Pray Without Ceasing
Lord, you have taught us that all our doings without love are worth nothing. Send your Holy Spirit, and pour into our hearts that most excellent of love, the bond of all peace and virtues, without which those who live are counted as dead before you. And this we ask for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556)
This week please remember
- to praise God for the means of grace - worship, the Sacraments, the Scriptures and prayer - that we may know him as our constant loving companion, source of wisdom, strength, comfort and joy in every aspect of our lives; thanks be to his Holy Name.
- to pray for patience and perseverance for our friends recovering from accident or serious illness or surgery or beset by long-term illness, and for all who care for them day by day
- * to give thanks for 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; giving thanks for MIND and CONTACT and other advocates challenging government welfare policies
- the negotiators in the stalled Syrian peace talks in Geneva, praying that they may return to the table determined to find agreements to save that nation from utter destruction at the hands of both their protagonists on the battlefield and the superpowers fuelling the conflict with brutal bombing and weaponry
- to give thanks for the privilege of welcoming all-comers to this Church Centre, for the hospitality offered through Reception, Parents and Toddlers, Drop-In Lunches and to many community groups and societies, and pray for Christ-like grace and wisdom in building upon these contacts, offering His love to our entire community.
Today, Poverty Action Sunday, and this week please remember
- to give thanks for the generosity that supplies Food Banks, Common Ground, The People’s Kitchen and other local aid agencies, and to pray for fairer Government policies which presently weigh so heavily upon the poorest families [see Church Action on Poverty report Enough - in foyer]
- for worship leaders and preachers in Area churches used by God to build up us his people in joyful confidence in His Word; and the work of the Area WLP meeting on Thursday evening
- people picking up their lives again after the flooding in many parts of the country, giving thanks for the generous response of their neighbours, and those committed to long-term help for their stricken communities
- to continue prayer support for work among our young people - Parents & Toddlers, Junior Church, 13+, BB and Scouts, and praising God for Mustard Tree Trust and Scripture Union’s work in our schools
- to give thanks for volunteers and visitors in our prisons, and especially for the induction last week of Revd Richard Rawling (CofE) joining Kevin, Phil, Mirza and Tony in the chaplaincy team at HMP Northumberland; and that Alpha courses and Sycamore Tree Restorative Justice programs are turning many lives around and bringing hope to offenders and their families
- the urgent call by our major national churches to governments to provide substantial new funding to alleviate the suffering of the people of Syria including refugees in the neighbouring countries, praying that they may make up the shortfall in funds (60%) pledged in response to the last international appeal by the United Nations in 1015 [see British Churches’ Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) news release 3 February 2016 - in the foyer].
This week please remember
- our sister churches at Newbiggin, Ashington, Stakeford and Bedlington (Trinity and Colliery), their leaders and minister Revd Jim Magee and preachers lay and ordained who all bear witness to the Gospel of Christ’s Kingdom in their communities
- communities near and far traumatised by industrial and factory closure eg. at Redcar and Port Talbot, giving thanks for churches and community groups providing practical social and spiritual support for those made redundant and their families
- to give thanks for and pray for those speaking up for and giving essential aid to refugees from war, violence and poverty trapped in squalid camps at Calais and Dunkirk and across Europe; may our government show them respect and value them as “the wealth of nations” bringing gifts that can enrich our society
- to praise God for our Christian brothers and sisters in Masaka, Uganda, praying for the success of their churches’ Revival Conference at Kamuzinda 8 - 13 February and the growth in understanding and the joy of the gospel among the 500 of all ages attending
- as Lent approaches to give thanks for the opportunity to re-assess our Christian life and witness, to reflect and act upon what God has done for us in giving His Son for us and to us as our Risen Saviour
- with thanksgiving the many unsung heroes who, as volunteers or representing our neighbourhoods, guard and enhance the life of our town and county now and for the future
- Lord God, fill us with your spirit:
of challenge to reject silence and prejudice,
of compassion in suffering, sorrow and pain,
of gentleness to understand the cry for help,
of togetherness to love one another.
