ARCHIVE - PRAYER GROUP
As requested by the Moderator of the Church of Scotland and other Church leaders, we each lit a candle at 7.00pm on Sunday 22 March as a "visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, our source and hope in prayer."
"Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you" 1 Peter 5:7
Lent Prayer Table
(The cross on the table is made from the trunk of our Chrismon tree}
It seems no time since our prayer table was displaying our Chrismon tree with its various Christian symbols in white and gold, helping us celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Now, we find ourselves in the days of Lent, the days for reflection and preparation for Easter.
There are different ways of preparing ourselves, such as fasting, giving up a luxury or thinking of others. Using Isaiah 58: 6-7 as our scripture verse for the season of Lent, the prayers presently only our table are for the oppressed, homeless and hungry, the voiceless, the poor, those without hope and the environment.
"Remind us often Lord, when we are feeling proud, arrogant, beyond reproach, pleased with ourselves, self-sufficient in our ways, that for such a us and better and worse, you walked a road that took you to a cruel cross and rose again to show us where we might look for rescue, as from this lofty perch we fall."
All the prayers on the table this month are about love and based on 1 Corinthians Chapter 13.
Here are a few of them:
Thank you that you are a loving, gracious God.
Thank you that you've offered us forgiveness and the gift of new life in you.
Thank you that your love is perfect, it never fails and that nothing can separate us from your love.
Lord, thank you that your love does not take into account a wrong suffered.
Lord help us not to hold grudges, but to choose to forgive, even when it's difficult.
Lord thank you that your love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.
Lord help us to love your words of truth, may we walk in your freedom and wisdom.
Let it be what drives our lives and choices every day.
Lord, thank you that your love is patient. Help us show patience with those around us.
Lord, thank you that your love is kind. Help us to extend kindness to others.
Lord, thank you that true love is not jealous.
Help us cast aside feelings of jealousy or hatred towards others.
Lord, thank you that your love does not brag and is not arrogant.
Help us not to live with pride or arrogance, but to choose to walk with humility and grace.
Our Chrismon tree, which was greatly admired, has now been taken down. However, the trunk of it will appear again at Lent in the form of a cross. Had Jesus only been an ordinary child, His birth would soon have been forgotten and the story would have ended. Yet, as the story told by our Chrismon tree will continue in Lent, so the events of the incarnation point us to the cross and resurrection, the cornerstone of our faith.
Our Prayer theme for the month of January is "new beginnings". Let us remember the words of Peggy Toney Horton:
"As the old year retires and a new one is born, we commit into the hands of our Creator the happenings of the past year and ask for direction and guidance in the new one. May He grant us His grace His tranquility and His wisdom! Amen."
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God and also in Me." John 14:1
30 March 2020
Coronavirus: Pray for NHS staff and all helping selflessly to care for the ill and those in self isolation. Pray for the police, ambulance and fire services. The bereaved.
Environment: Pray that the improvements we have seen during recent weeks in the environment, such as the healing of the ozone layer and pollution levels, may continue once life returns to normal. May we see clearly from these improvements at this time the damage that we are doing to the world by our usual attitudes and actions.
Mental Health: Pray for those suffering from mental health issues and for all who are finding this an especially difficult time.
Thanks: Give thanks for the simple things in life that we so often take for granted.
An amazingly timed quote. Read the quote first and then read the dates of the author at the end.
'And the people stayed at home. And read books, and listened and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless and heartless ways the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.’
By Kitty O’Meara, who was born in 1941 in Limerick, Ireland and died 2013 in New Rochelle, N.Y.
23 March 2020
Coronavirus: Those who have lost loved ones; those who are ill with it; NHS staff and all essential workers; scientists searching for a vaccine; those who feel isolated and afraid.
As Easter approaches that people will examine their lives and turn to the cross.
Pray for those known to you who need to know God's love, mercy and strength at this time.
Give thanks that we can trust God in every situation because He loves us and never leaves us.
As part of the Christmas Tree Festival, the prayer table during December will have a "chrismon tree". The tree itself is a real tree, the evergreen representing eternal life. The lights are white, representing "Christ, the Light of the World". The decorations, which are all Christian symbols, have all been handmade by members of the Prayer Group and are in white, for the purity of Christ, or gold for His Kingship.
