Pray Without Ceasing
This Sixth Week of Lent - Holy Week - let us pray:
Jesus, our King, you entered Jerusalem in radical humility, upon an ass.
Give us such courage and gentleness that through our lives too,
curtains of division may give way to reconciliation, peace and hope.
- as we recall how Jesus wept over that city (Luke 19. 41-44), so we grieve with him over the divisions that divide the Holy Land and the world, praying for the new government headed by Mr Netanyahu, that they may believe that God has made a new covenant with His people Israel and with all who believe that Jesus is the Messiah, His dear Son, through whom alone comes our peace and the peace of the whole world (see the whole of Jeremiah 31.31-37)
- for the families and friends of those who perished in Flight 9525 - victims, it seems, of “a mind diseased” and heedless of the precious lives and suffering of those he piloted to their deaths; pray too for God’s mercy and justice for the countless victims of calculated murder and maiming perpetrated by killers lusting for the false glory of temporal power or “martyrdom” in the name of their religion
- when we sing “there was no other good enough to pay the price of sin” to think about that: the man, Jesus, giving up his life “a ransom for many” so that we might be able to fulfil our origin as made in the image of God and our destiny to “be like him” whose humanity reveals and reflects the glory and self-giving love of God, "the true life of all"
- with thanksgiving for those of who contributed to The Vine, our church magazine, and to ask: “what blessing, gift, insight, experience of God’s love, faithfulness and beauty could I share through its pages?”
This Fifth Week of Lent we pray:
Lord Jesus, your commitment to your people led you to the painful way of the cross.
At this Passiontide, fill us, we pray, with such love for all who suffer
that we may open - in practical love - our hands, our homes and our hearts.
- for the victims of violent attacks and their families bereft in Lahore (two Christian churches bombed last Sunday) and Tunis on Wednesday; that governments and people of goodwill in both - and all - countries may unite to defy and defeat the evil religious terrorism in their midst
- as generous “Lent Coffee Money” is sent by 13+ to Kamuzinda Victory Church, that God‘s blessing may go with the gift to help our Christian friends in their outreach to the most needy
- for the stricken people of Vanuatu’s islands devastated by Typhoon Pam last weekend, more evidence of disastrous global climate change; and for aid agencies rushing vital supplies to sustain life and rebuild essential services
- that, as we give thanks for the passing of the International Development Bill enshrining the UK’s commitment to spending 0.7% of gross national income on international aid every year, we may also hear from all our politicians that they would support a comprehensive Tax Dodging Bill; since tax avoidance is a major crime against the poorest people in our country and in every developing country
- after last Friday’s awe-inspiring eclipse of the sun, as we celebrate the achievements of modern science, astronomy and astrophysics, that we may have the humility, wisdom and faith to acknowledge, as did the pioneer scientist Johannes Kepler (1571 - 1630), that we are “merely thinking God’s thoughts after him” and to give Him all the glory and praise.
This Fourth Week of Lent we pray:
Living Lord, you have shown us in the death of your Son
that love costs everything.
As you reach out with welcoming arms, may we be ready to re-shape the world
to reflect your justice and your peace.
- today, Mothering Sunday, we give thanks to God for the our mothers’ and grandmothers’ love and the love of all those other women whose devotion and strength has blessed our life’s journey
- for the leaders of all nations, that they may act with wisdom and courage to avert the disasters that climate change will bring upon our fragile planet, accepting that fossil fuel and nuclear energy are poisonous and investing urgently in clean renewable sources of power
- praising God for the wealth of artistic talent among our young people and for the joy of music-making encouraged in our schools and by the annual Wansbeck Music Festival (Wednesday - Saturday this week)
- for our sister churches at Newbiggin, Ashington, Stakeford and Bedlington, giving thanks for their ministers, Revds Heegon Moon and Jim Magee, stewards and worship leaders, their outreach and service in their communities
- for our Area preachers as they meet and are led by Revd Leo Osborn in their District Preachers’ Conference at Wrekenton on Saturday
- Lord, we thank you for the country of Uganda: may justice and peace prevail over the whole land; may your grace and forgiveness be upon all Ugandans that they may live in peace and harmony; may they learn of you to give their hearts and souls for the good of their nation, and that you will make every person a sacrifice of your peace, guided by the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.
