Prayer Booklet 43

Dear Reader,

Welcome to Booklet 43 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.

Let us turn our attention to the faithfulness of God that we see from the pen of the Psalmist David in Psalm 18 this week (and God willing next week). I have been both challenged and comforted by this Psalm down through the years.  It can bring fear to the surface but always wrapped up in God’s majesty, and his faithfulness to us. I believe it helps us to honour God in every circumstance and to find hope in the darkest moments that come to us all at different times in our life.  If we find this to be true for ourselves, it surely helps us to increase our prayers for others at the same time.

I also trust that you find beginning each week in the same way really helpful as we focus again on thanking and praising God.  Surely it is good to stop and reflect on those things… and good to make this a habit.

If you would like to comment or share a story then please contact me: christistewart@nullbtinternet.com  Amen

Sunday, 7th February, 2021

I am pleased to include again the Sunday Prayer recommended by Rev Martin Fair – Moderator of the Church of Scotland. We are encouraged to be united with believers in other churches in this prayer at 7.00 p.m. on a Sunday (a different time if you cannot do this at 7) It is never too late to join in these prayers…

“The Apostle Paul encourages us to ‘pray without ceasing’ and Jesus himself offers parables where persistence in prayer is lauded.

“It can be hard to keep going when there’s no end in sight; much easier when the finishing line comes into view. In the case of the pandemic, it still feels as if there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.”  All the more reason then for God’s people to continue faithfully in prayer.

“At this time, we are those who wait. In common with every member of our community and our nation, we are those who wait for the renewal of life within the families and communities of which we are a part. The time of waiting has now exceeded anything we might have imagined as we began the first lockdown, and as we wait many have grown weary.”  The prophet Isaiah speaks to a people who have waited and whose time of waiting has exceeded anything they might have imagined. (Isaiah 40: 21-31)  During the time of waiting, the people of Israel have grown weary. To those people, the word of the Lord comes through the prophet and they are given a vision of ‘the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth’ who ‘does not faint or grow weary’.”  Even in the longest times, the word of the Lord speaks to those who have come to the end of their strength with the assurance that: ”those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Let us pray together:

Everlasting God,
Creator of the ends of the earth,
We are those who wait
And we confess that we have grown weary.
Speak to us we ask and hear our cry.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Everlasting God,
Creator of the ends of the earth,
We are those who wait
And who have come to the end of our own strength.
Lift up the weary and strengthen the powerless.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Everlasting God,
Creator of the ends of the earth,
We are those who wait
And who have heard your Word echo in our hearts.
Grant us grace for this time and faith to believe your promise.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Everlasting God,
Creator of the ends of the earth,
We are those who wait
And who ask that your promise will be fulfilled.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Everlasting God,
Creator of the ends of the earth,
We are those who wait
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Monday 8th February, 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.

Prayer

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 9th February, 2021

I love you, Lord, my strength.  The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:1-2

Reflection: This is the beginning of a complex Psalm because it was written by David following a dreadful time of battle when his life was seriously endangered.  He is so confident in talking to God, that although he begins with this beautiful affirmation of worship, he also lapses in to horrific memories of how close to death he came.  I believe there are wonderful lessons for us, and the first one is that it is important to put God first and bless his name whatever the circumstances, just because he is God – sovereign Lord.  However, as we have seen before, He is a loving God as well as being Sovereign, and he longs to bless us.  Think of how calming it must have been to David’s soul to recite these opening reflections on who God is.  Look at his statement of faith – God is his strength, rock, fortress, deliverer, refuge, shield, salvation and stronghold. I would imagine that many of us feel as though we have come through a battle – maybe more than once in our life – especially in recent months.   Let us pray together:

  • Lord God, our strength, we believe you do long to bless us with healing and freedom to live our lives. Thank you.
  • Lord God, our Rock, thank you that our faith is built on the solid ground of the death and resurrection of Jesus – our Saviour and Lord. Help us to know he is also our friend.
  • Lord God, our refuge, thank you that you are there as a shelter when we need some respite from the trials of life. Teach us afresh how to rest in you.
  • Lord God, our shield, thank you that when we do need to face difficult situations, we are not alone. You are with us to protect, even as you grant us wisdom for the day. Amen

Wednesday 10th February, 2021

 “I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.” Psalm 18:3

Reflection: Our enemies come in all shapes and sizes…and in many forms.  It is true that David, in this Psalm, is talking about physical battles with those who want to see him dead.  Such battles are all too real in our world somewhere at any given time.

