Pray Without Ceasing
The President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Ken Howcroft and Ms Gill Dascombe, are asking Methodists to spend some special time in prayer for persecuted minorities today.
They have written this special prayer for use by churches and groups:
God of love, guide us as we pray.
God of all nations and peoples, hear our prayers for the people of Syria and Iraq, and for all whose lives are torn apart by hatred and violence, whose heartbreak is more than we can imagine:
God of compassion, guide us as we pray.
For leaders and politicians and those who seek to negotiate for peace, whose responsibility is more than we could bear:
God of wisdom, guide us as we pray.
For aid workers, medical staff, those who care for refugees, orphaned children and older people, whose daily workload is more than we could tolerate:
God of goodness, guide us as we pray.
For those who feel compelled to accomplish their justice through warfare or terrorism, whose motivation is more than we can comprehend:
God of justice, guide us as we pray.
For ourselves, who look on, devastated and helpless, praying to our God whose peace is beyond our understanding:
God of peace, guide us as we pray.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: Amen.
“The situation in Iraq and Syria can only be described as a living nightmare,” said Mr Howcroft and Ms Dascombe, adding, “as Methodists we stand in solidarity alongside all those who are persecuted. As followers of Jesus who was crucified we stand with all those who find their religion twisted by others out of all recognition in order to justify horrific acts of violence. We stand in prayer, crying out together to a God of justice, peace and mercy. May God have mercy on us all.”
Pray without Ceasing
Please remember this week:
- to give thanks for the achievements of our young people in their GCSE, AS and A Level exams; may they go forward with confidence into the new academic year, “growing up” like Jesus “in both body and spirit, blessed by both God and people” - their parents, teachers, and friends
- our sister churches in this part of our Ecumenical Area - in Morpeth, Bedlington, Stakeford, Ashington, and Newbiggin, their ministers and leaders and the joy of worshipping together this afternoon at Stakeford (4 pm)
- giving thanks for the invaluable work of food banks, we pray for the development of partnerships with debt- and money-management charities offering professional counselling services to people seeking the “first-aid” offered by the food banks [see Methodist Recorder 22/08/2014 p.2]
- ministers and their families moving this month into new circuit appointments, manses and communities; giving thanks for their dedication and for welcoming congregations and neighbours
- as we witness the savagery of extremists in the Middle East claiming to honour God (Allah) and of the Nigerian Army’s murderous “reprisals” as they “hunt down” Boko Haram, [ www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/4od ], we pray that God will bring them to judgement and requite their victims with justice and comfort and heal to their stricken families and communities
- the Methodist Relief and Development partner ALL WE CAN campaigning with the Climate Coalition to persuade political leaders and governments to take climate change more seriously than ever, with its threat to the livelihoods and viability of millions of people and communities around the world [read Methodist Recorder 22/08/2014 pp 8&9]
- to praise God for Greenbelt Festival this week refreshing, challenging and inspiring thousands of Christians to “Travel Light” in their daily walk with Christ in today’s world [ http://www.greenbelt.org.uk/festival/2014 ]
Please remember in prayer this week:
- our Christian brothers and sisters in Uganda and in nations all across tropical Africa seeking to spread the good news of Jesus in their communities through health care, social development and education, as do our friends at Kamuzinda and The Molly and Paul Foundation Schools and Villages from whom we shall shortly welcome the Pearl of Africa Choir
- to praise God for friends recuperating from surgery and serious illness, among them Revd Gary, Val Donaldson, Genevieve, Gene Groves, Una Carrick; please continue to remember them in prayer
- Christians and people of other faiths persecuted and driven from their homes, resolute in their suffering; and praying for their persecutors possessed by bigotry and lust for power
- that God may awaken the nations to the global social, economic and political injustices that fuel extremist jihad especially across Africa and the Middle East; giving thanks for those brave enough to expose and oppose corrupt complacency or collusion among the rich of every nation and the grinding poverty, despair and - too often - hatred that results
- to thank God that being “members one of another” [Romans 12.5] in Christ and so of each other’s churches it’s our privilege to pray for our Christian friends at Alnmouth, Amble, Hauxley, Broomhill, Widdrington and Pegswood, for their leaders and ministers as they do for us: helped by the Preaching Plan week by week
O God, whose will it is to fold both earth and heaven in a single peace; let the design of your great love redeem all our and anger and sorrow; and give peace to your people, peace among the nations, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts; through your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. [E. Milner-White, 1933 - in this week’s Methodist Recorder Prayer Call]
Please remember this week:
- as we are alerted to the spread of fatal infections like Ebola viral disease in West Africa, [http://www.msf.org.uk/article/ebola-my-last-day-isolation-zone ] we pray too for the many millions in need of prevention and treatment of “old” diseases, e.g., leprosy, TB, malaria and HIV/AIDS; and give thanks for researchers and medical teams dedicated to their eradication
- to thank God for the calling to ministry in our Area of the Revd and Mrs Greg Thompson and Revd and Mrs Jim Magee and family and to pray that they may quickly feel at home in the communities and churches preparing to welcome them
- the dear parents of Jan Bronsema in their frailty needing much more support from social and medical services in Sierre; pray that Jan may soon be able to arrange more support for them
- other frail elderly people in our neighbourhood, at home and in residential or nursing homes, and their carers - all in need of loving respect and loyal companionship in old age
- as we give thanks for the fragile truce between Israel and Hamas and those negotiating a permanent peace, we pray for the thousands of now homeless and traumatised people in Gaza and their rapid relief through many agencies working together to restore vital health services and public utilities
- to give thanks for the mutual encouragement in serving our communities we enjoy with our Area churches at Seaton Delaval (Elsdon Avenue), Seghill and Annitsford praying for their leaders and ministers, Revd Yvonne Tracey and Revd Malcolm Sellars, giving thanks for the fruitful ministry of Malcolm and Pam as they now move into retirement
- Scotland and its people at this time of referendum and ask for wisdom and discernment as we look to the future.