(Francis Baguma, Director, Rural Health Promotion and Poverty Alleviation Initiative, Uganda www.ruhepai.org , in Prayer Handbook 2014-15 Day 8)
Reflecting on today’s Gospel and on FairTrade, let us pray:
Jesus, you drove unjust traders from the temple: as you call us to new kinds of community may we build fairness into our economic lives, honesty into all our relationships, and respect into all our dealings with others - each made in your holy image.
- that we may encourage one another in our political responsibility to “Love Your Neighbour: Think, Pray and Vote” in the coming General Election, resisting the many political fables that appeal to self-interest, and instead to vote for the common good
- that the warmth of welcome and fellowship among us may also reach each and all of our members in their homes or residences through pastoral visiting and neighbourliness; especially may we offer the gift of time and a listening ear to lonely or house-bound friends
- for Genevieve and family following her recent acute illness; and giving thanks for the care received by Tom Gordon and all recovering patients in the Whalton Unit, Morpeth and in all our hospitals
- giving thanks for the new Director (Governor) of HMP Northumberland, Tony Simpson, we ask that he may be given wisdom, courage and grace in his training and management of staff, and that mutual respect and trust with chaplains, prison visitors, and Christian volunteers may extend to every one of the 1400 prisoners offering them a new way of life in Christ our Saviour
- praising the Lord for his presence and power in the growth of families coming to Messy Church, pray with the leaders for plans to make our community more aware (e.g., at Morpeth Fair Day) of this way of being church, and also for LifePath Brinkburn 2015
- giving thanks that the funding is assured for the appointment of a part-time Families’ and Young People’s Worker, and trusting God to send us the person of His choosing.
On reflecting on today’s Gospel (Mark 8/31-38) we pray:
God of perils and insecurities, you know the reality of human frailty.
As your Son foresaw the agony of the cross, but resolutely walked its way,
So may we stay close to all who suffer, and find your healing love already there.
- giving thanks for Christian leaders in other fellowships in Morpeth, we pray for Fr Lawrence Jones in his present illness and his flock at St Roberts; and praise God for the life and witness of Helen Cheetham of the Hood Street Christian Fellowship (Thanksgiving Service here Monday 9th at 12.45)
- for the people in conflict in Ukraine, giving thanks for the witness in love and compassion of the United Methodist Church in Kiev: with UM Cttee on Relief (UMCOR) distributing food, medicine to 100s of families, and providing shelter to African university students driven from Luhansk in the Donbas; these young men and women helped to resume studies at local universities gather for worship in the UM Church Centre in Kiev
- for God’s blessing on Messy Church meeting at Storey Park on Saturday afternoon and on the Christian Aid Spring supper party that evening here (see separate notice)
- for Fairtrade: O LORD, you revealed your Kingdom in parables that spoke of simple things - yeast in a loaf of bread, workless men employed for a few hours for a full day’s pay. Grant that the simple choices we make - what tea to drink, what fruit to eat, how much to pay for milk - may honour your Name and reveal your Kingdom present among us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
- for the Coptic Christian families of the 21 Egyptian workers slain by IS extremists in Libya and “in the name of Christ, the Prince of Peace…..also for the perpetrators of such atrocities and those of all faiths and none, that they may understand that each human life is sacred and beautiful to God.” [RECORDER 27/02/15 p.5]
Please give thanks and pray
- this first Sunday of Lent, that the kingdom of God announced by Jesus (Mark 1.14-15) embracing all creation and all people may in our time be boldly proclaimed and pioneered in our daily and public life by all of us who believe in Him
- praising God for our brothers and sisters in Kamuzinda, Uganda, may we with imaginative concern find ways of working with them in their mission to show Christ present to bless their neighbourhood and nation
