Prayer Booklet 91
Welcome to Booklet 91 of reflection and thoughts for prayer from the Presbytery Prayer Promoters’ Group.
We are well into 2022, and many of us probably started the year knowing more people suffering in some way as a result of the Covid Pandemic. Sadly, if you are like me, you probably know family and friends who suffer other tragedies at this time. Only yesterday two dear friends admitted that they sometimes wonder if God is hearing their prayers. It is natural to feel despondent sometimes and yet when we come to God in faith something in our inner being knows that He is there, and we stubbornly cling on to hope. This is His Holy Spirit at work.
It is also true that to know and trust the word of God is an excellent way to strengthen our hearts. Wonderful words keep coming to mind e.g.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” Psalm 34:8
“If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 1 John 4: 15-16
A wonderful strength comes from trusting God to be with us always in every circumstance. Let us hear this week from Paul who endured so much for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He offers us a wonderful picture of a strategy that helps us in every circumstance – and it is all founded on a prayerful relationship with our living and loving God. This week, I leave you to bring your own prayers and to pray for others as God inspires you following these brief meditations.
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
Sunday, 9th January 2022
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 Take the helmet of salvation
and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
The little picture I have inserted is a poor copy of a wonderful banner that was created by our Boys’ Brigade in 2011 when the Leaders asked our Banner-making team if they would involve the boys in a project. It illustrates perfectly that being a Christian is being a soldier in God’s army to fight against sins such as injustice, dishonesty, lack of integrity, self-righteousness etc.
All of these things spoil God’s plans and intentions for all that is good. However, it also clearly demonstrates that our strength, guidance and protection as we serve in the name of Jesus comes from God alone. We particularly need His protection when we do battle in prayer – for it is there that we stand firmly against the tricks and wiles of the devil.
To go back to the opening page of our booklet, it is by wearing this full armour of God that we can cope when our world seems to be crashing about us and we understand Paul when he writes: 13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
Prayer: Loving God, Captain of heaven’s armies, grant us an understanding of how to be faithful in prayer, in Jesus’ name.
Monday, 10th January, 2022
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, “ Ephesians 6:14
Reflect: Sometimes it is easy to halt our prayers and worry that by praying and claiming to seek God we are being self-righteous. Jesus certainly accused the religious leaders who made a great show of public ‘praying’ (Luke 18:11) of exactly that – but it was the nature of their prayers that was the issue. Coming into God’s presence with the belt of truth and breastplate of righteousness is the opposite – it takes humility and brokenness to kneel at the cross and become righteous through the sacrificial death of Jesus. May people claim they have no need of God, many claim they live good lives and have no need of Jesus, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. Then in 2 Corinthians 5:21 we read “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
When we live in the good of these truths we can sing whole-heartedly about God’s ‘Amazing Grace’.
Pray: Gracious God, help us to come to you with confidence and thanksgiving – wearing the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness. These garments enable us to approach you in prayer and protect us from doubts and fears as we pray. Hear us as we praise your name; as we ask you to show us how to serve and how to pray for others. Holy Spirit, guide our thoughts and prayers this day… In Jesus’ name, Amen
Tuesday, 11th January, 2022
“…and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:15
Reflect: When Paul wrote these words about picturing the Christian in full armour being devoted to God’s service and prayer, he was experiencing imprisonment and knew what it felt like to be chained to a Roman guard dressed in his uniform. As he often did, he used his experience to transform his thinking to positive applications. He understood more than most that there was such a battle going on in life to create struggles for people of faith – particularly to draw us away from our commitment to be ‘Soldiers of Christ’ in a broken and fallen world. There are always going to be ‘enemy’ attacks on faith throughout life.
The Gospel of Peace comes to us first from Jesus, who promised his followers peace. In John 14:27 Jesus is on record as saying: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” The peace of Christ underpins our lives in every situation – it does not depend on the quality of our circumstances – it entirely depends on our faith in Him. This peace enables us to serve others in His name with confidence.
