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 2
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. We seek to put aside our busy rushing, and to sense that awe and wonder which comes from an awareness that we are in your presence. Dearest Lord, for us you humbled yourself and lived a human life. We know that you understand our worries and fears, and so we pray trusting in your willingness to share our concerns for ourselves and others.
An Advent Prayer
Lord Jesus forgive us when we live our lives without trusting in your promise that you will come again. Help us to be watchful and prayerful, and living in such a sense of expectation that we use our time modelling our lives on your example. Help us to hear afresh the challenge of John the Baptist to make our lives ready for your coming. May we be filled with an expectancy which causes us to make ourselves ready this Christmas for you to make your home with us. We seek afresh to straighten our crooked paths and may our lives holy places fit for our King.
A prayer for our world
Heavenly Father, our world is facing enormous problems which seem of such magnitude that we cannot easily imagine how we can live at peace. Global terrorism, economic crisis, environmental challenge and poverty and suffering which in some countries we seem powerless to bring to an end. Especially we pray for all of those affected by the terrorist attacks in Mumbai and for all of those affected in South Africa by the cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe. We pray for those who have no daily bread and we are humbled when we seek to possess more, when so many have so little. When we are faced with world problems which are of such enormity, help us never to give up hope, but to place our trust in you for the future.
A prayer for our communities
Lord Jesus you lived an ordinary life in Nazareth, with human parents, brothers and sisters. You understand the difficulties faced in families. We pray for all of those involved in providing support for troubled families and strengthening our community life. Especially we pray this week for those engaged in supporting families. We pray for social workers, those who struggle often with poor resources and lack of adequate funding to provide social welfare. Help us to care more for each other so that the vulnerable are supported and protected. As we draw closer to Christmas we think of those who are concerned about money worries, those who have no homes or who fear losing their homes through lack of finance. In whatever difficulties we face, may our eyes be drawn to your presence amongst us and may we seek your strength to provide the answer to our needs.
A prayer for our spiritual leaders
Lord God, John the Baptist called the people to change their lives and make themselves ready for the coming of your son. Raise up we pray, prophetic voices in our own time. Enable our souls to discern the authentic voices which draw us closer to you. Give us courage to reject those voices which pander to our selfish desires and speak words devoid of your challenge to real commitment. We pray for all those who teach and preach, those who minister to congregations to bring your Gospel truth to life in human hearts. May they be as unwavering as your servant John, as fearless in proclaiming the truth and as willing to suffer for being faithful and true. Enable our spiritual leaders to recognise the validation of their ministry not in the realisation of human ambition, but in the spiritual peace which comes from serving you.
A prayer for ourselves
Lord Jesus we often pray that your kingdom would come. So we ask that your reign in our lives would flourish and grow. Strengthen us especially at this busy time, that we might make time for preparation. In the midst of the rush of life, help us to find inner quietness and an awareness of you presence. Let this Christmas be a time when we concern ourselves not so much with material presents, but rather our spiritual blessings.
A prayer for those sick or troubled
Saviour, may your blessing be upon all those who are in pain or sickness, those who are anxious or troubled. You are always present with us, even when sometimes you seem far away. You are with us when we pass through dark places, close by our side. In our pains and sorrows, in desolate times when we feel perplexed and forsaken, help us to look upon your cross, to see the depth of your love for us. When we are wounded in body or mind, help us to see your wounds and be mindful that you carry our pain. Sustain us in times of suffering and brings us through the valleys of darkness into the light of your presence.
A prayer for those who have been bereaved
Give rest, dear saviour, to the souls of those who have gone from our lives to meet with you. May they no no more pain or sorrow, but only life eternal at rest in your presence.
Merciful father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen
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!