Welcome to Booklet 41 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 our relationship with God and with one another, not only in current circumstances but throughout our life. The reflections from Tuesday till Saturday will look at some of the Ten Commandments that we started to think about last week when we considered Moses on the mountain with God for 40 days and nights to receive them. I hope you will be blessed and be a blessing to others as you take time to consider them each day. I love to imagine a world where they all are honoured, and am thankful for God’s forgiveness when we can’t manage to keep with them all the time. I also trust that you find beginning each week in the same way really helpful as we focus on thanking and praising God. Surely it is good to stop and reflect on those things… and good to make this a habit. (Some prayer prompts at the end) Next week: Flowers J
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Monday 25th 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 26thth January, 2021
“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3
“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matthew 22:37-38
Jesus said: “If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15
Reflection: I am certain you don’t really need my comments here, but I will share a few simple thoughts. The word of God has many references to the worthlessness of idols created and made by humans – whether as physical artefacts or hero worship. It would seem that the human mind needs to focus on something. Sadly humanists make humanity their main idol. God says – give your attention and time to placing me first in your life. Jesus echoed that when he came to earth. This does make sense as he is our creator and our redeemer from a life of sinfulness when we ask forgiveness in Jesus for those times we behave in a way that offends God. Then we can ask his help to get it right. It begins with honouring him and trusting him. Jesus goes on to say that if we truly love and honour God, we will keep his commands.
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, early in the morning our song shall rise to thee; merciful and mighty, blessed trinity!
Let us pray:
- Lord God, we humbly confess that sometimes we do not consider what is required of us as your children. Help us to show that we love you and to give you first place in our lives.
- Lord, we know you created all things, and we ask your help in this world to defeat the Coronavirus which at worst is robbing us of those we love and is creating havoc for most…
- Show your compassion to all who are bereaved or fearful for the lives of those they love and grant courage for the future
- Fill us with hope as we continue to trust you every day. Amen
Wednesday 27th January, 2021
“ You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.” Exodus 20:16
“ The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.” Proverbs 12:22
Reflect: Lying is so commonplace that sometimes we hardly notice it unless it causes anguish to us personally. Who can truthfully say they have never told a lie? Who can truthfully say they have never tried to justify the telling of a lie? We don’t need to be brutally honest to the point of hurting someone, but we do need to consider the damage that lies can do – and they can do devastating damage to others. Think about it – why do we lie? Usually we do this because it benefits us in some way. We might think it will protect us from another person’s anger, or from having to face the consequences of a bad action. However, we cannot lie to God, and this should govern the words we speak. It would if we understood how offensive lying is to God.
Let us pray:
- God our Father, help us to weigh up the words we speak, remembering you are with us always. We would repent of lies we have told, especially where they have hurt others and ask your forgiveness for this as for other wrongs we have done.
- Lord, we thank you again today for the light of your presence and your word – leading, comforting, guiding and blessing us.
- Close down the negative voices – especially in relation to Coronavirus and those who spread falsehood and lies and mock the wisdom we are given. We pray for strength and comfort for those who work hard on our behalf and are distressed by the lies spread by others- especially the medical staff coming off wearying shifts and facing protesters outside who refuse to believe in the devastation caused by the virus. Amen
Thursday 28th January, 2021
“You shall not steal.” Exodus 20:15
“For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing.” Isaiah 61:8
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings…” Malachi 3:8
Reflection: The word ‘tithes’ appears many times in the Old Testament, but today we are not considering its exact meaning. However, we will take a few moments to think of what is important. There are two things about stealing here – one is about how to be honest in all our financial dealings between ourselves and other people, and between ourselves and the laws of our land. The other is about being honest, knowing we are always in the presence of God. The character of God does not change between the Old and New Testament, or between then and now. Jesus reminds us often in his teaching about honesty and being generous to those in need – if we are not, we are ‘robbing God’. This again begins with loving God first and loving others – see back to Tuesday… and we can all give something – whether it is sharing a meal, or time, or skills, or being careful to donate items we no longer need or things that are surplus…
Let us pray:
- Lord God, we thank you today for every blessing; even when our situation is difficult we can see them all around us.
