Prayer Booklet 45

Dear Reader,

Welcome to Booklet 45 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, let’s enjoy some of those verses from scripture that lighten our hearts as we look at what God has given us through Jesus his Son. We are into the 2nd week of Lent, which takes us in our hearts to thanking God for his Plan of Salvation.  This plan was brought to fulfilment by the sacrificial love of Jesus.  May we rejoice in his great love for us as we rejoice in our salvation, and determine to commit ourselves to worshipping him more and more, and serving others in His name.

I also trust that you find beginning Monday 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.  (I wonder how many of you have kept a prayer journal and noted from Monday’s reflections all that you praise God for… just a thought.) If you would like to comment or share a story then please contact me: christistewart@nullbtinternet.com  Amen

Sunday, 21st February, 2021

I am pleased to include again the Sunday Prayer recommended by Rev Martin Fair – Moderator of the Church of Scotland. This Sunday (21 February), as more than one million people in Scotland have received their first dose of the Covid vaccine, Christians across the country – and further afield – will once again join together in prayer and reflection at 7pm in response to the pandemic.

As with previous weeks during lockdown, 15 Christian churches and organisations across the country, including the Church of Scotland, have co-signed the letter calling for prayer.

Scottish Christians have been continuing to answer the call to pray at the same time each week, and Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has been taking part alongside them.

“There are some things which make sense for a certain period of time but which come to a natural conclusion – such as clapping for carers during the spring lockdown. Prayer isn’t one of them,” Dr Fair said. “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.” And even better when we can pray across the whole of the Church, unrestricted by denominational divides. “If Sunday at 7pm is in your diary, keep it there. Thank you. If it hadn’t been, it would be great to have you involved. It matters that we pray.”

Call to Prayer: Sunday 21st February 2021 Prayer @ 7pm.

“The beginning of the public ministry of Jesus is recorded in direct and immediate terms in the Gospel of Mark. We begin in Nazareth in Galilee and are then transported to the River Jordan. We see Jesus baptised and then driven out into the wilderness for forty days. The ministry of Jesus then begins as he proclaims: ‘The time has come…The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.’ (Mark 1: 9-15) It is as if the account compresses time in order to capture and express the significance of the moment.

“Our experience of the passing of time over recent months is perhaps unlike anything we have ever collectively known. On the one hand, the experience of lockdown and restriction, and the absence of the rhythms of life, has almost dislocated us from the normal experience of the passing of time. On the other hand, the relocation of worship, work and social interaction to digital platforms has rapidly transformed the times in which we live.

These two things, alongside many others, are happening at one and the same time and we cannot yet tell how they will finally shape future times.

Although we cannot tell how the future will unfold, what we can do is recognise that the kingdom of God is at hand and, in the light of this, resolve to journey with Jesus towards the place of the Cross. The gift of time, in the light of God’s Kingdom, is an opportunity to live out our response to the Good News of Jesus.”

We pray:

God whose kingdom is near
And who knows the times in which we live,
May we hear the call of Your Son
And turn once more to embrace the Good News He proclaims.
In the times in which we live,
Grant us grace to do so.
Lord, in Your mercy,   Hear our prayer.

God whose kingdom is near
And who knows the times in which we live,
Your Son has embraced time
And became truly human for us and for our salvation.
As we face the hard challenges of these days
May we know that we are embraced by Your Son.
Lord, in Your mercy,  Hear our prayer.

God whose kingdom is near
And who knows the times in which we live,
Be with those for whom this day is hard
And who long for respite.
Be with those who seek to bring healing and comfort
And grant them wisdom and compassion to do so.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose kingdom is near
And who knows the times in which we live,
Be with us as we resolve to journey with Your Son
In the days that lie before us.
Whether in the wilderness, or by the living waters,
May we know Your presence ever renewed.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Monday 22nd 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 23rd February, 2021

But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2

Reflection: This has to be a two part reflection.  It would be awful if it stopped with these words from Isaiah.  Isaiah wrote these words 7 or 8 centuries before Jesus was born – and even then he is trying to explain why the people are not feeling the loving presence of God.  God granted him authority to remind the people that their own thoughts, actions and behaviour meant that God could not be their friend.  Paul then wrote his message after the death and resurrection of Jesus, and he wrote: “But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

This all begins with the wonderful truth that God created us to be his family – but from the beginning of time human beings wilfully chose to ignore God. Jesus is God’s plan to bring us back to himself.  When we believe in Jesus, and receive forgiveness for sin, harmony between us and God is restored. We then have his help to live for him.  It really is that simple. Let us pray:

  • Lord God, thank you that our righteousness comes not from within ourselves but from putting our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and receiving his forgiveness for our sins
  • Thank you that this means you will hear our prayers when we speak to you in Jesus’ name. Faith in him allows us to enter your Holy presence.
  • Even as we thank you, Lord God, we continue to request you to bring wholeness and healing to our world. We see the devastation created by Coronavirus, but really so much has needed your healing touch before that.  May we see and know your loving presence in a healing time for our nation. Amen

Wednesday 24th February, 2021

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.John 3:16-17

Reflection and prayer together repeated from October 2020:

As we kneel down at
the cross of Jesus;
Let us bow our head
in humble adoration.
Lord, we see you there – not for your wrong-doing,
But only because of your heart of compassion for all;
Your obedience to the Father’s will is complete, showing
a heart of love for all who long for the peace of God.
We pray for a lost and
broken world still not
knowing you and your
love, light and joy. We
pray for brothers and
sisters in every place
on earth.  Unite us in
love for you; for one
another, and for the
planet which is our
home. Grant us mercy
wisdom and grace to be your witnesses in every situation – even in the continuing pandemic of Covid-19.  May we be an example to others of how to live appropriately, in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Thursday 25th February, 2021

If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’Romans 10:9,13

Reflection: I wonder how many of us were blessed by going to Sunday School from an early age.  The power of learning about faith through singing should never be underestimated.  As I looked at this verse, the words of an old chorus flooded my mind
Romans 10 and 9 is a favourite verse of mine
Confessing Christ as Lord I am saved by grace divine;
For there’s a word of promise in golden letters shine,
Romans 10 and 9. (of course the tune helps but I can’t give you that here).