As the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity ends, please remember
- to keep praying with our fellow-Christians:
Lord Jesus, you commanded us to break bread together,
and drink one cup in remembrance of you -
your imperative ignored. Forgive us Lord.
Open the hearts and minds of Christians world-wide,
especially those entrusted with leadership in your Church,
to the joys and blessings of this fellowship.
Create in all of us a passion to realise this hope to which you have called us:
one body, and one Spirit, one Lord, one baptism, one God who is above and through and in all. Amen.
- the joy of other fellowships as told in the stories we can read in this quarter’s Connexion magazine of the Methodist Church in Britain [find a copy in the foyer] - stories of faith, changing attitudes, discernment and generous love reaching out to communities and people most in need of hope and help; praise God for every sign of His Kingdom within and around us
- chaplaincies in Morpeth and our area bringing encouragement and consolation in the name of Jesus to many in our hospitals, prisons, schools, work-places, residential and nursing homes; praising God for the joy of volunteering in this way
- that the UK must take its fair share of refugees and asylum-seekers, many fleeing genocide as bad as the Holocaust perpetrated by Nazi Germany, in the pre-war days of which we welcomed and sheltered thousands of rescued children; that generation is witness to God’s saving power through people who really care for justice and the worth of “the least of these my (Christ’s) brothers and sisters”
- to give thanks for our young people and those who show them the beauty and love of Jesus and help them find faith in Him.
This Week of Prayer for Christian Unity please remember
- on Day 2 we are called to be heralds of joy, so let us pray
Jesus, Lord of joy, the world craves good news; the world craves your love and joy.
Fill us with that love and joy.
Help us to see the plight of others,
To hear the sighs of need, the howl of pain, the cries of despair,
And to respond, always, in the love and joy
Of you, our Saviour and our Lord. Amen.
- resting in the assurance of God’s covenant with us, sealed with the precious blood of His dear Son, we can trust him to help us keep our covenant with him in joyful obedience and loving service whatever the cost
- to thank God for his guidance for the leaders of Messy Church as they explore new ways of spreading the joy of the gospel among young families through story-telling, creative worship and friendship
- our minister and preachers who, by careful preparation and faithful teaching, open up to us the Word of Life, giving thanks too for Christian writers, journalists, broadcasters and all who make public testimony to the life-changing gospel of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
- pray for patience and perseverance for our friends recovering from accident or serious illness or surgery or beset by long-term illness, and for all who care for them day by day
- in the face of threats of extremist violence around the world, pray that all governments, diplomats and politicians may practice the politics of hope and not of fear, doing good to overcome evil and justice to establish peace:
“Blessed are the peace-makers…..”
This week please remember
- with wondering amazement God’s marvellous grace in keeping His covenant with His people, coming as one of us to save such folk as we are, to transform us into the likeness of His dear Son so that the world may believe in Him
- all those affected by the floods: those displaced from their homes, shops and businesses; giving thanks for all the services, organizations and volunteers who are helping during the emergency and trying to provide immediate assistance for those in need and in the long term
- that “the pursuit of love and justice should set the political, economic and social agenda” for Government: praying that Methodist and other Christians in Parliament may effectively persuade the Government that its new Welfare Reform and Work Bill undermines the long-standing principle that the benefit system provides enough for a basic standard of living, so that every family and every child can survive and thrive [see CAP report “Enough” in the foyer]
- those we know or hear about who are mentally fragile or frail; praising God for the good work of Contact here in Morpeth, and praying for those losing their mental faculties and for urgent increase in funding for Alzheimer’s Research, prevention and care
- Christians persecuted for their faith in many countries, giving thanks for all who have been faithful even unto death, and for agencies of many different faiths rescuing and sheltering thousands driven from their homes [join our present Tuesday study Living like a Refugee]
- to praise God that Junction 42, a local Christian charity working with ex-offenders, has a new outreach worker for three days a week in HMP Northumberland; and that the Oswin Trust is exploring with the prison management starting a bakery within the prison.
This Christmas week please remember
- to give thanks for the gospel writers who help us to glimpse the glory of Jesus the Son of God in the humility of his birth and the cosmic significance of his death and resurrection and the personal joy of knowing him as our saviour and friend.