Pray: Loving God, we thank you for the peace that comes when we trust Jesus for our salvation and see our lives now as a journey to an eternal future with you in your Kingdom of Justice, Mercy and Love. Help us to be faithful servants, ever ready to share the gospel of peace with those around us. Give us a deeper understanding of how to live in the joy of this peace. Amen
Wednesday, 12th January, 2022
“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Ephesians 6:16
Reflect: A little bit of study teaches us that the word Paul used for shield here is for the great oblong shield that could be held in front of the whole body. This is a reminder that wearing the full armour of God is not an easy thing to do. Those shields were heavy – soldiers had to be trained to be able to use them. Never under-estimate the work we do when we engage in prayer – not only for ourselves but for others. We are engaging the enemy of God’s work. It is an honour to be called to prayer. The fiery arrows were real and vicious weapons – and the same is true of the forces of evil that come against us. The shield of faith is an important part of our armour to help us fight temptation and also to protect us from giving in to situations not of our making. The shield of faith helps us to remain strong in our commitment to service and prayer. When Paul talks about faith, he always means complete trust in Christ Jesus.
Pray: Sovereign Lord, we confess that sometimes the mysteries of faith are daunting. Help us to simply trust you. We thank you that you have entrusted us to serve you in prayer. We thank you too, that your Holy Spirit teaches us and guides us and when our hearts are too heavy to find the right words, “the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8: 26, 27)
Thursday, 13th January, 2022
“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17
Reflect and pray: This verse in the description of the armour of God fills me with joy. I love the thought of wearing salvation like a helmet – it speaks of more than protection when we engage in service for the Lord – it speaks to me also of the warmth of the love of God. We know his love best in the gift of Jesus, but also in the word He has given us, filled with promises that remind us he is righteousness, justice and mercy – He is our faithful God. When He calls us to love and serve Him, we are not left to our own devices for He is always with us.
And then, we do not go into any battle on our own. We need to be prepared by reading His word. We do not choose the weapons against sin; we depend on the word of God which is described in Hebrews chapter 4: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Pray: Lord God, teach us how to worship you in Spirit and in Truth. Help us to know that to be bound to you by cords of love means that we are one with you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit – who will lead us in all truth and teach us if we give you space in our lives to do so. Help us to examine our hearts in relation to you and to one another – help us to love in Jesus’ name. We should find it easy always to love each other, to see them through your eyes. Forgive us when we fail. Amen
Friday, 14th January, 2022
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18
Reflect and Pray: Paul finishes his teaching on serving God by wearing his full armour with this amazing call to prayer. Read this verse again…and again. Paul was sent by God to take the gospel out into the world beyond the place where Jesus lived, died and rose again so that all might come into the good of the salvation he offers. He was gifted by God to lead and to teach those who came to faith. He knew what it was to depend on praying and also on the prayers of others – keeping in the shadow of God’s presence at all times. He reminds us to pray “on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” He also reminds us of the importance of praying for one another.
Don’t let his reference to praying ‘in the Spirit’ be daunting. Jesus teaches that the Holy Spirit is our Comforter, and it is by acknowledging the Spirt of God at work in our lives that we are assured that we are praying to the Living God, majestic and sovereign God.
Pray: Forgiving and faithful God, we thank you for the lightness of spirit that you grant to us when we kneel at the cross and receive the forgiveness offered by Jesus. Help us to forgive others in His name and show us how to share the light of your love in our everyday lives. Show us how to pray for ourselves and for others. Let us commit to this as part of loving and worshipping you because you first loved us. Amen
Saturday, 15th January, 2022
Soldiers of Christ, arise,
and put your armour on,
strong in the strength which God supplies
through his eternal Son;
strong in the Lord of hosts,
and in his mighty power;
who in the strength of Jesus trusts
is more than conqueror.
Stand, then, in his great might,
with all his strength endued;
and take, to arm you for the fight,
the panoply of God.
To keep your armour bright
attend with constant care,
still walking in your Captain’s sight,
and watching unto prayer.
From strength to strength go on,
wrestle, and fight, and pray;
tread all the powers of darkness down,
and win the well-fought day,
that, having all things done
and all your conflicts passed,
you may o’ercome through Christ alone,
and stand complete at last.
Charles Wesley (1707-88)
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.
- 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
Prayers for Churches:
- 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.
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 and ever. AMEN