31 Voices of Prayer – Day 31

Day 31

Prayer for Families Everywhere

The final day of the ‘write31days’ challenge has arrived. I’ve missed a few days, but better late than never, here are my last few words of contribution…

After a few days break from daily writing for the ‘write31days ‘ challenge, with grandchildren staying over and a complete change of routine in our house, I return with the  final topic, of prayer for families. This week has been ‘up close and personal’ , with energetic , little people, fun yet tiring!!

What is a family? A very good question these days? Families are all shapes and sizes and mixtures.. and I believe God loves them all with their cosmopolitan diversity.

The Bible dictionary (NLT) describes family as  ‘ A household unit of related people – as in a clan.’

God did a very special thing when He brought Jesus into the world for us. In Ephesians 1 v 5 scripture tells us that;

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ

We have an earthly family that we are born from, but we have a heavenly family that we are born into.

Ephesians 2 v 19 tells us;

You are citizen’s along with all God’s holy people – You are members of God’s family’.

Families are full of contrasts, on the one hand a place full of  unconditional love and security and on the other dysfunctional and insecure. Many of us have equally mixed views and experiences of our own family backgrounds.

Essentially family at it’s best is God’s heart expressed fully. A safe place , a place to belong and fully be yourself.

Searching for prayers for families I came across this;

” By Your divine selection we are born to a family. You have allowed us to be recipients of extraordinary love. You have put the fabric of strong moral character and values into our DNA. Thank you for choosing this family for us. We do our very best to show consideration, compassion, and patience for one another. Thank you for linking our family generation to generation, ancestors, grandparents, parents, children and those who have yet to be born. Amen”*

This prayer reflects equally, our earthly family and our heavenly family.

Give thanks for all families everywhere, what ever shape, size or background they may be.

I give thanks for my family as it expands across the generations.

* resource; http://www.beliefnet.com/prayables/7 Prayers-For-Families ( Family DNA- no 3)

Amen.

 

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31 Voices of Prayer – Day 27

Day 27

For This Child I Pray

Who is This Child?

It is the child, who might be your own, or your grandchild, or your nephew or niece.

The child next door to you, or in the flat above or below you.

The child in the street, or on a bus.

The child who sits alone in the play park.

The child with terrified eyes, staring out from your television, in a war ravaged place.

The child with wide vacant eyes, a swollen belly and flies crawling round the moisture in their eyes, in the news footage from a famine area.

In many ways it is every child you have ever seen, heard ,or read about ,or imagined…

They are all worthy of our prayers and wherever possible our love in action.

This night ,as my Grandchildren went to bed, I had the great privilege of praying this prayer of blessing over them;

Words from scripture;

” May the Lord bless you

and protect you.

May the Lord smile on you

and be gracious to you.

May the Lord show you  his favour

and give you peace.”

Numbers 6 v 24-26 NLT

I may play a very small part in their lives, but the very best thing I can do is to pray for them and love them.

My wider compassing prayer would be that all children everywhere would have someone praying for them, whether they are known to them personally or not. God knows them and will bring them all to  our attention. Prayer is powerful and can change things. Let’s get praying.. Amen.

31 Voices of Prayer – Day 26

Day 26

For Every Child Everywhere

Praying for children is so important and after yesterday’s post ( Day 25) about praying for all believers everywhere, I began to think about children and what Jesus said about them. Children were important to Jesus and so they must be equally important to us.

I have a beautifully illustrated paper back book ” For Every Child” *for UNICEF, including ‘The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in words and pictures’. I often look  through the pages illustrated by well-known artists and remember children in war-torn countries, in places of poverty and natural disaster’s.

I also recall Jesus words in Mark 10 v14 ;

” Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it”. Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.

The book begins with the words;

” Whoever we are, wherever we live, these rights belong to all children under the sun and the moon and the stars, whether we live in cities or towns or villages, or in mountains or valleys or deserts or forests or jungles. Anywhere and everywhere in the big, wide, world, these are the rights of the child”  (  Right no 2)

continues..

” Understand that all children are precious….” ( Right n0 3)

” No-one on Earth has the right to hurt us…” (  Right no 19)

” In times of war do not make us part of any battle, but shelter us and protect us from all harm” ( from, Right no 38)

Sometimes children seem to have’ no voice’ , in the face of war, violence or disaster. Jesus calls upon us to pray for children everywhere and anywhere, and where we can be a voice for them.

Just as Jesus honoured, loved and blessed children so must we…

* For Every Child – UNICEF the rights of the child in words and pictures. Red Fox Edition 2002

31 Voices of Prayer- Day 25

Day 25

Praying for Every Believer

Many years ago I prayed passionate prayers for believers in a troubled country far from my own safe lands.

” God of all Nations,

Sees and knows what is happening in that troubled land,

The eyes of the Lord go to and fro across the earth

He will watch over his righteous ones.

Amen”

Since writing that prayer in 2008, many more lands across the world have been troubled by war, terrorism, civil unrest,  and natural disasters. In each and every land there are believers, we may not know them by name , but God does and calls us to intercede for them.