However, if you are sitting today with a different kind of enemy attacking your life then these words are for you.  I hesitate to name possible enemies but I will – and if I miss yours, I would encourage you to name your enemy and write it on the page… on this line…

Our enemies against our peace and joy might include despair, unemployment, failed relationships, fear, illness, guilt, depression, weakness, greed, selfishness, hunger, physical frailty, old age, unrequited love, worry for those we love, pride…

Now – claim in your heart that our Lord God is sovereign and worthy of praise.  I encourage you that no matter how you are feeling – simply say, “Lord God, I praise your holy name and I confess I need you today and every day…” It is a start in the right direction.  If you can just now, also pray for others and ask God to show you how to be his hands and voice.

 Let us pray together:

  • Father God, we come to you with faith and hope in our hearts. Thank you for your constant presence with us.  Today we ask you to give us the knowledge and insight we need to stand against our enemies ………………………….? In Jesus’ name, Amen
  • We pray for all who struggle to find hope, for those who feel nothing but despair. Lord God, open their hearts to know that there is always hope in Jesus, and may they take tentative steps today towards that hope.  Help us to praise you. Amen.

Thursday 11th February, 2021

He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet.   He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.”  Psalm 18: 9-10

Reflection: I really love the imagery in this Psalm.  David has a wonderful way of expressing his situation and God’s involvement in it.  It is beautifully poetic as he tries to share with us the magnificence of God as well as God being alongside him to see him through his troubles.  He clearly felt that God was right there with him as he fought to preserve his life… May we all know and understand God’s presence with us as we continue to find a way through the pandemic and the vast range of personal issues we all have to deal with.

And remember this wonderful truth.  We have a place of privilege that David did not see.  God did part the heavens and come down to be with us when Jesus came into our world and he did ‘soar on the wings of the wind’ as he ascended back to his rightful place in heaven after his resurrection. What an amazing hope fills our souls as we grasp this wonderful truth.  “Majesty, worship his majesty, Jesus who died, now glorified, King of all Kings.”  Let us pray: 

  • Lord God, we thank you for David who wrote so many wonderful Psalms almost 3000 years ago. You are indeed our living Sovereign and Eternal Lord. Yet you care for us…
  • Father God, teach us to be more like David as we see your awesome majesty and your wondrous humility. As you touch our souls help us to give you praise and honour in our lives.
  • Help us to trust your faithfulness as we continue in patience to see the end of this pandemic. Part the heavens and come down again, Lord, and help us to see the way ahead. Bless all those in authority with your wisdom, grace and truth. Amen

Friday, 12th February, 2021

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.” Psalm 18: 16-17

Reflection: I was thinking of these verses in relation to Wednesday’s reflection and realising that it is a powerful force in our lives when we attribute victory over anything in our lives to God’s faithfulness.  It is all too easy to think we are responsible for success ourselves, or that someone else is responsible.  It may be true that we have had help from others or inspiration to help us deal with a crisis, but the one who loves and serves the Lord, will always see his hand at work – often in the background. I love the idea that there are no coincidences in these matters, but God incidences. When David was in the midst of battle and fearing for his life, he could not see the outcome, but he knew to keep calling on the Lord.  It may be that for a time the end result is not what we would wish in a set of circumstances but God alone sees the whole picture, and even the tragic outcome in human terms of death is not the end for us.  Jesus said: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:11-3 Let us know this truth and

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 talk to you, to trust in you and to be patient in our circumstances.
  • Lord, we pray for all those for whom the vaccine is just too late. Their suffering is over but families and friends suffer the grief of loss. Draw near in compassion and healing. Amen

Saturday, 13th February, 2021

“He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”  Psalm 18:19

It seems appropriate to conclude the week with the beautiful words of comfort and trust in our Holy God by reflecting on Hymn 691 from CH4:

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on your side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to your God to order and provide;
In every change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: your best, your heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: your God will undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake,
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
his voice, who ruled them while he lived below.

