Morning Prayer Meeting – Thursday 27th February 9.00 -10.00 am at Christ Church Parbold
A weekly time of prayer for God’s renewing work in All Saints’ and in Christ Church. All welcome. Come when you can.
February 2020 prayer thought from Wendy
Candlemas has been kept by Christians from very early times. The earliest recorded sermon for the feast is by Bishop Methodius of Patara (Turkey). He was martyred by beheading in 312. From the fifth century Christians have celebrated the day with the lighting of candles to honour Christ as The Light of the World.
It was an important event for Mary. On reading Luke’s account in chapter 2 vs.22-40 I realised how it was shot through with the spirit of thankfulness. Mary and Joseph had travelled the six miles from Bethlehem to the temple in Jerusalem, to fulfil two requirements of the Jewish Law. Firstly, Mary underwent her Purification rite on this the fortieth day after giving birth to Jesus. How thanksgiving must have been welling up within her, to bubble over as she took part in the second rite – The Presentation of Jesus to God, with a blessing from the Priest.
The aged Priest who had received a word of knowledge from the Holy Spirit that “he would not die before he had seen the Lord Christ,” must have rejoiced with thanks and praise as he took Jesus in his arms and blessed God. Simeon’s abiding faith shone through his song of praise now known as the Nunc Dimittis. Joining in the thanks at that moment, was the Prophetess Anna, who served God by worshipping Him with fasting and prayers, day and night. Luke mentions how she poured out her thanks to the Lord, and continued to, as she spoke of the Messiah’s presence.
Prayers of thanks come freely when everything is going well: when duties have been fulfilled; a goal has been reached; or a fresh glimpse of Christ has been revealed. Paul encourages us “to give thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5 v.20. Pause to consider the four words “always for all things.” Is that really possible? There surely will have been times when we have found it difficult to be thankful. Life can be hard especially if we are experiencing pain, sorrow, depression, weariness, fears; or when we are reacting to callous comments or unexpected behaviour from people. We are human! But, we need to know how we can still give thanks even when we don’t feel thankful.
We will find the answer in God’s Word in the words of the Psalmist. He battled with the same troubles and problems that we face. His words in Psalm106 v1 give us an answer. “Oh Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! for his mercy endures for ever.” This is translated in the Message as: “Thank God! And why? Because He’s good, because His love lasts.” The writer does not say, give thanks to God for the things we know are good. No. He says give thanks to God, for He is good. Expressing our thankfulness to God is not optional. It is not something to engage in during moments when we feel like it. We who have received everything from God, can show we are grateful when we pray giving “thanks always for all things.” Remember how we have received His kindness in the past, and so know He holds us in His love always.
Collect Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, light of the nations and the glory of Israel, make your home among us, and present us pure and holy to our heavenly Father, your God, and our God. Amen
Prayer Letter from Wendy March 2020
God reigns in eternity and He is in control all the time. He is present in every situation, and He knows all things. God never changes, neither does His love for me, His love for you. So, we can rely on Him and trust Him to fulfil His purposes for our lives even when things go wrong. We may find ourselves in pain emotionally or physically, or feel that we have come to a full stop. In the midst of such difficulties we are able to rest in God’s love and stay close to Him in prayer. However, it may be impossible for us to produce a spurt of words. Concentration may be lacking, but we can always turn to God and say “Father” as Jesus taught us. He is my Father, our father. Think next, as I did, of other meaningful names God has in the Scriptures and quietly ponder their significance in your life.
No doubt Psalm 23 will readily spring to mind. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.” How comforting to remind ourselves that He keeps us in His unceasing care. Nothing escapes His attention! His concern is for our well being through our acceptance of His provisions, for our faithfulness in following His guidance. The psalms are a never ending source to aid us. take for example the first three verses of Psalm 18. They are David’s heartfelt prayer to God whom he loves. “I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer. My God is my rock, in whom I take my refuge..he is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise.” Note the powerful titles for God. When life appears hard He gives us strength to face each ordeal for He protects us and keeps us safe.
I concentrated on Psalm 40 during the weeks in hospital. Often one line was sufficient to take in and draw closer to God. A number of times I turned to the same verses, for example: v.1. “I waited patiently for the Lord. v.5. “Many O Lord are the wonders you have done.” v.11. “Do not withhold your mercy from me O Lord, may your love and your truth always protect me.” v.17. “You are my help and my deliverer.” When concentration is difficult and words won’t come, just rest in God; thank Him for the blessings of your life and each new day. Also it is comforting to know that others are praying for you and God is honouring their prayers. That is the joy of belonging to His family.
It is so important to trust God and rest in Him, to be positive and hope. Satan wants us to be fearful, to worry, to despair, to think that all is on the downward slope. We must give Him no stronghold. The message God spoke through Isaiah to His people is for us too. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed , for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” 41:10 God is reliable.
There are many different types of prayer. There are some websites and apps below which you may wish to try to develop your prayer life.
Three Minute Retreat
Do you feel that it’s hard to find time for prayer?
Even a short time spent in prayer can help you to refocus and to connect with God. Rev’d Sue and Reader Diane recommend this website which offers a guided 3 minute retreat. There’s a time to pause, a short reading, two questions to get you thinking and a little prayer. You can get it as an app for different types of mobile phone too.
The Prayer Course
In autumn 2019 our sermon series followed the prayer course which is presented by Pete Grieg of the 24/7 payer movement. It is a great general guide to different types of prayer.
Ignatian prayer is a way of praying which sometimes involves imagining yourself in a Bible story and having an encounter with Jesus.
The take time website has some excellent meditations of different lengths which you may like to try. There is a charge on this website after an initial free trial.
United Christian Broadcasters (UCB)
UCB produce a great daily devotional which is recommend by our church. It is a helpful reflection on a very short daily Bible reading which helps readers to apply Biblical truths to their everyday lives. Click on the link below to read or listen to the UCB ‘Word for Today’ They are free to use.
Pause/Pray is a free series of Bible reflections, available as a podcast or download. They include original music, guided prayers and themes related to daily life. A new one is available each fortnight. To stream or download the episodes or subscribe to the podcast go to iTunes or your regular podcast app.https://www.engageworship.org/pausepray
Our Diocesan Prayer.
Heavenly Father, we embrace Your call for us to make disciples, to be witnesses and to grow leaders. Give us the eyes to see Your vision, ears to hear the prompting of Your Spirit and courage to follow in the footsteps of your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. AMEN
This Prayer Page
At All Saints’ Appley Bridge, we believe that earnest, thoughtful, regular and honest prayer is the key to our individual and collective relationship with our wonderful Creator, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If you want to share a prayer or prayers on this page, do not hesitate to contact us with your thoughts. If there is a situation that you wish to bring before God and would like us to be mindful of as a Church family, share it with us. We want to share together what we want to say to Him.