Scripture words underline the prayer I formed;

‘ The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth, in order to strengthen those whose hearts, are fully committed to him.’

Chronicles 16 v 9 NLT

I will continue to pray for and remember those in troubled lands for ;

 Their protection, inner strength and perseverance. In the turbulence of the troubles and uncertainties.

Many of these believers are ‘ our fellow workers with God’.

Jesus prayed for his disciples when he  walked the earth “ I am praying not only for these disciples, but also for all who will ever believe in me..”  John 17 v 20 NLT

That is all of us today, in this present generation of believers and those to come.

Let us all bring to mind those in troubled lands and pray for them to be strengthened.

Amen

31 Voices of Prayer – Day 24

Day 24

A prayer for Rain

In the Book of Common Prayer, under the section titled Prayers and Thanksgivings, there is a small prayer titled:

For Rain

“O, God heavenly Father who by thy Son Jesus Christ hast promised to all them that seek thy kingdom, and the righteousness thereof, all things necessary to their bodily sustenance; Send us , we beseech thee, in this our necessity, such moderate rain and showers, that we may receive the fruits of the earth to our comfort, and thy honour; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen”

Today it has been raining. The skies have been grey. It has been inconvenient . We got wet.

How many times do we take rain for granted, without it our lands would be dry and things we need for life would not grow.

Sometimes there is simply too much rain for too long and floods begin to threaten homes , villages and towns. We saw this to extreme, last winter here in many parts of the UK. Lives were disrupted and some coastal landscapes changed forever. Those are the extremes of the force of too much water, from sky and sea, and not easily erased from memory.

The prayer speaks of moderate rain and showers, which bring forth the fruits of the earth for our comfort. Britain is a very green and pleasant land, to be enjoyed in the rural and pastoral settings of countryside.

Today I am thankful for the simple pleasures of moderate rain and showers ( and I am determined to be thankful in the rain tomorrow too), even in raincoat, wellingtons’ and  an umbrella.

Next time it rains , will you be thankful too ( especially if you live in a desert environment!!)

31 Voices of Prayer – Day 23

Day 23

Voice of the Evening Prayer

It seems fitting to continue with the prayers from The  Book of Common Prayer, following on from my words on Day 22 of the  ‘write 31 days’ challenge. The small black ‘ Book of Common Prayer’ continues from morning prayers to evening prayers. It is late evening as I write now.

Here are the words of ”The third Collect, for All against all Perils‘ in the Evening Prayer section;

“Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.”

So I come to the close of my day with this prayer language echoing down the ages from countless generations who have repeated this out loud, with the aid of The Book of Common Prayer. I can shape my own prayers in more contemporary language but the heart of it would remain the same. Safety and security in Christ , through the night, regardless of sleeping or working. God is a 24 hour , round the clock God, neither slumbering or sleeping.

May your sleep or work this night be blessed. Amen.

31 Voices of Prayer – Day 22

Day 22

 Voice of the Common Prayer Book

I came across a small black book of Common Prayer in my bookshelf, tucked safely into a white envelope, almost forgotten. It had definitely seen better days, the spine of the small book was all but disintegrated and the front and back leather covers were hanging by threads, the inside pages though, were intact and complete, sewn together rather than glued. This little book once belonged to my father and the inscription on the inside cover was dated 1939, with the words ‘ on his confirmation’. This was the year the 2nd World War broke out and my father served as a soldier in that war. My father died in 2013 aged 86.

Over these last few days I have been reading the various prayers in  The Book of Common Prayer ( for use in The  Church of England) and been very moved to think that my father most probably read these prayers and carried the little book with him in the war. I do not know for certain but I like to imagine that possibility.

At the beginning of the prayer-book,: ‘The Order for Morning and Evening Prayer- Daily to be said and used throughout the year“. I begin here with ‘ A general Confession’ prayer. The style of the language is dated but poetic. A style most of us are not familiar with in our modern non-denominational churches.

A general Confession – to be said of the whole Congregation after the Minister, all kneeling.

Almighty and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we  ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou , O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou them , O God, which confess their faults. Restore  thou them that are penitent; according to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesu our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.

In the early years of my life I attended the Church of England, in the small village I was brought up in. I can still recall those words repeated in one tone by the congregational and the small hard kneeling pads that sat at our feet in the hard wooden pews. When I came to personal faith in Jesus at the age of 17 years old, those monotone prayers came to life in a way they had never done before, in spite of the repetition, I now had a living and vibrant faith within me. Jesus was alive! That was all a long time ago and I have been part of a vibrant and faith filled church of believers for over 25 years, a far different experience of worship. Yet I value those formative years in my faith walk as a young Christian in the wooden pews of a vaulted and stain- glass windowed ,stone, Victorian church building, I was shaped by them and always recall how Jesus came alive to me then.

Finding the Book of Common Prayer has reminded me of all those things, my childhood, memories of my father and my new life in Christ.I am thankful for the ‘voice’ of the Book of Common Prayer  today.

What memories are you thankful for today?