Prayer Booklet 73
Dear Reader, (Again adapted from last year)
Welcome to Booklet 73 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 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.
Once again 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 11. It is particularly appropriate because Jesus himself teaches us about prayer. I know some people worry about whether or not we should keep praying about issues that trouble us, but God clearly welcomes us time and again – not just about big issues concerning the rest of the world, but also about things that trouble us. I trust God that we can all be refreshed and even challenged this week as we look at this chapter.
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
Please read this account from Luke Chapter 11 and join me as we explore some ideas from it in reflection leading us to pray this week.
Luke 11:1-13 – Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer
11 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
“‘Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’”
5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity[e] he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[f] a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Monday 6th September, 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 7th September, 2021
“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray,” Luke 11:1
Reflection: In his human form, even although he is still God, Jesus prayed to God the Father. He needed to keep contact with the Father, and if he needed to do that, how much more do we? His disciples were quick to understand this, and although they came from a tradition where prayer was important, they clearly understood that Jesus had much to teach them about how to pray. We know that the religious teachers had developed wrong attitudes in prayer because Jesus said so. Thankfully, they realised that Jesus was the best teacher and did not hesitate to ask him. As a result he shared the beautiful prayer that we have come to know as ‘The Lord’s Prayer’. It teaches us so much.
Let us pray:
- Lord God, we come to you as your disciples in our time and humbly ask you to teach us to pray – let us understand all that is spoken when we say the Lord ’s Prayer (say it now, thinking about each few words), and teach us how to approach you when we pray. Speak to us as we wait quietly before you…
- Thank you for the glimpses we are given of the life of Jesus, and teach us to transfer the ideas that are important to be carried forward today – especially how to offer worship
- As we would worship your Holy Name, show us how to develop worship and faith into the way we serve one another – especially now as church buildings begin to re-open. Show us how to be church in our communities. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Wednesday 8th September, 2021
“2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.’ Luke 11:2
Reflect and pray:
Let’s continue thinking about these words from yesterday. We began with the importance of worshipping God and honouring his name, which leads us to the hope of seeing ‘His Kingdom come.’ Clearly, we are not seeing his Kingdom around us for there will be no Covid-19 there; neither will there be any of life’s hurts, strains or stresses. However, the more the people of God honour Him, the more we will see evidence of what his kingdom will look like. We all have a part to play – but do not despair, for although we get it wrong from time to time – probably daily, he is ever ready to respond to our request for forgiveness and to let us start afresh in Jesus’ name each day… to love one another.
- 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 – to see your Kingdom come.
- Today we pray with sadness for a world where people have largely chosen to ignore you. May your Holy Spirit find room to move amongst us, to declare your presence and to draw many to worship you. (Pray for those you know who seem to have hardened their hearts – that God will touch their lives.)
- Lord God, grant us hope that you are in the midst of these difficult days, and will cause a solution to be found. Amen
Thursday 9th September, 2021
“ Give us each day our daily bread.” Luke 11:3
Reflect and pray: I have met many people over the years who feel they cannot ask God for things for themselves. I suppose most of us grow up being taught not to keep asking – and yet here is Jesus teaching his disciples to ask every day for the provision of ‘daily bread’. I suppose most of us don’t do that because we have more than enough in the cupboard. So instead of being complacent, let us do three things: Let us thank God for the blessing of enough food and water; let us ask God to show us how to be more caring for those who do not have enough; and let us remember that we daily need to ask God to bless us with the spiritual food each day from Jesus who said: “… I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. “John 6:35
- Loving God, we thank you that one of your names is Yahweh Jireh – ‘God who will provide’. We humbly ask you to grant us what we need and thank you for all that we have.
- Today, Lord, open our eyes to those in need around us. We pray especially for the Food Banks. Show us how to be generous in our giving without being critical of those who find themselves in need.
- Bless those who find themselves using Food Banks with a sense of your loving care through your people in Jesus’ name.
- Lord, draw us to spend more time in your presence – praying and reading your word so that we are more satisfied. Amen
Friday 10th September, 2021
Then Jesus said to them…” I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.” Luke 11:8
Reflect and Pray: Please go back and read the story at the beginning of the notes. Picture the scene in your mind and then really grasp the message of Jesus. It is my privilege to encourage you in prayer – but really I am only drawing attention to what Jesus is saying. Keep on praying. And keep on… Sometimes you may feel you are not being answered (of course we do need to think about what we pray for – and that is another lesson) – but God always hears. We are encouraged to keep faithful in prayer, battling through difficult days, but knowing God is with us as we call out to him makes all the difference.