For example: butterfly = resurrection; crown = majesty; sheep or shepherd's crook = the Good Shepherd; heart = love of God; dove = Holy Spirit; cradle with baby = the coming of Christ among us. These are just a few of the symbols we have used.
As always in November, the prayer table is dedicated to the memory of those, both service personnel and civilians, who have lost their lives as a result of conflict. We also pray that mankind will learn to live in piece.
Our prayers this month give thanks to God, our abundant giver, for the food that sustains us and the people who grow, harvest and deliver it. We, who have plenty, also pray that we may have loving, generous hearts to share God's adequate providing with those who have little.
Lord of the Harvest, we thank you for your creation, for it's beauty and fruitfulness.
We thank you for blessing us with our daily bread.
Lord of Mercy, we confess to you our failure to be wise stewards of this world.
We confess to you our selfishness in not sharing the earth's bounty fairly.
Jesus said "Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14.
We often hear people say that the Children are the Church of tomorrow. In a way, it's true, for we hope that the seeds planted in them today will be nurtured and grow so that in adulthood, they will take up the baton of faith from us.
However, they are also a very important part of the Church today and so the theme of this month's prayer table is children, remembering and giving thanks to every one of them.
July & August (summer)
It is important that violinists not only look after their instruments but also their bows, which should be slackened every time after use. If this is not done, then the bow will lose it's camber (bend) because it is under tension for too long and will eventually break.
We too will eventually break if we do not release the tension of life from time to time. When God created the universe, He rested on the 7th day and Jesus also knew the need to rest, both for his disciples and for Himself. "Come to me, get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest." Matthew 11:28
The theme of our Prayer Table for July and August is 'Summer'. Giving thanks to god for the (hopefully) better weather, longer evenings, a time during which many of our activities stop, allowing more time for relaxation and opportunities for holidays and rest.
In the month of June, our prayer table celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit, the third part of Trinity. We read in Acts 2: 1-13 about Pentecost, how the Holy Spirit came touching the hearts of those gathered and how the Church was born. We pray that He will again touch the hearts and souls of men and women throughout the world.
The book of Acts and the epistles tell us that encouragement was a major theme in the early Church. Today, we still all need encouragement, whether we are feeling confident or inadequate, inspired or confused, certain or uncertain, happy or sad and so that is the theme for our prayer table during the month of May.
Lord, come paint a rainbow bright of hope within my soul
Take the greys of weariness and inject new hues of gold.
Scarlet streaks of passion that make me come alive
Rich and royal threads that weave your kingdom through my life.
Clean away the dust of disappointment from my heart
Replace faded tones of failure, polish me up real smart.
Bright and dancing, sun streaked light that shines upon my face
Pure and radiant tones of white that radiate your grace.
(Prayer by Living Prayers)
‘He is risen, He is risen indeed!’
The sorrow of Good Friday has passed, the joy of Easter has come. Had Jesus died and not risen again, He would have merely been another man, another teacher. The resurrection confirms that Jesus was the Son of God. Through Him death has been conquered. Love has triumphed, given us hope and the promise of eternal life for all who believe.
Our prayer table this month is centred on Lent, which is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending the day before Easter Sunday. The forty days represent the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.
Lent is a time of self-examination and reflection during which we should focus on our relationship with God. It is a tie for us to think about the choices we have to make in our daily lives and to reflect on the choices Jesus made while being tempted by Satan in the desert. We should lift our eyes to the cross, remembering what Christ endured on it at Calvary for us. Lent reminds us that we need to respond to the love of God shown in Jesus.
On 14 February, tokens of love are sent and exchanged.
However, we often forget that we each receive the greatest love each and every day - the love of God our Father, which is immeasurable and selfless.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
At the beginning of a New Year, when many look to make resolutions about their lives, the Prayer Group has chosen the theme of 'New Beginnings' as the theme for the prayer table.
There you will find prayers to help you reflect on letting go of things from the past which should be left in the past and some to help you look forward to the future with hope, joy and the love of Christ.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation, old things have passed away; behold all things have become new"
2 Corinthians 5:17
The theme of the prayer table has now been changed to "miracles".
In the weeks leading up to Remembrance Sunday, members of the congregation were invited to write the names of loved ones they wished to remember on paper poppies. These, along with 100 knitted poppies to mark the centenary of the end of World War 1, were then placed on the prayer table.
The members of the prayer group were heartened at the response from the congregation.