This week I thought we should pray for our locality, especially at the time when so many are worried about the future and how they will be able to afford to enjoy Christmas. It is something that is at the heart of God’s plan. We read in John 1 that ‘The Word became flesh and blood,and moved into the neighborhood.’
This is a a neighbourhood prayer from Canada.
O Lord our creator,
you taught your ancient people
to seek the welfare of the cities in which they lived. We commend our neighbourhood to your care,
that it might be kept free
from social strife and decay.
Give us strength of purpose and concern for others, that we may create here a community of justice and peace where your will may be done. Amen.
Yesterday we were thinking about the Celtic practice of ‘Blessing’. It is one of the very few things they have left us. So I thought that perhaps a Celtic blessing prayer might make a good prayer of the week. We can use this prayer to bless others and in doing so, to receive God’s favour and be blessed ourselves.
May the blessing of light be on you
light without light and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine upon you
and warm your heart
till it glows like a great peat fire
so that the stranger may come
and warm themselves at it
as well as the friend.
And may the light shine out of your eyes
like a candle set in the windows of a house
bidding the wanderer to come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you,
the sweet soft rain.
May it fall upon your spirit
so that all the little flowers may spring up
and shed their sweetness on the air.
And may the blessing of the great rains
be upon you
that they beat upon your spirit
and wash it fair and clean
and leave there many a shining pool
where the blue of heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.
And may the blessing of the earth be on you
the great round earth.
May you ever have a kindly greeting
for people you pass as you go along the roads.
And now may the Lord bless you
and bless you kindly. Amen.
An IrishBlessing translated by B. O’Malley
This Sunday is traditionally known as Stir Up Sunday because it was the day that people traditionally began their Christmas puddings. The collect for this week begins appropriately ‘Stir up O Lord…’
This week I have chosen another suitable prayer to help us celebrate Stir Up Sunday.
you long for the world’s salvation:
stir us from apathy,
restrain us from excess
and revive in us new hope
that all creation will one day be healed
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
My thanks go to the Children’s Society for this week’s prayer. Their website has a useful selection of resources in particular a lovely range of prayers. This one speaks of God singing a song of love over our lives. It should be a song the reverberates in our hearts in is heard in our lives. Perhaps as we pray others will sense the resonance of Christ in us and be moved to respond to Him.
You sing your song of love to us,
so fill us with your Holy Spirit
that our lives become a new song
of gratitude and praise.
Let us never forget your goodness,
your wonderful works and deeds of mercy,
so that both our words and actions
speak of your love,
revealed to us in Christ Jesus. Amen.
This week our prayer comes from the pen of Brennan Manning who died earlier this year. He was a friar, contemplative and author who wrote about the scandal of grace out of his intimacy with the Father with disarming honesty.
Here he speaks about the nature of the relationship he wants with God.
“I want neither a terrorist spirituality that keeps me in a perpetual state of fright about being in right relationship with my heavenly Father nor a sappy spirituality that portrays God as such a benign teddy bear that there is no aberrant behavior or desire of mine that he will not condone. I want a relationship with the Abba of Jesus, who is infinitely compassionate with my brokenness and at the same time an awesome, incomprehensible, and unwieldy Mystery. ”
Here is his prayer.
Lord, when I feel that what I’m doing
is insignificant and unimportant,
help me to remember that everything I do
is significant and important in your eyes,
because you love me and you put me here,
and no one else can do what I am doing
in exactly the way I do it.”Amen.
Prayer by Brennan Manning
from A Ragamuffin Gospel
This week our prayer takes us back to the command of Jesus that we should love one another. Jesus tells us that love is sign by which people will know that we are his disciples. That does not make it easy, because love means seeking the needs of others before our own. That is why we require the help of the Holy Spirit to enable that love to be seen.
O God, you have taught us
to keep all your commandments
by loving you and our neighbour:
Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit,
that we may be devoted to you
with our whole heart,
and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
With the news full of the arrival of the biggest storm to cross the United Kingdom for many years, it seemed appropriate to pray about the storms that we all face on a daily basis. This prayer from Kimberley Knight appears to cover all the bases.
God of our hearts,
Walk with us through
The great storms of life.
Scatter us not to the four corners
as the gale threatens to decimate
all we hold dear.
Untether us from the harbours of hate
and give us buoyancy
to weather the deluge of ignorance
that threatens to drown us all.
Give us strength
To be your hands and feet
and row with others
As the waves of this world
threaten to submerge us
beneath the surface of our darkest hours.
Grant that we have a ray of faith
in the misty foam of our unbelief
that in you;
joined with our sisters & brothers
all things are possible
through Christ. Amen.
Our prayer this week asks God to surround us as we journey through the days. In particular, that the Holy Spirit guide us in the choices that we must make.
Lord, this week please help me through
and I ask that you stand before me,
behind me and to each side of me.
Guide me in all my decisions
and aid me in making the right choices for myself as well as others for whom I am responsible.
May this week bring me closer to you
in every way! Amen.
May you know God’s presence as you pray this prayer.
We are grateful to the pen of Rev. Joyce Antila Phipps for our prayer this week. This prayer seemed to capture a dilemma that we all face. We all have idols in our lives – not the colossal statues of the ancient world, but the more subtle type we erect in our hearts. Praying this prayer may reveal these idols to us so that we can ask the Lord to release us from them.
Spirit of discernment,
release us from the idols we hold in our lives:
From our love of things
and vain promises of wealth,
From our conviction that we always know
what is best for us and others,
From the hubris
we use as a shield against our weaknesses.
Spirit of love,break the seal we have used
to lock the doors of our hearts,
And show us the way to better serve you
in word and deed,
As did the One who calls us,
Even Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen
Jesus tells us to ‘seek and you shall find.’ It seems to me that in some ways we are all seekers. We are usually all ‘job seekers’ for whom God makes allowances. Perhaps instead we should be seekers after God and trusting that from seeking him all things will flow.
God of Grace;
may I find a pearl today;
in the deep sea of faith,
in the secure shell of intimacy,
in the irritation that gives birth to new possibilities,
in the death that leads to new life.
And finding that pearl;
may I discern its beauty,
grasp it and share it,
that others may see the pearl of great price,
the pearl of your grace.
Ruth M Gee.