As we saw in Tuesday’s reflection, God didn’t wait till we were getting it right before reaching down to us in love.  He saw that we needed help and provided it in Jesus.  His grace and mercy are freely able to everyone who calls on Him. He will get alongside us no matter our situation, and once we meet him there, he has promised never to leave us.

Let us pray: 

  • Lord God, in this time of preparation in our hearts to remember Jesus at Easter in our Christian Calendar, we give you thanks for your Father-heart of love and the sacrificial love that took Jesus to the cross.
  • Help us to understand more about why it is necessary to be forgiven for all that would separate us from you. As we understand, help us to share your love with others.
  • Father God, you know we are weary with the effects of Covid-19. We ask you to refresh our spirits and help us to live with the courage and confidence that comes when we meet with you at the start of each new day. In Jesus’ name, Amen

Friday, 26th February, 2021

 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God ” John 1:12

Reflection: I mentioned last week that in my home church we have been studying the Gospel of John.  This verse today is one that our discussion group really took to heart. Can you even begin to imagine what it must be really like to be called the children of God.  There is much media attention given to the homes and lifestyle of Royal Families and even celebrity families and yet what they have is as nothing compared to the joy and peace that awaits us when we are fully embraced in the kingdom of God.  For a start, theirs is truly only a temporary earthly experience.  God promises us an eternity to reign with Christ.  When we say our Lord’s Prayer on a Sunday, and repeat the line ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ we are speaking of a time when those who are redeemed and experience the salvation of Jesus Christ will reign with Him.  Paul writes in Romans 8:17 “If we are his children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

Let us pray:

  • Lord God, you promise your children an awesome future when we become your family because of the suffering of Jesus. Help us to begin to truly worship, praise and serve you now as we realise how much you love us.
  • Lord God, grant us your strength and peace for each new day while our ‘normal’ lives are still on hold. Help us to see and count our blessings as we wait for healing and freedom.
  • Continue to grant wisdom and knowledge to all those who are making a way for us to come through these days and grant your comfort to those whose loss is great. In Jesus’ name…

Saturday, 27th February, 2021

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9

I have chosen a hymn for reflection that gives God all honour and praise for his plan of salvation that reaches out to all who will believe and receive it. If you can access You Tube, you might like to search for it and listen to it.

How can I say thanks for the things
You have done for me?
Things so undeserved yet You gave
To prove Your love for me
The voices of a million angels
Could not express my gratitude
All that I am, and ever hope to be
I owe it all to Thee

To God be the glory, to God be the glory
To God be the glory for the things He has done
With His blood He has saved me
With His power He has raised me
To God be the glory for the things He has done
Just let me live my life and
Let it be pleasing Lord to Thee
And if I gain any praise, let it go to Calvary
With His blood He has saved me
With His power He has raised me
To God be the glory for the things He has done

Some prayer points:

Medical Care: Lord God we thank you for our Health Service – especially for the fact that we can receive the care we need when we need it, without worrying about cost.  Help us to appreciate it and not abuse it.  We thank you for the huge variety of treatments and care on offer to us and we pray for those suffering because treatment has been postponed because of Coronavirus.

We also ask you to be the strength and grace in medical staff who have been working tirelessly to keep the hospitals managing essential emergencies.  It will take a miracle, Lord, if there is not a huge traumatic collapse in many those who have worked so long with little respite.  Be their miracle provider Lord.

Vaccines: Lord God, you are the one who Heals, and we pray that your healing power will be in the development of vaccines that are now working to help prevent further devastation caused by this pandemic.  We thank you for all involved in the development, manufacture and distribution of the vaccines and pray your blessing on the process.

Loving Father, we also pray for poor countries around the world that they may share in this treatment even without money.  Lord there are many people willing to share their resources to enable the poorest countries to receive this healing also. Inspire those who can to share what they have, even as we long to share with others in our own communities.  Help us to see that as we help one, we help all.

Education: Gracious God, source of all wisdom and knowledge, we pray that our education system will be robust enough to support our children and young people as they return to school.  We also pray that support teams will be in place to provide help in every way that our young people require.  We have taken this for granted for so long and now we know how important it is to put children first.  We pray especially for those who have suffered extra trauma by being in homes where they have not been safe. May they be given all the help and care they need to deal with life as they return to the classroom

We ask you to sustain school staff who have been working hard in very difficult circumstances.  Help them to find times of refreshing and renew their joy in serving young people as things return to normal and they meet with them in person again.

Care Homes: we thank you for the great progress made in vaccinating those who live in community care homes.  The tragedy is that so many died without loving families around them, and families have been unable to grieve properly. We thank you for every caring member of staff and ask that they will be blessed as they serve others.  Again, Lord God, we pray the blessing of the comfort you alone draw near to give on all who suffer loss.  May our care Homes become much better homes as a result of the knowledge gained in this pandemic so that all is not lost.

Miscellaneous: Father God, you know our hearts reach out to all those who have found themselves in desperate need.  May your Church continue to worship and praise you, and may we be your hands and feet, and voice in the places where we live.  We pray that people will be drawn to our church communities to find you, and to join with others in worship.  May our land come together to sing your praises.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Now Lord, we pray for our Queen, and all those in government.  Pour out your blessings of wisdom and grace. Amen