Disciples of Jesus – Praising God – Caring for Its Community

Prayer Booklet 69

Dear Reader,

Welcome to Booklet 69 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.

I am uncertain as to how long we will continue with these notes, but for the time being I feel it is still important to share and encourage one another.  I am planning for a time to return to the format we used in the beginning – a Bible verse, a brief reflection to encourage you to reflect further and ask God to speak to you from the text and then a focus on our earlier list of prayer suggestions.  I believe it is good to vary our approach to encourage one another in different ways and I trust you will continue to be blessed in getting to know God better as we call on him, while reflecting a little on who God is, and our relationship with Him – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

This week we will focus thoughts and prayers on school leavers – future plans and opportunities, especially post lockdown…

I do hope you enjoy the journey with us, and I would be delighted if you chose to share some thoughts by contacting me.  My email address is: christistewart@btinternet.com  Amen

Sunday, 8th August, 2021

This Sunday (8 August), Christians across the country – and further afield – will join together in prayer and reflection at 7pm in response to the pandemic.

Scottish Christians have been continuing to answer the call to pray at the same time each week, and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Lord Wallace, is taking part alongside them.

“We should always be mindful for the wisdom handed down to us from past generations; much of it learned the hard way, from mistakes made and consequences suffered,” Lord Wallace said.

“So, too, we are grateful for the richness that comes to us from living alongside people of other traditions. In our day and generation we must surely allow our minds and hearts to be open so that we can risk getting to know them and learning from them.

“In this pandemic, our responsibility is to come together and offer our prayers for all the many diverse expressions of our Christian faith that enrich life, as we have done for many months now.

“As the statistics appear to move in a hopeful direction, let us not forget that behind each death there will be grieving family and friends; behind each hospitalisation there will be a suffering patient, an anxious family and a caring and skilled medical team.” And behind each vaccination, let us recognise, with thanks, the skill of the scientists’ research and those who make distribution and vaccination possible. Let us remember, too, those in countries who still wait anxiously for vaccines to arrive. May our leaders respond imaginatively and generously to that challenge.

“A pattern has been set for us, lived out in Jesus Christ, made possible by the Spirit. May we follow in His way, and be guided by the one over-riding rule of love in all that we say and do.”

 “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.”

This week’s letter:

“Beware of Imitations!” We are, no doubt, aware of the saying and the implication that we should steer clear of that which is a copy of the real thing. Indeed, in many cases that is wise advice as certain imitations are but a pale shadow of the real thing. On the other hand, we see how a child learns by example and by imitating the behaviour of others. If the example is a good one, the behaviour that follows as a result of imitation will likewise be good.

In the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians, we are urged to become imitators of the good. Indeed, we are urged to ‘be imitators of God’. As those who, by the grace of God, have received the gift and seal of the Holy Spirit, we are called to ‘live in love, as Christ loved us’. As we do so, we become ‘imitators of God’ by the way in which we forgive others, ‘as God in Christ has forgiven’ us. (Ephesians 4: 25-5:2)

We pray:

Gracious God,
In Christ you offer to us forgiveness
And you seal us by your Spirit.
Grant to us that we might become
True imitators of the way of love revealed in Christ
And so represent you to the world.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Gracious God,
In Christ you offer to us forgiveness
And you seal us by your Spirit.
Grant us strength
To put aside all that does not reflect your life
And to learn the ways of kindness and forgiveness.
Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Gracious God,
In Christ you offer to us forgiveness
And you seal us by your Spirit.
Grant us wisdom
To always build up that which is good
And to bring healing in a broken and divided world.
Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Gracious God,
In Christ you offer to us forgiveness
And you seal us by your Spirit.
Grant us integrity
To always speak the truth
And to offer words that are gracious to those who hear.
Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Gracious God,
In Christ you offer to us forgiveness
And you seal us by your Spirit.
Grant to us that, at the last,
We have become true imitators of the way of love revealed in Christ
And so represented you to the world.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Monday 9th August, 2021

“Remember your Creator in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”
Ecclesiastes 12:1

Reflection: This verse does two things.  Firstly, it gives good advice and secondly, it suggests trouble ahead.  I’d like you to think about it alongside an earlier verse in Ecclesiastes 3 where the writer declares; He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” This suggests to me that God provides opportunities to everyone to put him first as they plan out their lives. We can be ready for whatever lies ahead. Let us pray:

  • Father God, we thank you that no-one needs to go into the future alone. We are linked to you for all eternity, but we do need to honour you and welcome you as Lord of our lives.
  • Lord, those of us who learned about your love while still young are immensely grateful. Those of us who discovered the joy of knowing you in later years are also grateful, but often wish we had known you sooner.
  • Grant us hearts, Lord, to remain faithful in prayer for all our young people -especially those known to each of us. Give us a sense of urgency to bring them to you in prayer that they might know salvation through Jesus, and guidance, support and help in all their days from the Holy Spirit within.
  • Teach us how to pray for your will to be accomplished in a world that needs to turn away from selfish conceit to own you as Lord of all – for young and old alike
  • Lord, you know we can be troubled by the selfish behaviour of some young people. Protect us and grant us patience. Amen

Tuesday 10th August, 2021

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Reflection: There is great wisdom to be found in the Bible, which is the word of God handed down from generation to generation.  Life contains many pitfalls – especially to the young people who are beginning to separate themselves from the strong influence of parents in order to make their own way in life. Young people are truly blessed if they learn to commit their way to the Lord in prayer before they make big decisions that affect the rest of their lives.  They are more blest still if they learn young to want to please Jesus in how they live. Jesus suffered so much to bring them into a relationship with almighty God.  Let us pray:

  • Thank you for your word, Lord God, which guides and encourages us while teaching us that we are being kinder to ourselves when we choose to pray and listen to you.
  • Help those of us who teach our young people to truly encourage and inspire them to love you first and then to make decisions for themselves. May we guard our own thoughts and actions so that we are good examples.
  • Lord, you see and understand the struggles and challenges that present themselves to young people. Nothing is hidden from you. Awaken their consciences to respond to your leading and guiding in a better way.
  • Father God, we know it can be a difficult time for young people making decisions that will affect the rest of their lives. We pray for those in the role of counsellor that they will be wise and give good direction to those in their care.
  • We pray again, Lord God, that we will see you blessing us as a people as more of us realise the need to honour you. Amen

Wednesday 11th August, 2021

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139: 15-16

Reflection: The psalmist here is reflecting on the wonder of the absolute knowledge of God, especially about each human being as an individual of importance to Him. It is tragic the way our minds have been confused by the sin problems of the world so that we don’t understand how wonderful this is. In the whole Psalm, David sees this truth as a great comfort – even when we need to recognise our lives fall apart when we don’t give God his place in our lives.  Nothing is a surprise to God. Without God, we do not know what is best for us.  God is ever waiting to redeem us and keep us on the best road for us.  This is the gift of Jesus to us.

Let us pray:

  • Thank you, Lord, that you love us with an everlasting love, and in that love that took Jesus to the cross, we find our salvation, our hope, and our strength for the journey. May we always have confidence in your love and mercy.
  • Lord, forgive us for the way we have caused people to feel lost and vulnerable by our careless words and actions. We fail to understand that many young people are disillusioned because of how they have been treated from birth; because of lack of good opportunities; because they have never heard the gospel of Jesus. Heal our land, Lord God, and grant us a time of blessing as we wait for your kingdom to come.
  • Father God, we ask you to open the minds and hearts of teenagers to know there is a better way than the decision to disregard you. Let them see the wonder of you all around.

Thursday 12th August, 2021

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”Jeremiah 29:11-13

Reflection: I suppose we can be forgiven for doubting these words when we see how many young lives are ruined by bad decisions about so many things such as relationships, work ethic, substance abuse, money matters.   The truth is this is not how God wants it to be, but he offers us free will.  Jesus said, I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10;10

It is clear that if we can encourage our children and young people to get to know Jesus, to trust him and to live in his way, they would be much more satisfied.  Let us Pray:

  • Lord God, help us to show your love to others – especially to young people – so that they understand your love displayed in us, and would long to know you for themselves.
  • Father God, thank you that you are always with us, in good times and in bad. Yet so many fail to see you and know you. We ask you, Lord God, to send people with vision and wisdom to reach out to young people in a way that draws them to you with fresh understanding.  Create a desire in the hearts of the young to seek for you and let them find you.
  • We thank you, Lord, for every young person who has seen the light of Christ and has chosen to follow Him. Bless them and keep them faithful and true in a world where it is difficult to own you as Lord.
  • Teach us who are older to have hearts of compassion for the young, and to commit to praying for your will to be done. Amen

Friday 13th August, 2021

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. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13

Reflection: As I was preparing this booklet to encourage us to pray for our young people, I could not escape from the thought that so many young adults are overwhelmed by a sense of not fitting in; of feeling they have failed; of thinking everyone else is better than they are.  Lack of self-esteem is a cruel emotion.  It often leads to depression which can have dreadful consequences. Let us pray all the more that God will send out his Holy Spirit in a powerful way with His message of the love of Christ and the peace and fulfilment he gives. Do not doubt that the work of prayer is difficult, and that we are asked to commit to it, believing that God will answer.  

Let us Pray:

  • Father God, we are privileged to be called to prayer. Teach us to truly commit ourselves to praying for your name to be honoured and revered in our land. Your word declares that if we humble ourselves and pray then you will hear from heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land. Lord we pray…
  • Lord, we are calling again to you to make yourself known to our young people. The future of our land is in their hands and we would delight to see many finding you through the work of Jesus, and living by loving you and then others in your name.
  • Loving and healing God, please send your help to anyone who is struggling today. Lift them out of despair, in Jesus’ name.
  • Father God, help us to learn again how to live as an example of what it means to love others in Jesus’ name so that our lives speak clearly of you and we draw others to you. Amen

Saturday 14th August, 2021

This week I am quoting the words of a hymn that I learned when I was young.  These words spoke to me often throughout my life – as hymns often do.  Let us pray that many young people would discover the joy of these words for themselves and keep them as a help through all the decision-making times in their life.

CMP 302

I want to walk with Jesus Christ,
all the days I live of this life on earth;
to give to Him complete control
of body and of soul.

Follow Him, follow Him, yield your life to Him –
He has conquered death, He is King of kings;
accept the joy which He gives to those
who yield their lives to Him.

I want to learn to speak to Him,
to pray to Him, confess my sin,
to open my life and let Him in,
for joy will then be mine.

I want to learn to speak of Him –
my life must show that He lives in me;
my deeds, my thoughts, my words must speak
all of His love for me.

I want to learn to read His word,
for this is how I know the way
to live my life as pleases Him,
in holiness and joy.

O Holy Spirit of the Lord,
enter now into this heart of mine;
take full control of my selfish will
and make me wholly Thine!