Prayer Booklet 72
Welcome to Booklet 72 of reflection and thoughts for prayer from the Presbytery Prayer Promoters’ Group. For the next 4 weeks they will be based on reflections and prayers from 2020. As usual, let me graciously remind you that we understand that for some of you, you will have your own prayer guides 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, especially where you know someone who has expressed that they struggle with knowing how to pray.
This week, I feel I have been led to continue looking at words spoken by Jesus, and particularly a lesson he spoke that was recorded for us in Luke Chapter 15. I know that many of you reading this will have heard the stories often – especially if, like me, you grew up going to Sunday school. However, I never tire of how God always seems to find new ways to speak to me through his word – even those well-known verses. If you are new to thinking about the word of God, then my prayer is that you will be blessed through these meditations on what God has to say. Of course, one of the purposes of these notes is to encourage us to take time to humble ourselves before God and to pray to him, not just for ourselves but for others, so as usual I will include some prayer points. I hope they are helpful and will encourage you to pray more for those issues that God lays upon your hearts as individuals, and at the same time, may you be richly blessed as you find peace and comfort in His presence, knowing that he loves you, and cares for you. Yours prayerfully, Christine Stewart
Please read this account from Luke Chapter 15, and join me as we explore some ideas from it in reflection leading us to pray this week.
As usual, however, Monday’s reflection will be a time to reflect and praise God for who he is and all he has done, is doing and will do, in Jesus’ name and for his sake. I hope you can find something new and wonderful each week to praise God for.
If you would like to comment or have a story you would like to share then feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org Amen
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering round to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them.’
3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent.
Monday 30th August, 2021
I promised in the first booklet that we would begin each new one offering this reflection and prayer of praise and hope (and remind you of the importance of this in the introduction to this week’s reflections) from Paula Lennox, a member of both the Mission Committee and the Prayer Promoters’ Group:
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 31st August, 2021
“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering round to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them.’” Luke 15:1,2
Reflection: Jesus has been travelling around sharing his message for some time. The people tend to gather to hear him wherever he goes for various reasons. When he speaks, he speaks with authority; when he acts, amazing and wonderful things happen; when he is confronted by unacceptable behaviour he challenges it. Always he is sharing truths from His father above and teaching people how to understand their relationship to God. The religious rulers of the day were treating people with disdain. They were so self-righteous they had long lost the understanding of the role God expected them to have as shepherds of the people. Jesus was about to turn their thinking upside down.
Let us pray:
- Lord, thank you for your word and all that it reveals to us of who you are. Help us to stay close and to learn from you.
- Today we pray for all who lead us in worship in your church. Bless and inspire them to stay close to you and your word.
- We thank you for every form of ministry that has taken place in this very different ‘lockdown’ world and we ask you to reach and touch the hearts of those who listen in to services.
- Teach us how to blend the old ways with the new ways, as we return gradually to opening churches, keeping your word, Lord, and your truth at the heart of ministry.
Wednesday 1st September, 2021
“But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them.’” Luke 15:1
Reflect and pray:
Let’s continue thinking about this verse from yesterday. Our first focus was on those who were failing in the ministry God expected of his servants. They had become self-righteous rulers and had no time for those outside their group. Jesus, however, welcomed ‘sinners’ and spent time in their company –even sharing meals with them – something the Pharisees would never have done. The Pharisees disregarded Jesus, and so missed out on the blessings of being truly with him. This sadly starts when we fail to recognise that sin is shutting God out and refusing to accept that it is a part of human nature so that Paul could write: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23 This is still the message for us today.
- Loving God, help us to understand more how much Jesus loves each one of as he took the punishment for sin on the cross. Help us to turn to him each day and ask forgiveness and help us to live truly as his people.
- Lord God, we are saddened by the people we know who once followed you, trusting your word. Turn their hearts to you again that they might find true joy and peace as they join in worship and in service to those around.
- Help us to honour the name of Jesus, to speak freely of what he has done, and to help others to find their hope in him.
Thursday 2nd September, 2021
“3 Then Jesus told them this parable:” Luke 15:3 (See P 2)
Reflect and pray: Jesus was a master teacher. He used the circumstances of the time to describe scenarios that the people would understand. Here he goes on to describe the true character of the shepherd at work. Look at the detail of this story. The flock is a large one; the countryside is rugged – fields leading to cliff edges – the sheep straying as they looked for the most satisfying pasture. History records of the time show that it was a serious matter for a shepherd to lose a sheep. The good shepherd would not go home till he found it. Family and friends would gather anxiously to await his return and rejoice when he brought it safely home to the other ninety-nine. This is the kind of shepherd Jesus would be – if his human flock would let him.
- Pray for ourselves and on behalf of our nation that God will forgive us for the times we have not responded to His love, or trusted his command to love and to serve as he asks of us
- Thank you, Father, that Jesus has not stopped searching for his children. Through those who believe, his work continues. May we, who love you, never be like the Pharisees in how they treated others – show us how to welcome strangers in.
- We pray for those around us who feel they can never belong – especially when they have been rejected or abused already by family, friends and neighbours. Or have made wrong choices and can’t find the way back. Show us how to reach out in love as Jesus loves us. Give us a new sense of purpose. Amen
Friday 3rd September, 2021
“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:7
Reflect and Pray: There is a huge difference between those who consider themselves to be self-righteous with no need of the Saviour and those who are made righteous by trusting in the death and resurrection of Jesus for their salvation. Heaven itself responds with rejoicing every time someone comes to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus made this very clear in this parable. It is a joy to Jesus himself when someone comes humbly to him to receive his loving forgiveness. Let us pray for our loved ones, our community and our nation that they will discover the joy of repentance and knowing the Shepherd.
Let us pray:
- God of Love, God of Mercy, God of Grace, God of Miracles, work in the hearts of those we love who do not yet know you and draw them to faith in you through Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who is the way, the truth and the life.
- Father God, we recognise that many decisions are made by our political leaders that would take no account of your plans and purposes. We pray for hearts to look to you, and to honour your laws for how we should live with one another.
- We humbly ask you, Lord, to grant wisdom and grace to our politicians, scientists and doctors. Strengthen and support all their efforts and may they be honourable in all they do.
Saturday 4th September, 2021
I share the following notes from the world Mission Council of the Church of Scotland to inspire your prayers. Remember we are praying for his kingdom to come, and a time when the whole earth will be full of his glory. “3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Isaiah 6:3 ‘They’ refers to the same heavenly beings who are rejoicing in Heaven when someone comes to faith in Jesus. I encourage you to keep praying for the people of Afghanistan and Haiti.
A Final Thought for the week…
There is no suggestion from Jesus that those Pharisees who were so judgmental and critical would be refused the salvation offered by Jesus. They were just as likely to be like the lost sheep found by him as anyone else. Indeed, we know from the word of God that some Pharisees did look for a change of heart and attitude. Nothing is too hard for the Lord, and it is the Lord God who encourages us to pray and keep on praying…
Professor William Barclay wrote:
“It is 1000 times easier to come back to God than to come home to the bleak criticism of our fellow human beings.”
There is so much need for us to pray around this issue when we engage in the work of the church in the name of Jesus.
Amen, and may God bless every one of you sharing in these prayers, Christine