- for the family and friends of Liana who was Rosie Swan’s colleague with Project Trust in Uganda in 2010 and who died last week from the effects of disease she contracted there; may they be greatly comforted by the fruit of her life in the lives of so many whom she loved
- for the many opportunities we have to learn together how to be Jesus’ disciples: through worship and fellowship here or at Costas, Lent Ecumenical Study Groups, ECG (Friday 28th), World Day of Prayer (Friday 6th), Messy Church (Saturday 7th), 2015 NE Encounter Programme etc; may all be life-long learners of our Lord and Master
- for fair play in crucial electoral campaigning in Nigeria, where polling day has been postponed for six weeks, allegedly because of the insecurity caused by the murderous Boko Haram “insurgency” which has drawn in military forces from neighbouring countries
- for local friends who respond to the call to become befrienders of sufferers from Alzheimer’s and their families, distributers in the Wansbeck Food Bank, prison or hospital visitors, members of the chaplaincy team visiting our Care and Nursing Homes, or of Red Cross detachments and other voluntary services
Lord Jesus, your gospel challenges us to repent of complacency and greed. Teach us to live in such harmony with our beautiful but fragile planet home, that our creative energy may bring healing, our carefulness sustain the world and your reconciling love bring peace and joy to all people.
This week please give thanks and pray
- for dear friends laid aside by illness or disability, or convalescing including David Pallett, Tom Gordon and others supported in care homes; and friends recently bereft by the loss of loved ones - Pam Jolly, Edith Sanderson and the family of Mary Flynn -her daughter Anne and grandchildren Avril & Adrian: God grant them all comfort, healing and peace
- for our worship leaders and preachers in Area churches used by God to build up us his people in joyful confidence in His Word; pray also for our Family Committee meeting on Wednesday and all who lead the church family in witness and service
- for Christian Aid, All We Can (Methodist Relief & Development), Fair Trade, Shared Interest, Oikocredit, Church Action on Poverty etc, all working to help people and communities out of poverty both at home and abroad thus seeking to close the scandalous gap between rich and poor [ “If you oppress the poor, you insult their creator” Proverbs 14.31]
- for our County and Town Councillors tasked with determining the future shape of Morpeth taking account of all the concerns raised in the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan consultation and the needs of generations to come
- praising God for Mustard Tree Trust (MTT), its partnership with Scripture Union, its cooperation with schools, and praying especially for Lifepath Brinkburn 2015 [please pick up a copy of prayer update in the foyer]
- that as we hear and take in the gospel for today - Mark 9. 2-12 - we may, like the disciples, “do what the heavenly voice said: Listen to Jesus, because he is God’s beloved son. And as we learn to listen, even if sometimes we get scared and say all the wrong things, we may find that glory creeps up on us unawares, strengthening us, as it did the disciples, for the road ahead.” (Tom Wright in Mark for Everyone)
Lifepath Brinkburn 2015 - Prayer Update Number 1
Please could you support us in prayer by praying for the following:
- For the ongoing success of Lifepath and the wonderful feedback we received from children and staff after the 2014 event.
- For a great planning team and for God’s provision of some fantastic people to fill some key roles.
- Please thank God for all those schools that have already booked in.
- Good relationships with local schools and with English Heritage (who manage the priory).
- For all that God has provided already in terms of team, ideas and resources.
- That God would continue to guide the planning process and the core team as they meet (Chris Hudson, Geoff Brown, Helen Hume and Kirstine Davis).
- Please specifically pray that God would provide all the Pilgrim Guides, Workshop leaders and support team that are needed to make the whole event run smoothly.
- Please pray that God would provide all of the finances and resources necessary to stage Lifepath 2015.
- The planning of the opening and closing acts of collective worship – that these would be engaging, fun and relevant and that the theme would link well to the life story of St Oswald.