- every refugee child, woman and man whose plight we witness daily, those seeking sanctuary in Europe and those facing winter in camps in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon; praying for an end to the violence, oppression and humiliation from which they flee and that peace and justice may bring them the freedoms God desires for all his children
- our elderly friends residing at Riverside House, East Riding, Foxton Court, Northlands and Harwood Court MHA giving thanks for all who care for them and bring them Christmas cheer
- Bishop Daniel’s poor relief programme at Kamuzinda Christian Victory Church, giving thanks that we are able help these neighbours of ours; praying too for generosity towards families in need in our own communities
- the government of Israel, that the hard-line parties may repent of their “apartheid” oppression of their Palestinian fellow-citizens and neighbours in the land of the birth and saving work of God’s Son to bring good news to the poor, healing, liberty, justice and joy to all people just as their prophets foretold [read again Isaiah 61.1-3 ]
God with us, Emmanuel; you cross the chasm of time and space; you break down walls of fear and prejudice; you span the waters of chaos; you come to us in love.
Sending God; help us to cross the chasm of hurt and painful memory; help us to break down barriers that divide; help us to bear your peace in a troubled world. Send us in love; go with us. Amen. Revd Ruth Gee, Chair, Darlington District
This 3rd week of Advent please keep praying
- with the people of Cumbria suffering from the devastating floods, that help may flow into the county to support the many community groups and good neighbourliness literally saving lives and bringing hope to hundreds of shocked families and businesses; and with the churches of Cumbria mobilised for united action in this crisis [see the prayers on Day 9 in the Methodist Prayer Handbook 2015-16]
- for the ministry of pastoral visiting which binds our church family together supporting especially those living alone or for whom life is hard at present
- for the refugee crisis using the prayers suggested in the World Church Bulletin REFUGEE UPDATE available in the foyer
- to give thanks for the agreements so far reached by the world’s nations’ leaders to act urgently to reduce the threat of global warming and the impact of climate change; that all nations, especially the rich, may embrace a simpler lifestyle so that the poor may simply live in safety in their homelands
- for our friends in Uganda as the presidential election 2016 process is launched, praying with them for freedom of political expression and respectful, peaceful campaigning [ see www.amnesty.org/en/press-releases/2015/12/uganda ]
- giving thanks for the completion of the new classrooms at Kamuzinda and the vibrancy of Christian Victory Church and the spiritual strength of its leadership, and for Pope Francis’ message of reconciliation given on his recent visit to Uganda, calling on people to reach out to “those who might be unfriendly, even hostile, to us” within local communities and across the conflict-ridden region
- as our thoughts turn towards Bethlehem, we realise that today their lands are increasingly encroached upon by encircling illegal Israeli settlements and plead with the Lord to deal with this injustice and bring peace to the Holy Land.
This 2nd week of Advent please pray
- with people of all faiths for peace in the United Kingdom following the difficult, divisive decision by our Parliament to proceed with air strikes on ISIS/Daesh in Syria
- for peace in Syria, and for the communities and families already devastated by aerial bombing and the violence of the past four years.
- for peace in the Middle East, that the distrust of governments in the region and beyond that helps to fuel radicalisation can be overcome
- for peace in the world, that peoples and governments do not ignore the cries of the innocent and that preservation of life may be at the heart of our actions [from prayers commended by the President and Vice-President of Methodist Conference]
- giving thanks for the dedication and skill of our Health Services staff, for friends who have been ill that they and those who care for them may know God’s peace and healing power
- for our sister churches in Blyth, Cramlington, Seaton Delaval and Seghill, their leaders and ministers Revds Ann Shepherdson, Ian Farnsworth, Adele Moorhouse and especially for Rev Greg Thompson who is presently unwell; asking God’s blessing on all who shepherd these flocks and encourage their witness in their communities
- giving thanks for all who look out for their elderly or lonely neighbours in the dark days of winter and for community groups who arrange outings and parties in celebration of God’s good will towards all people
- praising God for wonderful music inspired by the Coming of Jesus, God’s greatest Gift, we give thanks and pray for all music-makers offering their gifts in worship, concerts, and carol singing to the glory of God our Saviour.