Pray Without Ceasing
This week please remember
- we give thanks for our Area ministers and supernumerary ministers with increased pastoral and preaching commitments to meet the shortage of staff, and for congregations gladly maintaining worship services by “local arrangements” led by their worship leaders
- to pray for a review of the Tax and Benefits system in response to the growing numbers of people suffering benefits sanctions, low wages and increasing dependence on food banks [requested in our Churches leaders’ letter to the PM last week]
- our Church Anniversary weekend (20-21 June) as we praise God for His blessings past, present and future
- we give 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 pray for Morpeth Churches’ chaplaincy to those Homes
- that all around the world refugees from oppression and war are in distress and dying in their thousands. We thank God for those nations already offering rescue, safety and hospitality and pray that others, our own included, may respond with compassion and generosity
- this season of Pentecost we make this our prayer:
Everlasting God, you sent your Spirit to guide us.
Open our eyes to the truth of the scandal of poverty.
Cause us to be tireless in our quest for justice,
and to have the boldness
to make the changes we need to make
to build a fairer world for all,
especially for those who suffer most
under the inequities of the global economy.
May we never allow your people or your creation
to be subordinate to the will of humanity,
but rather to be raised up in your inexhaustible embrace of all.
from the prayer manual of Us - formerly United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG)
This week please remember
- to give thanks for our partner church at Kamuzinda, Uganda, who, through the power of the Spirit, are witnesses to “the great love of God seen in His Son, who came to this earth to redeem everyone”
- with thanksgiving, all who take personal risks to resolve conflict and restore peace with justice in our prisons, our industries, in our communities and body politic; and among tribal, religious and nationalistic factions as in Burundi, Libya, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine and Yemen
- dear friends laid aside in illness; those bereaved, especially the family of Margaret Briggs for whose life we give praise and thanks to God; and friends re-locating to new homes and communities - Pam Jolly and John and Gwyneth Lindley - that they may receive warm welcomes from new neighbours and Christian fellowships
- to give thanks for visitors who come among us while on holiday or seeking a new spiritual home, for the graces and gifts they offer with us in worship, praise and friendship
- in the wake of the disastrous earthquakes in Nepal, please pray for victims and homeless and for all engaged in dangerous rescue and relief operations by land and air before the monsoon brings more distress to stricken communities
- to praise God for Mustard Tree Trust’s work with young people in our schools, for the new administrator Lindsey Collings, staff and volunteers; praying for preparations to make LifePath 2015 at Brinkburn Priory a life-changing experience for the 120 children from 16 schools who will be attending each day (15-19 June)
- with thanksgiving the abatement of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, continuing to pray for both international and indigenous aid workers counselling and ministering among survivors.
This week please remember:
- To give thanks for the freedoms we enjoy within our democratic society and to pray that we neither abuse them nor forget them, remembering those throughout history who struggled and fought to procure them for us, both in peacetime and in war, so that we might live in liberty.
- To pray for those with the responsibility of forming the new parliament, both government and opposition. Pray that there may be cooperation, consensus and agreement where possible; productive, reasoned debate where necessary; careful deliberation in all things with honesty, integrity, tolerance and compassion guiding every action.
- To pray for those within our church family who are in need of care either through age and infirmity, ongoing medical problems or recent illness or treatment: we think particularly of Jim Dunn, Genevieve Bronsema, Tom Gordon and Seana Sommerville. Remember also those who have been recently bereaved especially the Garvey family following the death of Paul’s father.
- As Christian Aid week begins, to give thanks for its efforts throughout the world working for profound change that eradicates the causes of poverty, striving to achieve equality, dignity and freedom for all, regardless of faith or nationality. (Taken from the CA website www.chritianaid.org.uk) Give thanks too, for all those raising funds this week to support that work..
- 750 years after the birth of the Italian poet Dante, to give thanks for all those writers, poets, artists and composers who urge us to appreciate God’s creation, both this world and the next: “Heaven wheels above you, displaying to you her eternal glories, and still your eyes are on the ground.”
This week please remember:
- To pray for all those caught up in the disaster in Nepal: those who are injured; those who have lost their lives; those who have lost loved ones or who don’t yet know the fate of those they care about; those who have been made homeless. Remember also to give thanks for the efforts of those striving still to rescue people from the rubble and to help those in need. Give thanks to for all the aid agencies raising money to support those efforts.
- Pray for the future of this country as it elects a new government this coming Thursday. Pray that all those able to vote will do so wisely, casting their votes for the long term good of all and not for short term gain. Pray also for the politicians of whatever political persuasion who have the task of forming that government; that they may govern with wisdom and compassion to find the best way through the many and complex problems we face in the years to come.
- To pray for all those who have lost loved ones recently. In particular, remember our brethren at St Robert’s as they lay Father Lawrence to rest and give thanks for his life and ministry.
- To pray for all our young people who are about to start their GCSE exams that they may have the calmness and clarity of thought which will allow them to do their very best in these exams. Give thanks also for the teachers who are supporting them.
- In the light of the executions this week in Indonesia pray that justice may always be tempered with compassion, and law with mercy.
With the women of Guatemala we pray:
Vast , O Lord are our differences but one is our unity in Christ. Many are our faces and languages but one is the power of your grace. Great is our sorrow and pain but one is the hope in our hearts. Deep is our need of forgiveness, but one is the source of your love. Heavy are the chains which enfold us but one is the justice of your kingdom.
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]