Christian worship, sermons, prayer and Bible study
The world is our parish
Ordinary 33 Year A
Each week we offer prayers to help focus our minds on issues of importance. May God teach us to pray and by his Holy Spirit enable our prayers to be answered.
We are what we pray...
Dear Lord in a week of financial turbulence we pray for our endangered economies around the world.
We remember those who will be hardest hit by the fall out from the collapse of stock markets. People who are concerned about job security, those who fear the loss of their homes and savings. We pray for those who have no security and depend upon the giving of charities and aid agencies, who will find it increasingly difficult to raise funds for important causes around the world where life is endangered. Forgive us our greed which causes so many of the world's problems. Those who are truly rich are those who have learned to enjoy life with few possessions and be contented with what they have. May we learn to live simply and place value not on material wealth but upon the really important things, such as the love of our friends and family. Give wisdom and integrity to the world leaders as they seek to develop global strategies to deal with the problems which affect the economies of every country.
We pray for all of those this week who are vulnerable and afraid.
We are mindful of people living in circumstances of domestic abuse, fearful each day and not knowing to whom they should turn for help. Give them courage to seek refuge and the strength to walk away from situations which have placed them in danger. We pray especially for women and children who are victims of violence and intimidation. Lord God you promise to walk with us when we are in situation of danger. So be with those who are afraid and give to them the knowledge of your loving presence in whatever difficulties they face.
In our bible readings this week we remember the call to meet with Jesus the invitation to enjoy his celebration.
So we pray for all of those engaged in the work of mission, seeking to spread the good news of God's love. We pray for all Christian people called to be living examples of God's great love for humankind. May we live attractive lives which draw people to know the goodness of God in a world where so often there is fear and despair. We remember those who witness to their faith in societies where it is dangerous to openly declare the Christian conviction. We are humbled by the sacrifice and commitment of those prepared to die for their faith, as we consider our own weak efforts. So we ask Lord Jesus that the fire of your gospel would so burn in all our hearts that many would hear the story of your wonderful life and death. May you through us draw all people into your kingdom, that every knee would bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
A prayer for those who are in need in body mind or spirit.
Lord Jesus you cared for the sick and the troubled. You gave time to those who others ignored and you reached out those who considered themselves insignificant. You care for the sparrows, yet we fail to trust in our hearts how deeply you care for us.
When we are tempted to think that somehow the things which trouble us are unimportant to you, forgive us
When we dare to imagine that you have any part in the bad things which affect our lives, or that you would use them to punish us, forgive us
When in the times of darkness we forget that you are our closest friend, forgive us
So dear Lord may the knowledge of your compassion bring healing to the broken places in our lives. Trusting in the power of your love may we live each day in your presence to bring wholeness to our souls, even in the presence of our human weakness and suffering.
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!