Let us pray:
- God of Love, God of Mercy, God of Grace, God of Miracles, we continue to plead with you for those we love who are sick and coping with great difficulties (Be specific – bring your loved ones into the presence of God for his healing touch)
- 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 again for hearts to look to you, and to honour your laws for how we should live with one another.
- We humbly ask again 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 11th September, 2021
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you… If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:9-13
Reflect and Pray:
Look back at all the verses between 9 and 13. A careless first reading of these words of Jesus might confuse us and make us think that our prayers will always be answered with a yes and yet as we all know this does not seem to be the case. These words remind me of the psalmist, David, who wrote; “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) David had learned that by putting the Lord God first in his life, other things fell into place and his very difficult days became bearable and led to him praising God – even when he was fearing for his life.
Jesus knew that once his work on earth was complete, the Holy Spirit would remain with all who believed in Him. As we daily ask for his help, so our prayers are more in tune with the Lord and the more we trust him to strengthen and uphold us even in the hard times. We cannot escape the fact that we live in a world affected by sin; a world where many choose to ignore the call of God to worship him; a world where the name of Jesus is only spoken with contempt. For those of us who daily seek him and ask for the Holy Spirit to lead us, we do know his love and his protection as we journey onwards through the hard times to our heavenly home. He is our light and our hope. Let us pray:
- Today, Lord God, we remember that when we come to you we come to you the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – God, three in one, and we are humbled and blessed.
- Today, we are anxious, Father God, because there is no sign of this Corona Virus disappearing – and we keep hearing of it growing again, with more people contracting it and more in hospital. Thank you that you look and see and you hear your children crying out to you. Break through the trouble and strife and send your healing we pray.
- Loving God, Jesus so loved the children and encouraged us to love them also. We believe they are better to be in school for their education and for the welfare many receive from their teacher and support workers. Keep them safe Lord and bless all who care for them.
- Now, Righteous God, we also hear of the plans of some of our leaders to make our young children learn in school about matters – especially sexual matters – that they should be protected from. Lord may the emphasis on their basic learning be so great at this time that these plans are stopped. We know you must be grieved as you look down on this rapidly changing human behaviour and we humbly ask your forgiveness. Turn the hearts of our leaders to you, Lord.
- Father, we know that Jesus has a heart of compassion for all who suffer, and so we pray for those around us in dreadful home circumstances where they just do not feel safe. Grant wisdom to those who suffer to know how to find help and freedom from all such wickedness. May perpetrators of hurt be convicted of their wrong behaviour and seek to change.
- Lord of all, we pray that Our Health Service will cope with the strain of the additional burdens caused by the current increase of the virus sweeping our nation. Strengthen and encourage all who work for the healing of others. Grant wisdom to those who make decisions within our financial constraints that planning will be effective and resources will be well-managed, Amen
I’d like to leave you this week with some thoughts on prayer from Corrie Ten Boom – a lady who suffered greatly during World War 2 in the concentration camps set up for the Jews. She and her sister were sent there because they offered hiding places to Jews in Holland during the war. She saw terrible atrocities and watched her sister die, yet she herself remained gracious to those around her. Her faith was a wonderful inspiration to many, and the story is recorded in her book, “The Hiding Place.” She herself lived until 1983 when she died on her 91st Birthday.
“The wonderful thing about praying is that you leave a world of not being able to do something, and enter God’s realm where everything is possible. He specializes in the impossible. Nothing is too great for His almighty power. Nothing is too small for His love.” Corrie Ten Boom
And now for some words from an old hymn that make a wonderful prayer:
Come down, o Love divine, seek out this soul of mine,
And visit it with your own ardour glowing;
O Comforter draw near, within my heart appear,
And kindle it, your holy flame bestowing.
O let it freely burn, till earthly passions torn
To dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
And let your glorious light, shine ever on my sight,
And clothe me round, the while my path illuming.
Bianco de Siena (15th Century)
‘Jesus, the same yesterday, today and forever…’ Hebrews 13:8