Please remember this week:
- our minister, Revd Gary Ridley, seriously ill in York hospital following recurrence of biliary disease; praying for his recovery and comfort for Debbie and their family; and Genevieve, praying for her swift recovery and those again caring for her in the R.V.I, Newcastle
- as the war in Gaza claims more and more lives, pray that the root causes of the conflict may be repented of by all parties: the ongoing occupation of Palestinian territory and Israel’s blockade of Gaza together bringing untold suffering to all its citizens [see also www.msf.org.uk ]
- to praise God for our fellowship in worship and witness with St George’s URC and for what all Morpeth churches can do together to show Christ’s love in our community
- with our partners at Kamuzinda Christian Victory Church, Uganda, to praise God that Bishop Daniel has been given a car for his ministry among the growing churches in his area
- our elected Town and County councillors confused by flaws in the handling of ill-conceived or premature planning applications that threaten the integral development our town and community requires
- to give thanks for ‘Common Ground’, a safe place of welcome, care and compassion offering emotional and practical support to survivors of torture and oppression; and offering prayers for them with your gift of tea or coffee this month to the ‘Common Ground’ Box in the foyer
- the pastoral care of our congregations, praying for pastoral visitors offering time and friendship and practical help to members who are unwell, or house-bound or who have lost loved ones
- on the anniversaries of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, to pray that this may never happen again; giving thanks for campaigners for nuclear disarmament, the abolition of all nuclear and biological weapons and who work for world-wide peace and prosperity.
Please remember this week:
- the Church of England resolved now that its ordained men and women are equally worthy to be chosen and consecrated bishops in the Church of Jesus Christ, and pray that fresh gifts of the Spirit may flow to make us all one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to our nation and the world
- with thanksgiving those who are recovering from serious illness, including Valerie Donaldson and Revd Gary Ridley, and those who have helped them through anxious days
- to give thanks for opportunities of refreshment through Summer holidays, particularly for those who carry heavy responsibilities for others in our national, community and family life
- the families shattered by the violent deaths of loved ones in the sky over Ukraine, in brutal conflict in Israel/Palestine and through terrorism across the Middle East: praying for all who stand by them in their grief and seek justice for them and all victims of these atrocities
- as we thank God for days of Summer sunshine and warmth, we pray for those unable to enjoy it through illness or infirmity, including prisoners in HMP Northumberland that the hot conditions may not foment unrest or violence among them
- churches in rural areas who work tirelessly to strengthen their communities, encourage good neighbourliness, care for the vulnerable, support local businesses and enrich cultural life; pray that their year may be crowned by a rich harvest and many happy local shows and festivals
- Great is your faithfulness and worthy are you to be praised;
new every morning is your tender mercy and grace.
As we begin each day may we be ever mindful of your love.
Giver of new life, we celebrate your wondrous creation.