Be still my soul, when dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in this vale of tears,
Then you shall better know his love, his heart,
Who comes to soothe your sorrow, calm your fears.
Be still, my soul: for Jesus can repay
From his own fullness all he takes away.

Be still my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief , and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgotten, love’s pure joy restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

I know many readers might have shed a tear over some of the reflections of this week, but I hope that in those tears you will find the blessing of the Lord’s touch on your lives, and the faith to keep trusting him for all that is yet to come. We are richly privileged when we come to the place of committing our all into his hand.

Now let us close the week with prayers for others: I have decided to share from The Guild this week.  I have been blessed by these prayers in January, and encourage you to pray and thank God for all the work carried out by the Guild in Jesus’ name.  I know some readers will have seen them, but if so it is an opportunity to pray again.

A prayer for the hungry

Provider God, we thank you for the breakfast we have enjoyed this morning, food to sustain us through this new day. But not everyone in our community, in our country and across the world can say the same. Help to speak up for those who go hungry today, to take action where we can by supporting food banks, by lobbying politicians and by sharing what we have. We pray for a world where everyone has enough food so as not to go hungry and the resources you have given us as shared more equitably. Amen

Prayer for the NHS

Give thanks to God for His unending love for us even in difficult circumstances….

Psalm 63:3

Loving Father, we give thanks for our NHS medical and support staff working in hospitals and community especially in these difficult days.

We pray, Father, that you will support and strengthen them as they strive to care and support the many patients in their hospitals, hospices, care facilities and at home during this pandemic.

Grant them your wisdom and guidance, care and compassion and equip them in all they do in such difficult circumstances.

Guard and guide them Lord in all they do. Amen

Prayer for education

We pray for all who teach and nurture children and young people:

teachers in nursery, primary and secondary education and in colleges and universities, that both teaching and learning may be fulfilling and positive experiences;

for parents, grandparents and carers involved in home-schooling, that they may have patience and wisdom;

for administrators, classroom assistants, caretakers and janitors, dining-room helpers and meal-providers, that they may feel valued in the chain of care for children and young people;

for the children and young folks themselves – when they feel worried or afraid, grant them quiet understanding and when they seem disinterested or distracted, give them a willingness to learn.

AMEN

Prayer for Mission Partnerships and twinnings

Jesus encourages us to ‘Go into all the world and share the good news’. We are thankful that today we have so many vehicles of communication to fulfil this task especially now on our social media platforms!

Loving God, we pray for our Mission Partners and twinnings with our fellow Christians across the globe. As we share one another’s stories and challenges, we rejoice in the inspiration and enrichment this brings to our prayer and service in fulfilling the task of sharing the ‘Good News’.

A prayer for homeless

We remember in our prayers those who find themselves homeless or roofless, especially in the depths of winter and the grip of pandemic disease.

Help us see the presence of Christ in them and his spirit and grace around them.

May they find shelter and security through the prayers, actions, thoughts and intentions of us all.

Amen

Prayer for victims of domestic abuse (please include children…)

Dear Lord, we call you Our Father.

We know that in certain homes, there is a fear of abuse.

The secret often kept hidden from the world for many years.

May they learn that there are agencies there to listen, there are helplines and refuges.

We pray for those who leave their homes with nothing

and have to start again.

Also for the mental trauma they face.

May they know of God’s love working through those who listen, feed, clothe and help them find a fresh start

God bless them, in Jesus name. Amen.

A prayer for our friends in Malawi

Gracious God, we give you thanks for our brothers and sisters in Malawi. We thank you for the way in which they teach us so much about you and about how we can reach out to our community. We pray Lord that we will be faithful friends and work together to strengthen the Guild in both Scotland and Malawi. Amen