Welcome to Booklet 39 of reflection and thoughts for prayer from the Presbytery Prayer Promoters’ Group. As usual, let me graciously remind you that we understand that for some of you, you will have your own prayer notes and ways of approaching God, but we hope that many readers will enjoy these reflections and use them to help guide their thoughts in prayer. Please share these notes as widely as possible; hopefully they will accomplish two things. a) Help us to build our relationship with God, in Christ Jesus and b) lead us into prayer for others, and for situations that seem impossible to us – but not impossible to God.
This week I hope to continue with our focus on the faithfulness of God as we find ourselves in yet another period of Lockdown. Sadly, although we have been enjoying the news that a vaccine had been discovered – a vaccine to help us to find a way out of the pandemic – we also have a new understanding that things rarely go smoothly when people start debating the best way forward. We need God’s wisdom and grace working through people more than ever. He is Sovereign Lord and we should never doubt that. Let us continue to pray as never before, with increased faith and a sense of urgency for our families, our community, our nation and the wider world, remembering to make our requests with thanksgiving and to give him praise that he cares for us – although we are often determined to go our own way and shut him out. (Some prayer prompts at the end)
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Monday 11th January, 2021
I promised in the first booklet that we would begin each new one offering this reflection and prayer of praise and hope from Paula Lennox, a member of both the Mission Committee and the Prayer Promoters’ Group. It is so important to put God first and praise Him before everything else. May we find new hope:
As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more (Psalm 71:14)
In this time of anxiety and uncertainty, let us remember there is always someone we can rely on. May we start each day thanking him for all he has done for us and holding this gratitude before us as a beacon of hope.
Father, we thank you for your promise to always be with us no matter our circumstances and we hold on to that promise now, as we feel anxious and uncertain as each day goes by. May we remember that through you all things were created, that you have supremacy over everything and nothing is impossible for you. You are our hope and we praise you. Amen
Prayer points are all about praising God:
Praise Him for the little things, we previously took for granted
Praise Him for nature that continues to flourish
Praise Him for more time to spend in His Word
Praise Him that whatever happens he is our hope
Praise Him for…
Now just talk to God about whatever is on your heart…he wants to bless you and give you peace as you trust in him. Amen
Tuesday 12th January, 2021
“ But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Acts 16:28-31
Reflection: I would like to continue from the reflection and prayers of last week – and take you to a time when Paul and Silas were imprisoned for preaching the gospel and living by faith in Jesus. We are told that they prayed and sang hymns of praise while being held in unpleasant conditions and bound with chains. Real lockdown! However, God is sovereign, and caused an earthquake during the night which broke the chains of the prisoners. Paul and Silas, instead of rushing away, waited to speak to the prison guard. As a result, the guard and many others came to faith and rejoiced in the knowledge of their salvation. In the morning, officials ordered the release of Paul and Silas and they continued on their mission to take the good news of the gospel of Jesus to others. Let us pray:
- Lord God, we thank you for our salvation bought for us by Jesus, your son. May we rejoice in all he has done for us.
- Help us to remember in these difficult days that you are Sovereign Lord and nothing is too difficult for you.
- Grant us your grace as we wait for this pandemic to be over, and while it continues may many more people discover the joy of the gospel of Jesus lighting up their lives.
- Father God, as many more people are afflicted by Covid we pray that you will work through others to bring an end to it.
Wednesday, 13th January, 2021
“Later in one of his talks , Jesus said to the people “I am the light of the world” So if you follow me , you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, for living light will flood your path” John 8:12 (Translation: The Living Bible)
Reflection: Thank you to PP Irene for sharing her thoughts on this verse. It follows beautifully from yesterday’s prayer that ‘many more people discover the joy of the gospel of Jesus lighting up their lives.’ It was Jesus himself who promised to do this when we walk in the light of his presence – but we need to choose to do this. We can only really pray for others when we come to the Light of the World and trust him for ourselves. We have no need to ‘stumble.’ Here are Irene’s thoughts:
“This past year has been a difficult one but we keep hearing that phrase “there’s light at the end of the tunnel” with the news of the vaccine giving hope for a better New Year. This verse in John 8 reminds us that we have light in the tunnel. He is with us as we go through these difficult times and no matter what we are going through, His light shines in the darkness. We must do what we can to reflect that light and share the hope we have with others.” Let us pray:
- Thank you Father God for the Love & light we have through knowing Jesus as our Lord & Saviour.
