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 3
Heavenly Father, as once again we prepare for Christmas, help us to find time in our busy lives for quiet and thought and prayer, that we may reflect upon the wonder of your love and allow the story of the Saviour’s birth to penetrate our hearts and minds. So may our joy be deeper, our worship more real, and our lives worthier of all that you have done for us through the coming of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
We pray for the church:
For the Christian family who will be celebrating this festival in so many different ways, and for those who dare not celebrate openly.
For Christians in countries where there is persecution.
For Christians in our own country, with whom we will share our celebrations
For our Church family.
Grant that all who come into our church this Christmas time may
be enabled to renew their relationship with you. Help us all to be glad of your
presence, and to rejoice at the coming of Jesus.
May your blessing be upon all who worship with us, give us grace to live as faithful members of your family, that we may learn each day afresh to love and serve you
Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer
We pray for Peace:
Give peace to the world
Give peace to the victims of war, the refugees, the widowed and the orphans.
Give peace to family and friends; to those who have quarrelled and need to be reconciled.
Give peace in our own divided hearts.
We know that without justice there can be no peace. Let peace
come when all people are respected, regardless of race and religion. Let peace
come when trading weapons of mass destruction is a crime. Let peace come when
the earth’s resources are used wisely for the common good. Let peace come when
money is used to serve and not enslave the world. Let peace come through the
transformation of our lives that we may do justice, love and kindness and walk
humbly with our God.
Your Son came as the Prince of Peace and brought a message of Peace for all people. Help us to be Peacemakers in our own homes, at our work or wherever we meet people, so that the peace and goodwill of Christmas can find a place in the hearts of all people.
Lord in Your Mercy
Hear our prayer
We pray for people in need
We pray for homeless people and for refugees who have no country
to call their own. Let your blessing be with those who work to help the homeless
this Christmas, and give to all of us the determination to help where we can.
We pray for people who are lonely, those who are lonely because they have lost a partner, those who are lonely because no-one seems to care, those who are lonely because of handicap or illness. Let your presence be with those who are alone at this season of friendship and may we take your friendship to those whom we know will be alone this Christmas.
We pray for those who are ill
We pray for friends and family who are ill at this time, and
remember them in the quietness of our hearts. We bring them to you in the
confidence that you love them and know their every need and that your healing
power is still the same today. Bless all that is being done for their recovery
and answer our prayers as you see best
Jesus Christ is the light of the world, a light which no darkness can quench. We remember friends and family who have died and light a candle to symbolise the light of Christ which eternally shines and brings hope. We remember today
Help us to experience the comfort of the Holy Spirit within us, and the fellowship of the church family around us until we are reunited once more in your heavenly kingdom
You turn our darkness into light in your light shall we see light
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!