Welcome to Booklet 57 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.
Now I have brought us in reflections and prayers to the seashore or the lakeside. I have had much joy during lockdown by being able to walk along the seashore. Sometimes it has been almost deserted and I have enjoyed walking and talking with the Lord – inspired by the wonders of creation and the laws of physics and gravity that hold the seas in their place. I have marvelled at the evidence of living creatures in their own habitats. When our son was at sea- as he was for many years – I used to stand on the beach and trace an imaginary line across the water to wherever he was in the world at that particular time; I would then imagine God holding us together in the palm of his hand as his love reached around the world. In these reflections, however, we will be thinking of Jesus at the seashore. I hope you also keep faith with the reflection and prayer every Monday – to praise God. If you would like to comment or share a story then please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org Amen
Sunday, 16th May, 2021
As for last week, this week’s reflections out before Friday so I cannot include the Sunday at 7 prayer as it is not published in time. Instead I am pleased to include a prayer (with permission) that was written by Reverend Gordon Kennedy for Sanctuary First. https://www.sanctuaryfirst.org.uk.
COME, AND I WILL SEND YOU
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ Matthew 28:16-20
The wind blows from the north and blows round again to the north. The waters rain from the clouds and flow in rivers to the seas only to return to the clouds again. Going may also be coming; being sent is not only one way.
Generating Father, source of all life,
all that we see and all that we can’t see,
springs from your creative purposes,
we worship you.
Apostolic Christ, sent by the Father,
not to a few but to many,
not for some but for all, we worship you.
Sent and sending Spirit, gift of the Father and the Son,
baptising us in your sending,
so that we may be sent, we worship you.
We thank you that your church is unsleeping. Every shore bathed in morning sunrise and washed in evening sunset is home to your children. From every shore rises the song of praise, and from every shore your disciples are sent.
We thank you that you sent disciples out from a small nation at the corner of continents, that they made their way to our distant shores. We are the fruit of their obedience to your sending. We rejoice that we received from you before we are sent by you.
We thank you for all before us who have been obedient to your sending and have gone from our shores to distant lands. May we in our turn be obedient to your sending.
Send us Lord, to distant shores, to neighbouring streets, to next door homes, send us where we are needed to carry your grace. We rejoice to be sent by you.
Being sent and receiving.
Welcoming those you send to us and being welcomed by those we are sent to.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
reveal the authority of Christ in this sending and welcoming.
May we who are sent to all nations,
share in your work of making those to be sent to all nations.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
be present with us always
sending and welcoming in Jesus’ name.
Monday 17th May, 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 so I am continuing into year two with the same reflection and prayers. May we find new hope:
As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more (Psalm 71:14)
Even as restrictions lift, and more have the vaccine, there is still anxiety so 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 18th May, 2021
“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.” Matthew 4:18-20
Reflection: Jesus has just begun the ministry which God had sent him to do, revealing that He was his ‘Beloved Son’. He was baptised by John (his cousin), then he spent 40 days in the wilderness to be tempted and tested by Satan, over whom he won the victory. Now he is walking along the seashore, at the water’s edge. He must have been contemplating the magnitude of accomplishing the Father’s will, but although he is Lord of the universe, he knew he needed to engage others to be alongside him in the work. Clearly he knew from the beginning that he would not be there in person for the generations to come, so he would need others to learn his story and carry it on when he returned to the Father so the first thing he did was call others into service. He called ordinary hard-working men, who trusted him enough even then to answer his call. Let us pray:
- We thank you that when we come to you in faith we are no longer alone, but become part of the plan of God for redemption and salvation, to build a people of power.
- Lord God, help us to be willing to hear your call and to respond. Help us to understand there is always something we can do for you, and that you will enable us to do it in Jesus’ name and for His sake.
- Lord we are blessed when we too can walk by the seashore and reflect on the miracle and power of creation. May we see you there and marvel that you care for us too. Amen
Wednesday 13th May, 2021
“ He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.” Luke 5:3
Reflection: We are told at the beginning of this chapter that Jesus is already being surrounded by crowds whenever he is ministering to the people and teaching them. He is always faithful to showing love and compassion, but sometimes there is a physical need like at the water’s edge to make himself safe from the press of people, so he goes into a boat. Also, sound travels more clearly over water, so Jesus would be more easily heard while teaching from the open deck of the fishing boat. Simon Peter was willing to let Jesus use his boat in this way – which is another great secret to success in ministry. It may seem daunting, but we too can offer what we think of as ours to serve the Lord. He gave his very life for us.
Let us pray:
- Lord God, we long for the days when we see many people desiring to know you, to trust in Jesus and to choose to follow Him. Help us to play our part in our time.
- Help us to understand that all we have is meaningless if it cannot be of use to serving in your kingdom. Help us to share hospitality with a cheerful heart and help us to be willing to contribute wherever we see need.