- Please pray for wisdom regarding the exact number, content and type of workshops that we offer.
- For all those contacting schools to book assemblies in the build-up to the event.
- That the day will be a significant one for all who attend.
- That the team will feel comfortable in the roles they are given and work well together.
- Safety for all on-site during the event.
- That the weather would be dry when we need it to be.
- That many churches would get behind the event and offer prayer, practical and financial support
Thank you for your support.
This week please give thanks and pray
- for the vitality of our young people, their leaders and parents, and continue to pray that our call for a part-time Families’ and Young People’s Worker may be answered
- for the full recovery from surgery of our minister, the Revd Gary, and for all who are convalescing after illness or accident, with thanksgiving for the care, skills and support that have encouraged them
- for the churches in our “section” of the Ecumenical Area - Alnmouth, Amble, Hauxley, Broomhill, Widdrington, Pegswood and Morpeth - and for our leaders, preachers and ministers Revds Lynda Coulthard, John Park, Ron Forster and Revd Gary Ridley - that through us the good news of Jesus may spread through our communities
- as Lent approaches that we may let the Bible speak to us of the amazing grace of God revealed in Christ: Songs of praise in the New Testament speak to us of His majesty, humility and power to change us and the world - the theme of one of two series of ecumenical Lent studies 2015, the other being 40acts 2015 [see flyer and poster for details]
- fervently for peace in Ukraine, the Middle East and Africa, for patience and perseverance of negotiators between hostile parties giving thanks for heroic humanitarian workers bringing hope to millions of refugees from violence and oppression
- praise God for the lively churches across the world with whom we are in partnership (see daily prayers with them in the Prayer Handbook) and particularly for Kamuzinda Christian Victory Church, Uganda
- for grace, courage and conviction to speak out against poverty, injustice, inequality and the degradation of life - especially the sexual abuse of children and women by rapacious men in our own cities and those over-run by monstrous jihadis of “Islamic state”, Boko Haram and al Shabab - and do all we can to be channels of God’s love, healing and peace to deeply wounded souls, families and communities.
This week let us pray: Lord God, we thank you
- for teachers, for their enthusiasm and hard work and for all they invest in the children and young people that they teach. Help them as they transform their places of work and their relationships through they way they teach.
- for the many people who enable schools to run smoothly and provide a nurturing environment for our children - teaching assistants, administrators, school meal supervisors….. Help them to know their value and to enjoy the work that they do.
- for school governors who play the role of a critical friend in the life of the school. Help them to make wise decisions, to know when to affirm and when to ask questions.
- for all those in further and higher education, those who teach and those who learn. Help them to be salt and light where they study and work, pointing people towards you through what they do and say.
- for everyone in our church who nurture our faith and enable us to learn more about you - youth leaders, children’s leaders, house group leaders, preachers… Help them to draw close to you as they study and prepare, and to be nourished themselves as they lead us.
- or those among us who nurture the next generation - parents, carers and grandparents, family friends….Help them to love without condition, to set an example of life-long learning and to find support and encouragement along the way.
- for all children and young people at nursery, school, academy and college. Help them to make the most of the opportunities they have - to be diligent students, to play creatively and to know that you delight in them as they seek to follow you.
- for the education we have received from teachers and schools, from colleges, academies and universities, from parents and friends. Help us to support those who work in education, to appreciate the important job they do in shaping the future of our world and to remember them in our prayers.
