Christian worship, sermons, prayer and Bible study from
St. Mark's Church and Putnoe Heights Church, Bedford, England - The world is our parish
Prayer for Advent 1
Give us now a sense of your presence Lord, as we bring our prayers and requests to you, and enable us to open our hearts and minds to you.
First, a prayer for our world
Almighty God, it is your will that all nations should live in harmony and understanding with one another. We ask you to look mercifully upon the world of our day and heal the sorrows and sufferings of all mankind. Save the nations from the lust for power, from racial hatred and jealousy and from the worship of material things.
We think particularly today of troops serving overseas away from their families for Christmas. We pray that a peaceful solution may be found and seek wisdom for governments as they negotiate on behalf of their nations. Grant Lord, that in every land the rule of tyranny may be broken, the cause of righteousness may triumph, and all people learn to serve you in peace and freedom.
We pray too for our own political leaders, for the United Nations and all on whom rests great responsibility at the present time. Give them wisdom to make the right decisions, courage to fulfill them and perseverance to continue their efforts to establish peace and promote the welfare of all humanity, to the glory of your Name.
A prayer for children
Lord Jesus, you enjoyed the happiness and security of your home in Nazareth and in your ministry gave your blessing to little children. We ask that you would hold all the children of our churches and families in your love and protection. May they, through the guidance of families and of your church grow up to love and serve you. Help them in their days of dependency to learn how to share with others and so be ready to take their places in the world.
We ask too for your love and protection on all children who are unloved or unwanted, those who are abused in any way or have come under the influence of drugs, and we remember children of other lands who are recruited for war, taught to fight and encouraged to hate others. Have mercy upon them, and lead us all in the cause of peace in the world.
We pray now for those who live alone
Be with them, Lord, if they are separated from loved ones by bereavement or in a solitary life, chosen or enforced. Let their inner resources of love be strong enough to withstand the isolation or loneliness.
Help us all to love, and by our love to transform the unlovely.
Inspire us to use our influence in releasing the resources of society for those who are lonely, weak or underprivileged.
We ask in the Name of Him who came among us with a love unconditional and everlasting.
A prayer for our churches
We ask your blessing on our churches Lord, and we pray for all who serve in different areas of your church. We ask your special strength on all ministers engaged in services in the busy days coming up to Christmas.
We ask your blessing on all who serve your church in any way.
We thank you that within the family of the church we find friendship and we are grateful for the prayers and support of Christian friends around us. The comfort of that friendship gives us strength and as we find these joys in our own lives, may we give that joy to others, and may our thankfulness be expressed in deed as well as word.
A prayer for those who are ill
When we are ill, Lord, it is easy for us to become frightened. It is frightening when we don't know what is wrong with us and fear it could be serious. Sometimes pain is frightening because we are not used to it and can't stop it. Sometimes, especially as we grow older, weakness is frightening because we feel we shall never be strong again. We pray for all who are sick, in pain, or frightened for any reason.
In a moment of silence, we bring to you those we know who are unwell . . .
And we remember before you those known to us who are hurting but are not able to accept you as a loving Father or to lean on you in their distress.
We ask too that you would comfort those who have been bereaved. Jesus Christ is the light of the world, a light which no darkness can quench. We remember before God those who have died and light a candle to symbolise the light of Christ, which eternally shines and brings hope.
Merciful father accept these prayers
What is Prayer ?
When people close their eyes and pray. What are they
actually doing? When people light candles and offer a thought to God
what is taking place?
Christians do not believe that God needs to be alerted to the needs of people, or begged, coaxed and pleaded with if he is to do something about their problems. What sort of God would only make people better if and when enough other people asked hard enough? And what would it say about the infinite value of each and every person?
Prayer is not a shopping list, neither is prayer about grovelling before a God who is like a fearful tyrant.
In our prayers we bring our deepest feelings to God and share them. To pray is to express our most profound longings. To be continually awe-struck by the world is to pray, in that it helps our souls to fly. To be aware of our failings is to pray, in that it helps our souls to grow. To be thankful is to pray, in that it helps our souls to shine. None of these attempt to change the world, all of them reflect the fact that we have spiritual needs which only prayer can satisfy.
Prayer is the means by which Christians communicate
with their God. The New Testament records that Jesus taught his
disciples how to pray and that he encouraged them to address God as
Father. Christians believe that they continue this tradition.
Sometimes the prayers are formal and part of a ritual laid down for
hundreds of years. Others are personal and spontaneous, and come
from personal or group need.
Whilst prayer is often directed to God as Father, as taught by Jesus, some traditions encourage prayer to God through intermediaries such as saints and martyrs. Prayers through Mary, as the mother of God are central to some churches and form a traditional part of their worship. It has been said that there are as many different ideas about prayer as there are people to pray. But what is certain is that prayer is nothing less than the foundation of the spiritual life, and we need therefore to ‘pray without ceasing’, as St Paul put it, with such reflection being as natural as breathing - and almost as important!