Prayer Booklet 86
Welcome to Booklet 86 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.
I have chosen to begin with the same prayer that I included last Sunday. I have a reason for this. As I sat down to write this new booklet I found myself thinking about two periods of Advent. At this time of year we celebrate the first advent – the period of time before Jesus was born in Bethlehem. It is a time to reflect on the promises of God that were fulfilled at the time of his birth. For those who know and love Jesus as Saviour it is a time of great rejoicing when our hearts are thankful because we can walk and talk with Him each day and His presence gives us life-changing joy.
However, if we are honest, when we look around, we see that the world still seems to have much darkness in it. Jesus taught that until He comes again (a second Advent ushering in His reign of peace), those who believe His word are called to be His light and truth to those around us. Jesus continues to be our hope while we wait as this Advent Prayer expresses. To help us I have also shared some notes from one of our Prayer Promoters.
If you would like to comment or have a story you would like to share then feel free to contact me: email@example.com Amen
Advent (Some thoughts from Prayer Promoter DD)
At the start of the advent season, a season of expectation and preparation of our hearts and minds for the birth of Jesus this is the perfect time to take stock. Look at where we are, where we want to be, what does God have planned for us, what does He want us to let go of? Some things we can pray for:
- Attentiveness to what truly matters, without being distracted by trivial things.
- Opportunities to challenge ourselves and learn or try something new
- Discernment of how God would like you to set your priorities and the ability to focus on them consistently to fulfil His purpose in your life.
- The grace to be able to rest, become aware of God’s presence, hear his voice and to enjoy time with him.
- Strong relationships with other people in the bond of a loving community
- Peace in all situations, irrespective of their difficulty
- Realisation and appreciation of the unique gifts we have, the blessing we can be to others and the positive contribution we can make.
- Freedom from all that burdens you – past mistakes, fears, destructive habits, hurts others have inflicted, unresolved issues you need to address and forgive.
- Confidence in God’s love for you and trust in His power to work all things out for the best in your life
- Openness to the Holy Spirit’s guidance
- A genuine awareness of God’s grace in your life and the humility to extend that grace to others.
Sunday, 5th December 2021
A prayer as Advent begins (28 November 2021)
O come, O come Emmanuel,
And sit with us as we wait;
Filled with anticipation and longing.
Waiting for a pandemic to end,
For a weight to be lifted,
And the reminder that you are within our midst.
O come, O come Light of the World,
And shine into the darkness;
Bring hope to the hopeless,
And make clear a path for justice.
Give us guidance as we seek your kingdom,
Shine brightly through us as we do your work.
O come, O come Christ Jesus,
And walk with us through each day.
We bring you are fears and desires,
As an offering of all that we are.
We wait with yearning,
To see the world reconciled to you.
For weeping to cease,
The hungry fed, Wounds healed,
Widows and orphans cared for,
And mercy delivered.
O come, O come Emmanuel,
Hear our prayer. Amen.
Monday 6th December, 2021
A year ago I quoted the words of this hymn. It offers a wonderful reflection in Advent as we trust in Jesus. If you can access YouTube you would be able to hear it. Just look for “Sun of My Soul (Shine)” by Kristyn Getty & Sandra McCracken
Sun of my soul open my eyes
As morning fills the skies
You are the light
guiding my ways through the shadows
Shine, shine, Shine, shine
Lighten the darkness oh sun of my soul:
Shine, shine Shine, shine
Lighten the darkness oh sun of my soul
Sun of my soul, steady my gaze
as daylight runs its race
Your Word is a lamp unto my feet,
on this journey…
You’re shining on me in the night
Lighting my darkness
You’re shining on me in the night
Lighting my darkness
Sun of my soul, rest for my heart
As nightfall calls the stars
You are my light, promise of peace
While I’m sleeping
I wish you all to know the blessings of God over this Christmas time, even as we still have issues to deal with. He is Sovereign Lord and gives light in the darkest of days.
Tuesday 7th December, 2021
“5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.” Luke 1:5-7
Reflect: For each of our readings this week, I will share one of my thoughts and my suggestion is that we all pause and ask God to show us what he wants to speak to our hearts as we look forward to Christmas celebrations.
So here is my thought for the week: Zechariah and Elizabeth were in a place of sorrow – Elizabeth had been unable to conceive and this was undoubtedly a source of grief. All she had been taught, she would make her believe that God could have caused her to bear a child yet for some reason He did not. Then we are told “Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.” What a wonderful example of faith and grace. Let us pray:
- Lord God, we know you are sovereign and we worship you – even when we struggle with personal and painful issues.
- We pray for all who struggle – including ourselves – that we may discover your true peace in loving service in Jesus’ name.
- As we celebrate Christmas, we pray that our hope will be fulfilled in knowing Jesus. Amen
Wednesday 8th December, 2021
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,” Ephesians 3:20
“13 But the angel said to him: ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,” Luke 1:13-14
Reflect: When we look at the detail of this story, we discover that Zechariah was praying in the sanctuary when the angel clearly spoke to him. The people were also gathered in prayer outside. God was providing a miracle – the miracle of a son who would prepare the world to receive His Son. God is sovereign and sees the whole picture of his own plans and purposes. We are simply called to be faithful and to trust Him.
Let us Pray:
- Loving and gracious God, help us to understand that our own home can be our sanctuary when we make it a place of prayer and open our hearts to you to give you praise, release our burdens and listen for your voice.
- Grant us your peace in all our circumstances – even when we call out to you for help and the blessing of fulfilment.