[Sarah Jason, former mission partner The Gambia]
Please remember this week:
- several friends afflicted by sudden serious illness, in particular our minister Revd Gary Ridley and Valerie Donaldson, giving thanks for the skill and care they receive in hospital, praying for their swift recovery and for courage and comfort for their loved ones
- Christians being persecuted and suffering violence in Pakistan and Iraq and Nigeria, and Muslims in Burma - praying for all working to promote mutual respect and trust between those of differing faiths in many countries and in our own, especially Christians Aware [see http://www.christiansaware.co.uk ] who believe Peace is born of Love, Love is born of understanding, Understanding is born of Listening, Listening leads to Justice and Peace
- Drop-In Lunches, Summer Club and Toddlers and Parents continuing to meet through the summer, giving thanks too for our church’s open door and those who welcome all who come in
- with concern the thousands of children and their parents in our own country who are hungry because of poverty aggravated by the inequities of Welfare legislation, and pray that the Wansbeck Food Bank may be a Godsend to many families; praying too for DAWN, the CAB, Northumberland Credit Union and others offering advice and help in solving problems of debt
- to praise God and pray for the annual Keswick Convention this week and for the Greenbelt Festival next month refreshing, challenging and inspiring thousands of Christians to “Travel Light” in their daily walk with Christ in today’s world [see http://www.greenbelt.org.uk/festival/2014 ]
- to give thanks for contributions of young people in the Methodist Conference and District Synods, praying that our own young people may have their say in all aspects of our congregation’s work and witness [see http://childrenandyouth.org.uk/3generate/ ] .
July 13th 2014
Please remember this week:
- to give thanks for 145 years of dedicated care of needy children by Action for Children (originally National Children’s Homes) working on local communities to protect and support the young and vulnerable as they grow up
- to praise God for the life and work of our sister churches at Blyth (Central and URC) and Cramlington (Doxford Place, Welcome and Harwood Court), for their leaders and ministers, Revds Ann Shepherdson and Adele Moorhouse, and for the eight supernumerary ministers still active in our Area, leading worship and preaching the Word of life
- with thanksgiving our own young people in 13+, Scouts and Boys Brigade and for their leaders, parents, friends and supporters encouraging them to follow the Way of Jesus
- to give thanks for Genevieve’s recovery in hospital from acute illness and safe return to her “family” at Tyne House; pray that Lorrie and Jan may have a refreshing, care-free holiday Italy at the happy gathering of his family
- praise God for the lively churches across the world with whom we are in partnership (see daily prayers with them in the Methodist Prayer Handbook) and particularly for Kamuzinda Christian Victory Church, Uganda, for Bishop Daniel and all who live the good news of Jesus in their communities
- continue in prayer for the peoples of the Middle East torn apart for savage civil wars which have forced millions to flee into neighbouring countries; pray for God’s protection and encouragement of peacemakers and for the thousands of aid workers putting themselves at great risk to bring hope and relief to suffering families especially the very young and the very old, the orphaned and bereaved.
Pray without Ceasing
Let us this week remember:
- to pray for Revd Ken Howcroft and Mrs Gill Dascombe installed as President and Vice-President of Conference respectively, praising God for the gifts of grace, experience and passion they bring to their leadership of our Methodist Connexion [see profiles in the Methodist Recorder 20/06/2014 pp 8&9]
- to praise God for the women and men to be ordained today as Methodist ministers and deacons, for their obedience to God’s calling, for their families and home churches who have supported them; praying that they may be anointed by the Holy Spirit with His grace and strength for their new ministries
- to give God thanks for the contribution the Wesley Study Centre has made to the making of ministers within the life of our Church, and for the continuing commitment of the colleges and University of Durham to theological education and validation in partnership with The Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham [see Methodist Recorder 13/06/2014 p.16]
- to pray for Revd Lynda whose responsibilities now include the Methodist Churches at Alnwick and Christon Bank in the Lindisfarne Circuit in response to the shortage of ministers there
- our Minister, Stewards, Leadership Team and all who adorn our church with quiet practical service, a hospitable welcome, flowers, art, music and prayer to the praise and glory of God
- every refugee child, woman and man whose plight we witness daily, praying for an end to the violence, terror, oppression and humiliation from which they flee and that peace and justice may bring them the freedoms God desires for all his children
to give God thanks for the thrill experienced by so many children at LifePath Brinkburn last week, and pray for Scripture Union planning Summer camps and local events during the holid
June 22nd 2014
Let us this week :
- Give thanks for all those involved with the Morpeth Chaplaincy Team who were commissioned on Friday. Pray for their work in visiting and supporting residents and staff in care homes, retirement residences and day centres in Morpeth.
- Pray for peace in Iraq and for the defusing of a situation becoming more unstable every day. We pray for the people of that country who are suffering terribly and for the international leaders trying to find a solution other than the use of force.
- Give thanks for all those working in the voluntary sector at home and abroad; in charity shops, in hospitals, in prisons, on telephone help lines, in support groups, in refugee camps and situations of dire emergency - all those who give their time and energy to try to make the world a better place.
- Pray for refugees and displaced people throughout the world - more than 50 million people according to a UN report this week, the largest number since the end of the 2nd World War, remembering that Christ was himself a refugee and praying that we may be forgiven for not having prevented the situations which have resulted in such widespread suffering.
- Give thanks for the celebrations of athleticism, skill and friendly competition between nations and individuals represented by the World Cup, Wimbledon and the upcoming Commonwealth Games remembering that winning isn’t everything.
