Pray Without Ceasing
This week please remember:
- To pray for all those forced to become refugees - by war, by persecution, by desperate economic circumstances. Pray also for countries struggling to cope with the influx of people in dire need of help and for those trying to work out solutions both to provision of that help and to the appalling and complicated situations which drive people to risk their lives to escape.
- To give thanks for all those who open their homes and hearts to children in need of care and to pray for strength for them during the lengthy and often painful process they go through, either to adopt or foster such children. Pray also for parents who, for whatever reason have to part with their children, giving their care and responsibility over to others.
- That possession of arms is the first step to using them and to pray for a reduction in the current tension between Russia and the west which can be seen by the sale of missiles by Russia to Iran and by America to Poland.
- Pray for young people lacking confidence in their body shape and appearance put under pressure by unrealistic, idealised images online and in magazines. Pray that they may learn that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and find a sense of self-worth from knowing that they are made in the image of God. Remember the family of Eloise Parry mourning her tragic loss.
- Pray for all those ministers taking their sabbaticals, remembering particularly our own minister, Gary Ridley. Pray that they may return to their congregations mentally and spiritually refreshed and ready to take up all the challenges God sends them.
- Give thanks for our sister churches in the South East Northumberland Ecumenical Area and for those who worship in them and also for the wider community of Churches Together in Morpeth.
This week please remember:
- 70 years after the liberation of Belsen, we remember those who died and suffered there and those who were the first to enter the camp when it was liberated. We ask forgiveness that, although the world said ‘never again’, people are still persecuted throughout the world for their religion, their race, their sexuality and their political views.
- We give thanks that research in the United States, although much more work is needed, gives some hope of the development of a treatment for Alzheimer's and we remember all those who suffer from the condition, their families and carers.
- We remember all those within our church family who are ill themselves or worried about family who are unwell. In particular, remember Brenda, -Debbie Ridley’s mother, seriously ill in Southport and Jim Dunn following his knee surgery.
- We pray that politicians campaigning in the run up to the general election may be guided by the desire for ‘A Good Society’ for all people much more than the lust for personal power or prestige.
- Pray for all those working within our National Health Service especially those trying to provide good care for patients whilst stretched to the limit by the number of people to be treated.
- The family and friends of Karen Buckley trying to deal with her murder in Glasgow and for all parents worrying about the safety of children spreading their wings in the world.
- Give praise to God for the wonders of his creation as you take time to stand and listen to the songs of the birds in the park in Morpeth and see evidence of the new life all around us.
“For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and
gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the
time of the singing of birds is come, and the
voice of the turtle is heard in our land;”
Song of Solomon 2: 11-12, King James Version
This week please remember:
- that current affairs and public issues are important areas of work for the Methodist Church; by engaging with politics and society, we live out our calling to love and hope, so let us pray for guidance and discernment as to how to vote for what we believe in
- as we hear of terrible atrocities and suffering in Iraq, Syria, Kenya, Pakistan and many other countries we give thanks and pray for the work of Amnesty International, Freedom from Torture, Christians Aware and other organisations campaigning for human rights - for oppressed, deprived, persecuted people the world over - including Churches Action Against Poverty here at home
- as they meet again in a new school and university term, young people whose enthusiasm for learning and hard work are tested in GSCE, A-Level and degree exams; giving thanks for the support and guidance they receive from parents and teachers and the encouragement of friends
- a new Sycamore Tree course started last week at HMP Northumberland praising God for men - and their families and sometimes victims - finding healing and hope in their lives and relationships; and for the support by the prison authorities and chaplaincy team for this vital work of restorative justice
- as our Annual Church meeting (next Sunday) follows so soon after Easter, let us look forward in confident hope, praising God that Jesus, our Risen Lord, is with us always continually breathing upon us the Holy Spirit of grace and power to follow him, whatever the cost, in offering his love, forgiveness, healing and new life to everyone we meet
- with love and affection our sister SENEA churches at Blyth (Central and URC), Cowpen, Cramlington (Welcome, Doxford Place and Harwood Court) Seaton Delaval and Seghill; and their leaders, preachers and ministers Revds Ann Shepherdson, Adele Moorhouse and Greg Thompson.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
God of new beginnings, you shatter the half-light of morning with the utter joy of resurrection!
Come among us now, that Easter words of love may soon become actions that transform the world.
This week please remember
- to give thanks for healing ministries promoting wholeness of body, mind and spirit within our Health Services and in community and family relationships, in particular for Contact, Relate, NCH Action for Children and AgeUK, and for chaplains in our hospitals
- dear friends and families presently in need of healing, encouragement and comfort including Rhona, Seana, Maureen Coulson, Mrs Margaret Hill (the sister of David Pallet) and Fr. Lawrence and his flock at St Robert’s
- to give thanks that Nigeria’s Presidential Election was peaceful; pray for President-elect Muhammadu Bukari and that the election of State Governors on 11th April will also be free, fair and peaceful resulting in a stable, progressive government of that great nation
- with thanksgiving the life-changing work of the Prison Fellowship in prisons across our country including in HMP Northumberland at Acklington: praying for its support of chaplains and Christian volunteers who, through programmes of victim awareness and restorative justice, help prisoners to take responsibility for their actions and who share with them the hope of forgiveness and reconciliation (see www.prisonfellowship.org.uk )
- our friends Ken and Louise Snider (King’s Church, Darlington) presently re-visiting the vibrant, growing church in Cambodia; they are helping to strengthen work with orphans, assessing the training needs of the older boys and girls and sharing in Bible studies with staff at the David Center; and at the Church’s Trade Center meeting final year nurses-in-training and TransformAsia’s street pastors with a heart for Battambang’s street children
- praise God for all our mission partners engaging with sister churches across the world (see our Prayer Handbook 2014-15 and www.methodist.org.uk/mission/world-church )
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.