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Christian worship, sermons, prayer and Bible study from
St. Mark's Church and Putnoe Heights Church, Bedford, England - The world is our parish

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Prayer for week before Christmas

Prayer by Mrs Margaret Appleton

Good and gracious Lord, as we meet together to worship you, we pray that you will grant us a glimpse of your glory so that we may rejoice in your presence and abide in your peace.
Lord Jesus, we remember at this time that you came to disturb the world, and to turn the lives of humankind to God.

You brought

love to those who were unloved
hope to those who had nothing to look forward to
peace to those who were full of anxious daily cares.

But you also brought judgement

to those who thought they were good
to those who were content with their own lives:
to those who looked down on other people and who were sure that they knew everything about God.

We pray that you will come into our lives at this time to turn us all again to you: to help to see ourselves as we really are and to remove from each one of us all that is unworthy so that we may truly share in your kingdom and know the joy of your loving presence.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

Lord Jesus, we pray that you will prepare us for your coming into the world:
that in these difficult economic times you will drive away despair from our politics
that you will revive our dreams of justice and restore our passion for what is right, good and true.
May your love motivate our care for this neighbourhood and for the wider community and help us all to play a part in helping to overcome the social ills that drag so many into despair.

We pray that your love will inspire our citizenship so that it rises above the mediocre.
Too often we have been silent and missed opportunities to share with others the message of love which you brought into the world and we ask that you will give us all an unquestioning faith, the deep faith of Mary and show us a new way to live, so that, with your forgiveness and with an awareness of your presence, we can truly claim to follow you in thought and word and deed.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

Loving Father we pray for those whom we love, our families and friends, special people you have given to us wherever they may be – for those with whom we hope to share this special season, and particularly those from whom we will be apart. We thank you that neither time nor space can cut us off from the love we have in each other and in you.

As the excitement of this special season builds we give you thanks for children. In their enjoyment of this time may they experience the deep joys that you want for all your children and may your love shine in their hearts.

We ask that you will bless children everywhere, especially those in need. Guide and bless all who care for them: parents, child minders, staff in care homes, doctors and nurses. May they all count it a privilege to care for the young people you have committed to them. Where there is deep trauma and suffering we pray that there will be special bonds of love which will help in the process of healing.

Lord Jesus, we pray that you will keep close to you those children for whom this time is one of despair and not joy:
for those in poverty
for the abused and neglected
for those whose Christmas will be devastated by violence and bitterness.
We pray that you will flood their lives with your love so that they know they are not alone: that in all their sorrows you will be by their side.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, as we complete this last hectic week before the celebration of your birth, we pray that you will give us eyes to search the face of the stranger and there see your face. Give us the sensitivity to hear the doubt and hesitation and with that person share their confusions and concerns. There are those whom we know who are ill at this time; in despair or struggling to handle their pain. We pray for them now for you come to us in them and you ask for our love. We give that now as we name them and love them in our hearts………….
What we have promised in love and prayer let us never forget to do.

Father, into your hands we commend all those who have died and those mourning the loss of loved ones.

Jesus Christ is the light of the world, a light which no darkness can quench. We remember before God all those who have died and light a candle to symbolise the light of Christ which eternally shines and brings hope.

May they rest in your peace and glory and share your risen life.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

In our service this morning we have seen how the candles remind us of the joy that came into the world through Jesus Christ. We know that when this season is over the candles will burn low and die out but we rejoice that your true light can never be extinguished from our lives. As our thoughts turn towards Bethlehem grant to each one of us your spirit of love that we may worship as the shepherds did. Let us be open to your coming so that you will truly be born into our hearts. Be with us now and with all who worship you at this time wherever they may be. Help us all to show our gratitude by loving you and those around us – not only at Christmas but every day of our lives.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, Our Saviour, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Let us conclude our prayers by using the prayer that Jesus taught us.




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!