- Above all, may we reflect the beauty of Jesus in our lives so that others will desire to know you, to become part of your family and in turn to worship and serve in Jesus’ name. Amen
Thursday 20th May, 2021
“Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.” John 21:4-6
Reflection: I love the information here that the disciples did not recognise Jesus. They were tired and despondent because they had been fishing all night and had caught nothing. He was not with them at all times since his resurrection but he did appear to them. How thrilling. And he did call them ‘friends’ and so although they did not recognise him, they did as he asked – and what a reward! In the miracle of the full nets they realised he was the Lord – and rushed to greet Him. If we spend time in prayer with the Lord, we do begin to recognise his voice, and when we trust his words, we are richly blessed. There is joy in his presence.
Let us pray:
- Father God, we thank you that you see us and you hear us as we try to work for you. Thank you that whatever we do has great significance if we commit our tasks to you for guidance and blessing; if we are honourable you will be glorified.
- Help us to be aware of your presence with us and to know that you are enabling us to be the best we can be.
- Father God, we are often like the fishermen and get confused and even do our work in the wrong way because we ‘go it alone’. Teach us to understand that you will direct our paths if we only but ask for wisdom and understanding.
- Bless this prayer ministry we are called to do in Jesus’ name. If we obey your call the results are in your hands. Amen
Friday 21st May, 2021
“When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.” John 21:9-12
Reflection: Let us just ponder 3 simple thoughts from these verses…
- Jesus was already prepared to meet the immediate needs of his disciples when they were obedient to his call in spite of their own tiredness. Immediately they landed they saw the fire he had made.
- Even as they were serving him he was preparing food – and rich blessings – for them. He was cooking fish and bread on the fire he had made. And their catch was phenomenal.
- They knew it was the Lord… The more we trust Him; the more we talk to Him and listen to Him, the less we doubt Him.
Let us Pray:
- Lord and master, we offer ourselves in service to you, and trust you to enable us to do what you ask of us. This includes prayer ministry. Teach us more and more what we should do and how we should pray in Jesus’ name.
- Sovereign God, we know you have planned an eternity of beauty and healing. You have entrusted us to pray so in Jesus’ name we ask you to bring healing across the nations from this pandemic quickly. We sorrow with nations like India and Brazil who are suffering so much. In your mercy send healing.
- We pray you will guide our new parliament in wisdom, honour, justice, integrity and compassion. Amen
Saturday, 15th May, 2021
Enjoy these words as you worship and pray.
Lord, You have come to the seashore,
Neither searching for the rich nor the wise,
Desiring only that I should follow.
O Lord, with Your eyes set on me,
Gently smiling, You have spoken my name.
All I longed for I have found by the water,
At Your side I will seek other shores.
Lord, see my goods, my possessions;
In my boat You will find no power, no wealth.
Will You accept, then, my nets and labour?
Lord, take my hands, and direct them.
Help me spend myself in seeking the lost,
Returning love for the love You gave me.
Lord, as I drift on the waters,
Be the resting-place of my restless heart,
My life’s companion, my friend and refuge.
Words and music by Cesario Gabarin (1936 – 91)
And finally, a prayer from PP Debi (slightly amended) – specifically to encourage us when we are overwhelmed with many burdens – just go to Jesus and tell him there is much on your heart and he will lead and guide you through… Let us each allow God to guide us to pray for what he has laid on our hearts.
Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.
1 Timothy 2 vs 1
First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, requests and thanksgivings be offered to God for all people.
Thank you for the gift of prayer. You have given us a way we can communicate and connect with you and You with us; a way to grow our relationship with you. It is an act of worship where we not only speak to You, Father with our mouths, but also with our hearts.
You are clear on its importance. It is the first thing You want us to do. The first thing we do we when we awaken; the first thing we do when we are afraid, excited, sad or joyful. There is no occasion not to pray. Prayer needs to be our “spiritual oxygen.” And you want us to pray for all people – from those in authority to those deemed to be insignificant – there is no-one we cannot or should not pray, and thank, You for.
When we look at society and the world around us – all the poverty, hate, division, brokenness, injustice we can feel despondent, helpless, overwhelmed or too insignificant to make a difference. This is so far from the truth. Prayer is a powerful weapon that you, God, have given us to disrupt and defeat the enemy’s plans and You expect us to use it. May we be brave prayer warriors for You.
Lord, we commit to praying in every way we know how – petitioning you for things we may need physically or spiritually, interceding and making requests to You on behalf of other people, prayers of thanksgiving for the blessings we receive and all the good things you provide and prayers of adoration and praise to express our faith and our love for You – the source of all love.
Father, we thank you too that our prayers do not have to be “of a certain standard” Even when we don’t have the words we can come before you in a silent prayer and you will hear our hearts. When we are overwhelmed and don’t know what to pray, Your word promises that “the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. “
(Romans 8:26 The Message Translation)