- We ask you Lord God to enable us to share and reflect light in these dark and uncertain times.
- Thank you Lord Jesus that You are the light in our tunnel & fill our hearts to overflowing with Hope to enable us to reflect Your light to others.
Thursday, 14th January, 2021
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” Psalm 143:8
Reflect: As I was writing these thoughts for this day, one of my sisters sent this quotation, “Instead of saying “Lord, I don’t know how to do this”, say “Lord, I can’t wait to see how you do this.” It made me think how easy it is for us to say we trust the Lord, and to pray and ask for his help, but it is much more likely that we continue to worry. The Psalmist clearly went to bed filled with anxiety, but then reminds himself that God is faithful, that God has our lives – every day of our lives – in his care and keeping. He will guide our steps when we remember to ask for his Guidance. He has given us his word: “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Do you get the picture? He helps us to put one foot in front of the other and he also knows the whole journey. Let us pray:
- God our Father, thank you that you welcome and comfort us when we choose to pour out our anxieties and fears to you.
- Lord, we thank you again today for the light you shed through our lives – leading, comforting, chasing away the shadows.
- Lord light up the minds of everyone battling to defeat the Pandemic, here and across the world. Grant wisdom to all who need it, and protect those facing the virus deliberately every day on our behalf.
- Close down the negative voices and those who spread falsehood and lies and mock the wisdom we are given. Amen
Friday, 15th January, 2021
“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lamentations 3:22 – 23
Reflect: Throughout this past week my heart has been singing the words of the old favourite hymn about the faithfulness of God. It was written by a man called Thomas Chisholm who lived from 1866 till 1960. He wrote it in 1923. Thomas was an ordinary man who worked as a farmer. He became a Christian at the age of 26 and it changed his life in a way that made him want to reflect on the faithfulness of God who continues to bless us with his many wonderful gifts each day regardless of how human beings chose to behave in relation to him. Let us pray a prayer of thanksgiving as we reflect on his words…
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided,
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
Saturday, 16th January, 2021
Let me share a prayer this morning from Rt. Rev. Dr. Susan Brown, convener of the Church of Scotland World Mission Council. Although I have great respect for Susan, and for all the work she does, I feel it is important to remind us all that her academic achievements do not make any difference to the acceptability of her prayers before God. He reminds us often that all we need is a heart humble enough to bow before Him and bring our worship and our petitions to him. And I believe implicitly that Susan would agree with this. Having said that, this prayer is beautifully worded and I believe it will bless our hearts and minds as we pray these words with her. It was written following the tragedies in America after Donald Trump refused to accept he had lost the election. Let us pray:
Peace be with you,
Not ‘just’ the absence of violence –
even those with whom it disagrees…
Let that peace reign
Or the need for retribution.
Peace be with you
On Capitol Hill…
Watching in from across that land
And from across the world.
Our prayer is…
Peace be with you. Amen
And now, let us continue to pray for others:
- Father God, our hearts have been breaking with the news of the Boys’ Brigade youths killed by Boko Haram in Nigeria on Christmas Eve. Lord God we cannot comprehend such atrocities but we ask you to comfort their families and to stay the hand of those murderers.
- We thank you for the development of vaccines to fight Coronavirus round the world. Grant your wisdom and grace to be over the whole process and help each of us to continue in patience, knowing that you are with us in this as in everything.
- Lord God we acknowledge just how much we need you to take your place in the hearts of all and we pray that many will learn to know you and to worship you. Today we pray for all those children who really need respite from a troubled home life by being at school and for the present have no escape. Lord God protect the young from the wounds that selfish others would inflict on them – in Jesus’ name, Amen
- Teach us all how to pray, Lord God, especially when we feel overwhelmed. Teach us how to do our part, knowing that you will bring your people everywhere to cover many other issues as we acknowledge our need of you, in Jesus’ name, Amen.