is that we will all have 2020 vision to see things more clearly.
During September, Paddington came to several events, including Alice and John’s wedding, whilst we saw the transformation of a newly decorated and refurbished Abbey Hall Lounge. Change is all around us.
Life is constantly changing, sometimes it seems at an unstoppable pace. For many, it is a constant struggle to keep abreast of the changes and so I offer this simple prayer.
Lord God, whose love is ever constant but whose world is ever changing, be with as we face the changes we constantly find in our lives. We ask for your guidance to discern when we should embrace the changes, courage to challenge those which do not reflect your hope for the world, and your strength to live out your message of love in all that we say and do in your name.
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:
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.
(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 seeFather 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
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.
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.