- Father God, show us today how we can help to provide what someone else needs. Help us not to miss opportunities to show your love and grace to others practically and in prayer.
- We thank you today for every group set up to help and support others – especially those run by volunteers – like Food Banks, Street Workers, Charity shops, Befrienders. Bless and multiply the good that is done in Jesus’ name…Amen
Friday, 29th January, 2021
“You must not be envious of your neighbour’s goods. You shall not be envious of his house nor his wife, nor anything that belongs to your neighbour.” Exodus 20:17
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:12
Reflect: Envying what others have is a sure way to make us miserable. It is a sad day when we measure someone’s worth by what they have rather than by who they are. It is even more damaging to value ourselves by what we have in comparison to someone else. Indeed envy is dangerous because it can lead us into behaviour that offends God and others. God loves each one of us equally. Paul’s statement is bold – especially about hunger – but in making it he is demonstrating that his trust in God never fails. His life is governed by the grace of God and the salvation he found in Jesus. God assured Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:9
Let us pray:
- Lord, we all have difficult times when we feel there is much that we need. In those times grant us the faith to trust in you and be patient in our circumstances.
- Father God, you invite us to bring all our prayers and petitions to you and so we ask that you will intervene and grant your wisdom to bring an end to this dreadful virus that is a scourge not only in our land but around the world.
- May we find our hope in your faithfulness as we remember you sent your son into the world because you love us. We may not understand, but grant us an increase of faith to put our trust in your sovereign power.
Saturday, 30th January, 2021
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
Reflect: The world is a complicated place, and there are many indications that all is not well amongst its peoples or its landscapes. There are wars; there are natural disasters; there is poverty; there are personal tragedies and there are many illnesses. Sometimes it is easy to blame God, and many people do.
These things are often why people choose to believe that there is no God. And yet the evidence for his existence and sovereignty is powerful; the message from his word is powerful; His presence in the lives of those who believe and chose to worship Him is tangible. God won’t be ignored and we cannot minimise him and tuck him into a back pocket. Above all God is Love. When we truly look for him we discover him and his love in the midst of all the trials of life…we find it to be true when we kneel at the cross of Jesus and repent of our sins and receive his forgiveness and begin to live life in a new way. The commandments become gifts of love that help each of us to do better in this life we have been given – but the triumph of Jesus in our lives is that when we do get it wrong, and confess that to the Lord, he declares that all is forgiven and helps us to try again. Then we become his children.
And now, let us continue to pray for others:
- Father God, We pray today that your Holy Spirit will descend over all the war torn countries of the Middle East – we pray your blessing on children who have known only fear and deprivation. God, we understand they have not believed in your message of love and forgiveness and we pray that you will break into the lives of many so that they turn to you.
- We thank you again today 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. We pray for poor countries that they will not be deprived of this vaccine, but that it will provide hope for all.
- Almighty God, our hearts cry out to you for the conditions in the United States of America. We pray that a new President will help to unite the different factions and there will be a time of settled peace and new priorities.
- We pray for those who cannot honour father and mother because they have not been shown loving care – and worse have known abuse. Touch them with your healing love.
- Lord God, we pray for your faithfulness to be evident in the work of Open Doors, Barnabus, and other similar organisations that reach out to those in countries where it is dangerous to be known as a believer in Jesus. May the name of the Lord offer the protection of a strong tower – 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.
Reflect, pray and obey… these are not only life-changing for individuals but for communities everywhere.
The Ten Commandments (Simplified)
- You shall have no other Gods but me.
- You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it.
- You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
- You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy.
- Respect your father and mother.
- You must not commit murder.
- You must not commit adultery.
- You must not steal.
- You must not give false evidence against your neighbour.
- You must not be envious of your neighbour’s goods. You shall not be envious of his house nor his wife, nor anything that belongs to your neighbour.
And finally, The Lord’s Prayer…
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done;
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power and the glory, For ever and ever. AMEN