- Thank you that you see the whole story while we only see a tiny part. Help us to accept your will and to live in peace with the light and friendship of Jesus each day. Amen
Thursday 9th December, 2021
Zechariah spoke these words to his baby son, John, who became John the Baptist – Luke 1: 76-79
“And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
Reflection: From the very beginning, the plans and purposes of God to grant us salvation have had the purpose not only of redeeming us from a broken world to honour and serve the living God, but also to give us peace. God is both gracious and generous in the way he comes to be with us and to walk with us throughout our life. Just read again the steps that are outlined towards our peace in the above verses and open your heart in thanksgiving for Jesus who gave up for a time the glories of heaven for our sake.
Prayer: Faithful and loving God we thank you for the fulfilment of your promise to send a Redeemer to call us to yourself. We thank you for John the Baptist, who faithfully prepared the way for the coming Light of the World. Help us to prepare room for Jesus in our lives every new day; to have thankful hearts as we receive forgiveness for our sins; and may we be obedient to your call to worship and serve in Jesus’ name. Guide us into the path of peace that He promised. Amen
Friday 10th December, 2021
“There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.” John 1:6-9
Reflection: Don’t you just love the opening to verse 6. ‘There was a man sent from God…’ I read this and I know that our God is Sovereign Lord. This too, like other events of the Christmas season, was foretold centuries before. This was part of the fulfilment of God’s plans and purposes. His purpose was to bring the light of life into the world and that light was and still is Jesus. Can you imagine a world left only to the darkness and disobedience? Humankind on their own could never stem the tide.
I recently read this and thought I would share it with you:
During these dark winter days in the weeks before Christmas, the whole idea of light seems very precious, especially because of the way we use and think of it. Candles in our time have a new significance from the days when they were essential to give light.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for the Light of the world, Jesus. Thank you for the way candles help us to reflect and remember:
Where there is light there is hope; where there is friendship with Jesus – peace and truth.
Christmas is a time for celebrating the special people in our lives. When those we love are no longer near, light a candle, reflect and remember and give thanks for them and look for the comfort and strength of the Lord. Remember to pray for those who do not have this comfort because they do not yet know the light and friendship of Jesus. (You can use a battery candle)
Saturday 11th December, 2021
SOME CHURCH DETAILS FOR PRAYER PURPOSES (Repeated)
From this week, I have removed all the details of individual churches and their groupings. I believe we all know local situations well enough and would encourage you to continue in prayer. The ‘stream-lining’ of churches throughout Presbytery does not sit comfortably with any of us and we must wonder how it has come to this. Let us continue to pray for the situation, asking God to forgive us where we have not been good caretakers of his ministry in a world that needs His light and Love more than ever. I suggest we all pray the Lord’s Prayer over the situation. Take time and make your requests fervently and earnestly to God for His will to be done in these very difficult days for the church and the Testimony of Jesus our Lord and Saviour.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done;
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation;
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power and the glory,
For ever. AMEN
- Pray for the Convener and Secretary of each area group that they will find God’s grace to them sufficient for the task.
- Pray for all who attend any meetings that each will look on the other with understanding, and that anger and bitterness will have no place as people honestly strive to understand the issues and present their situation honestly and openly.
- Pray that all will seek God’s will to fulfil the commission given by Jesus to reach out to others in His name
- Pray that care will be taken to keep the light of Christ shining brightly and strongly across our Presbytery
- Pray God’s grace on all who serve on the Mission Committee
- Pray that ministers currently in service will not be driven from their calling by sheer physical exhaustion; that they will not be over-extended; that they will not be in a situation where they are forced to withdraw from mission activities already in place where these are successfully reaching and touching the lives of many and drawing them to Jesus.
- Pray that people will keep their eyes firmly focused on the Lord, and that congregations will still choose to worship even where there could be sadness about the effect on their area, and the ‘fate’ of church buildings
- Let no-one make decisions for the sake of man’s approval – only to fulfil God’s will.
- Pray for the Mission Development Committee – that they will be able to focus on helping churches to build Mission and Outreach with new initiatives; new additional posts and new funding ideas.
- PRAY FOR REVIVAL ACROSS OUR NATION.
Continue to pray for the following in relation to COP 26 – that our prayers might cause leaders to keep thinking and planning for a better future. The conference may be finished but the work must go on.
- Thanking God for all those who surrounded the COP 26 talks with prayer and praise.
- Thanking God for peaceful protests and almost two weeks of calm and commitment to being heard in a largely peaceful way
- Wisdom that has been shared and positive negotiations already in place
- Pray against meaningless rhetoric and disruption and false promises
- Pray that more will recognise and own that God is Sovereign
May we also pray for all delegates, that they will return from the conference with goodwill and determination to take care of God’s creation – whatever their spiritual or secular beliefs.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6,7
Continue in all your many prayers for God to assist humanity in finding a cure for this awful, devastating illness Amen
- Father we thank you for all knowledge revealed to our scientists and medical people who have worked tirelessly to find ways of controlling and preventing this pandemic of Covid-19. Continue to open their understanding to find new and more complete answers – especially the new strain.
- We thank you for all doctors and nurses who are by now exhausted but still striving to bring healing to those who suffer. Comfort them in those dreadful occasions when they ‘lose’ someone they have been nursing.
- We pray that room will be found in hospitals for all those who need urgent help for other conditions. We also pray that they will be kept safe and free from the virus whilst in hospital.
- Sovereign Lord, you know that the virus is rife in schools and that it spreads like wildfire there amongst staff and pupils – and then into the community around. Lord grant knowledge, understanding and appropriate behaviour patterns to reduce the impact of this illness.
- We pray for all those with decision-making powers in government. Grant them wisdom and grace to make the best decisions; help them to know when to take stronger action to promote safety and well-being.
- Lord God, show those with authority how to make wise financial decisions without bad impacts on those who seriously need support to find basic shelter, food, and heating.
- Compassionate God, comfort those who have lost loved ones, not only through Covid but also other illnesses. Thank you that there is a day coming when we will all be together in your presence. Amen