This week please give thanks and pray
- for our unity with all Christians, fulfilling more and more perfectly Jesus’ prayer that we may be one in Him so that the world may know the amazing, eternal love of our Father God [John 17.20-23]
- for all who have suffered and died for their faith, remembering especially on Tuesday, Holocaust Memorial Day. the victims of the Hitler’s Nazi death camps, and thousands of others since who have been slaughtered by religious zealots and tyrannical regimes
- for our minister, Revd Gary, convalescing after knee surgery, giving thanks for all the nursing, rehabilitation and support services in our community
- for our young people as they meet in Junior Church and 13+ and share Jesus with their friends at school and college; giving thanks for their growing in grace and knowledge of God’s love and power at work in the world and in their lives
- increasing awareness of the negative effect upon people with mental health problems of sanctions that aggravate their illness, deny them vital benefits and hinder their return to work and health; for MIND and CONTACT and other advocates challenging government welfare policies [see News release from Methodist Church and partners: copies in foyer]
- for good neighbourliness when winter weather endangers older people living alone, for transport, utilities and communications workers keeping us safe, and for accident and emergency services, health and social work teams responding to those most at risk
- for all servants of the Gospel, especially our faithful supernumerary ministers in the Area gladly offering extra help in worship and pastoral care at this time; and for dear friends bereaved and families suddenly stricken by accident or illness: our hearts and prayers go out to them.
This week please pray:
- God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we pray for all the peoples of the Holy Land and of our own nations, be they Jewish, Muslim, Christian or of other faiths; break down the walls of separation between us - the physical barriers with its military checkpoints, and the invisible barriers of heart and mind which keep your children from different faiths and ethnicities apart. Let not the cries of hate and murderous actions of a few deluded fanatics deafen and blind us to your enfolding fatherly love for us all. Help us in humility, respect and kindness to embrace one another in the spirit of your “love divine, all loves excelling” . Adapted from Jenny Bywaters’ prayer in Methodist Prayer Handbook Day 15.
- in this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, give thanks for all our fellow-Christians here in Morpeth, that we may encourage one another in reaching out to our neighbourhood, friends and strangers, with the good news of God’s love for us all in Christ
- with gratitude and praise for the dedicated, hard-pressed staff of our NHS and Social Services, caring for the sick, frail and disabled in our pharmacies, GP and A&E services, hospitals, care homes and in their own homes; that we may all use these precious resources wisely, compassionately and skilfully
- giving thanks that Nurse McCafferkey is responding to treatment for Ebola infection, and for signs that the epidemic in West Africa is being tackled effectively in many places; praise God for all the brave people engaged in this vital work
- and please continue in prayer for the multitudes of refugees from the killing fields of Syria and Iraq, barely surviving in camps in neighbouring countries, or being trafficked by Mafia gangs by sea to an unwelcoming Europe.
This week please remember:
- with reverent awe, that the Lord will requite those killed and bereaved by terrorist attacks in Nigeria, Paris, Pakistan, Syria and Iraq and strengthen the resolve of all peoples to resist the evil of religious or political extremism in the light of “God’s love revealed in His Son who came to this earth to redeem everyone” [D.T.Niles of Sri Lanka]
- God’s grace revealed in the Christian lives and witness of our dear friends Alan Sanderson, Chris Jolly and Doris Stark; praying that Pam and both their families may know the comfort of our dear Lord’s abiding presence in the dark days of their grief
- with thanksgiving our sister churches in Blyth, Cowpen, Cramlington, Seaton Delaval, Seghill and Annitsford, their leaders and ministers Revds Ann Shepherdson, Adele Moorhouse, Ian Farnsworth, and Greg Thompson, praying that we may all unite in confidently spreading the Joyful News of God’s grace and kindness in our neighbourhoods
- to praise God for families cheered and blessed by “Angel Tree” gifts from fathers and husbands serving time in HM Prison Northumberland (183 accepted this help this Christmas), and for all the chaplains and volunteers who are channels of trust, hope and love between them
- to give thanks for healing after recent surgery of Revd Gary and Jim Dunn, and that Tom Gordon, Chris McPhillips, and other friends may know His peace and strength in their present infirmity
- to praise God for the generosity that enables Food Banks, Common Ground and Kamuzinda Christian Victory Church to supply needy families with food and basic necessities
- to continue to ask the Lord to answer our need for a Families’ and Young People’s worker and to bless all who faithfully work with Parents and Toddlers, Junior Church, 13+, the BB, Scouts and Messy Church