Pray Without Ceasing
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
Please remember this week:
- children and students and their parents, victims of the slaughter of the innocents in Pakistan, Syria, Gaza, Nigeria, Mexico where, just as in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago there is “weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more”; Jesus, God’s Son escaped the rage of Herod to live and die a cruel death on the cross for the sins of the world; “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.”
- homeless families or lonely people on our streets, in refugee camps all across the Middle East, Central Africa and Southern Sudan, giving thanks for all who at personal cost and risk bring them aid and hope of safety, justice and peace
- the government of Israel, that the hard-line parties may repent of their “apartheid” oppression of their Arab fellow-citizens and Palestinian 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 ]
- dear friends who are poorly this week or recovering from surgery, including Jim Dunn, Tom Gordon, Jane Kitondekigya, Chris McPhilips, Rosalind Philipson, Chris Jolly, giving thanks for all who bring them healing and hope; and for the privilege of visiting and sharing church news with those who are housebound at this time
- to give thanks for the work of Street Pastors here in Morpeth and other towns praying that more volunteers may be called to this ministry of compassionate service to those endangered by the binge-drinking scene on our streets
- to praise our heavenly Father that at the gate of a New Year we hear the invitation to “put your hand into the hand of God; that shall be better than a light and safer than a known way” (M. Louise Haskins 1875-1957)
Please remember this week:
- To pray for all those working to stop the spread of the Ebola virus remembering not only those risking their lives to care for the ill but also those taking part in vaccine trials. Pray that the side effect experienced by those taking part in such a trial in Switzerland prove to be temporary and that the trial can resume shortly.
- To pray for an end to the use of torture by every country on the planet in line with Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to give thanks for the work of Amnesty International throughout the world. We pray for all prisoners wherever they may be.
- To give thanks for the work of MAF Flying for Life providing access to medical care for isolated communities in many parts of the world. http://www.maf-uk.org This week we are asked particularly to remember those working in Papua new Guinea.
- Minorities everywhere who are persecuted because of their differences remembering particularly the albino population in Tanzania.
- The work of hospital chaplains supporting patients and their families at a time of year when it is particularly difficult to be unable to go home. We remember too, all those we know whose health is giving cause for concern and for those who have lost loved ones recently.
- To give thanks for the efforts of all those who help to organize events, services, carol singing and celebrations in our churches, care homes, schools and communities helping to bring the word to everyone that God is with us.
- To give thanks for the joy and excitement in the eyes and hearts of children (of all ages) as Christmas draws closer.
Pray without Ceasing
Please remember this week:
- 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
- the many ways through which prisoners in HMP Northumberland and those on parole or probation receive God’s gracious help to turn their lives around, make amends and bring peace to their families and communities ; especially giving thanks for chaplains and Christian volunteers engaging with them in worship, Alpha courses, restorative justice mentoring and rehabilitation on release
- homeless young people, often victims of parental strife, irresponsibility or separation, sleeping rough or sofa-surfing and trapped in poverty: pray for all seeking to answer their dire need - working through statutory bodies or voluntary agencies like Barnabas Safe and Sound, Crisis, Action for Children, Barnardo’s depending on our active support and generosity
- our sister churches and their leaders in Ashington, Newbiggin, Stakeford, and Bedlington and their ministers Revds Heegon Moon and Jim McGee, praising God for their effective witness and pioneering new ways of proclaiming God’s love and serving their communities
- the increasing urgency of warnings from the Conference on Climate Change meeting in Peru, praying that rich nations will repent of their self-interest, realise the imminent threat to the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in poorer countries and act decisively to reduce pollution of our atmosphere and oceans [see also World Church Relationships Bulletin December 2014]
- Winter Prayer
God of winter glory, of pale sunlight cut to ribbons by bare black branches,
Of cut glass ice intricately etched with your imagination,
What desperate love drove you to the Mary-stable-shepherd idea?
Help us to see in this story of poverty, struggle, hope and fear,
Your most beautiful creation. Amen
Revd Penny Worth, York