- Pray for members of our church family who are ill or convalescent, those who are worried or depressed and those who have difficult choices to make. Pray that they may be surrounded by the love of God and of the church family and know the peace which comes from that.
June 15th 2014
Let us this week :
- praise God that the Pearl of Africa Children’s Choir have been granted visas for their travel to the UK; and pray for all arrangements for their welcome here
- continue to pray for LifePath 2014 at Brinkburn Priory, 24-27 June, especially for a full complement of helpers for the 600 children who will enjoy this wonderful introduction to Christian faith and life
- as we see the World Cup in Brazil being staged at great expense, and see also the lack of investment in public services, education and health in that country, we pray for the government of Brazil and all who are working to abolish inequalities of opportunity that impoverish millions of their young people
- give thanks for another successful Messy Church at Storey Park and for all who joined in re-living the story of Joshua, a fore-runner of Jesus, and for the impact of Messy Church gatherings all across our country
- on hearing news of fellow-Christians persecuted (and some killed) for their faith we pray for them in their suffering for Jesus’ sake, and that their churches may stand firm as witnesses to the grace of God in their communities
- praise God for the gracious work of the President (Rev Ruth Gee) and Vice-President (Dr Daleep Mukarji) of Methodist Conference during their year of office, travelling constantly to visit and encourage the churches, and on our behalf ‘speaking truth to power’ about the poverty and injustices they have encountered
- remember with compassion all refugees in this and many other countries who have fled from persecution, war or poverty, that in our own cities and communities they may be made welcome and helped towards a secure, independent and happy life among us.
June 8th 2014
Let us this week :
- praise God for the power and presence of the Holy Spirit who, since the first Pentecost, has brought life and love and lasting joy to all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world.
- remember with thanksgiving the growing compassionate work of Methodist Homes (MHA), asking for God’s blessing on all who live and serve in Homes across the country, in particular our friends at Harwood Court, Cramlington
- recalling the momentous events of D-Day 1944 and Tiananmen Square 1989 when at great cost so many paid the price of freedom for nations oppressed, pray that we may not forget but in our time be vigilant and valiant for truth and justice in obedience to the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, the Lord of all
- pray for healing for friends suffering or recovering from sickness in hospital or at home, among them Peter Gardner, Betty Whitton, Arthur Cassie
- give thanks, as Methodist Conference 2014 approaches, for evidence that those in working parties, committees and consultations first seek God’s guidance through His Word; may we too through prayer, in every aspect of our congregational life and work, listen, learn and do what our Lord commands with faith, hope and love
- pray for prisoners, staff and voluntary workers in HMP Northumberland, giving thanks for tangible signs of improvement in relationships, recruitment, training and attitudes within and beyond the prison
- give thanks for our sister churches at Ashington Trinity, Newbiggin, Stakeford, Bedlington (Trinity and Colliery) and pray for their leaders and ministers - Revds Ian Farnsworth relieving Barry Welch, Sue Nicol, and Heegon Moon.
Spirit divine, attend our prayers,
Make this lost world your home;
Descend with all your gracious powers,
O come, great Spirit, come.
[Andrew Reed, Hymns &Psalms 327]
June 1st 2014
Let us this week faithfully remember:
- older members of our church and community suffering the often hidden pain of loss of energy, mobility, independence and sense of worth; giving thanks for care managers and professionals who seek respectfully to promote the dignity and well-being of elderly people in residential and nursing homes and praying for Morpeth Churches’ chaplaincy to those Homes
- to praise God for several prisoners’ lives transformed through the work of chaplains and Prison Fellowship volunteers in HMP Northumberland - through the ongoing Sycamore Tree Restorative Justice programme, the present Alpha Course, Worship Services and Bible Study groups; and to pray: “Please, Lord, call and send more volunteers into this fruitful field.”
- LifePath Brinkburn 2014, 24-27 June, bringing First School pupils and teachers together to explore Christian faith and life; pray that more helpers may join in this joyful work with our children [see LifePath notice below]
- many of our young people sitting GCSE, A-Level and University Degree Exams this month, praying that they may value the hard work they have done and approach these tests with confidence
- political leaders of European nations taking stock of Election results and seeking reforms to the way the EU works to unite and prosper all our peoples and communities
- continuing ecumenical initiatives among Morpeth churches including study groups to resume in the Autumn, giving God thanks for “A Season of Joy” events at St Robert’s [see flyers in foyer]
- our Christian brothers and sisters in Uganda and in nations all across tropical Africa seeking to spread the good news of Jesus, the Prince of Peace to communities violently harassed by competing political parties (as in South Sudan) or terrorised by extremist religious movements (as in Nigeria, Mali , Somalia and Kenya).