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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

  Prayer for Ordinary 33 - Parable of the talents

In this week we consider the Parable of the Talents

O Lord Jesus, before whose judgement seat we must all appear and give account of the things which we have done: grant, we beseech thee, that in that day the faces of they servants may not be ashamed. St Columba 

Lord Jesus we ask that you would, by your Holy Spirit, lead us to discover the good purposes which you have for our lives in your service.

Forgive us when we are self-centred, and unresponsive to your guidance. Sow the seed of your love in our hearts so that we might become urgent in the task of discipleship and aware of the needs of others.  Let our minds be alive to you, that our thoughts would follow your holy will. May our mouths speak those truths which our world so desperately needs to hear. May our hearts be filled with courage so that we would go out fearlessly to minister in your name wherever there is need. My our wills be conformed to your purpose so that in serving you we might find that peace which surpasses understanding.

We pray for our world in which there are so many damaged lives and fragmented families. Especially this week we pray for children, entrusted into the care of adults who betray their trust. In their vulnerability and innocence, guard your children and grant them your protection. We pray for professionals engaged in the work of caring for children, that they would always be diligent and careful. May they be wise in recognising signs of abuse and neglect. Give to organisations and charities involved in meeting the needs of children, a constant commitment to providing safety to all children. Help us never to comfortable until we have sought out the little ones who suffer pain.     

At this time of great economic upheaval we pray for all of those who are worried about unemployment. Lord God, you worked for six days before you rested. You enable us to enjoy a sense of purpose and personal value from the completion of work in our communities. As we see the numbers of unemployed rise reported in the news, forgive us Lord whenever we think of this problem in terms of just numbers. Remind us of the pain which is felt in human hearts when people lose their employment. Give great wisdom to those entrusted with the ability to make decisions which affect our economies. Empower world leaders that nations may work together to find global solutions to this financial crisis which affects all countries.    

We pray for the elderly. Heavenly father may we be ever mindful of those who have reached the autumn time of their lives. With so much experience, wisdom and knowledge, we pray that they would never disparage the contribution which they have made and continue to make to our families and communities. Old age so frequently means that we rely more upon others and there is a loss of independence and freedom. At this time may we ensure that our elderly are considered worthy of dignity and respect. So many people involved in caring for the elderly receive low wages and poor employment conditions. We pray that they would receive the recognition which they deserve and our gratitude for their commitment to others.

We pray for those who are sick at this time, those receiving medical care and those who not able to access adequate facilities. Lord Jesus you possess a healing touch. Empower those who have the task of exercising care for the sick. Deliver our sick ones from the pain of illness and disease. In our brokenness may we discover your wholeness in body, mind and Spirit.  

We remember those who have died.


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!