‘He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Gracious God, as international Seafarers Day is marked today, we lift before you all those who navigate the seas to sustain this industry. We recognise the sacrifice of being away from home for long passages of time, separated from family and friends. We pray for the safety of all crews when they are faced with the dangers of heavy seas and storms. May they feel the assurance and security of Your presence with them and may they be brought safely home to shore. So too, we pray for all families and loved ones who wait for their return. May they too experience the strength and support that comes from being loved and sustained by You. Finally, Lord God, we pray for the work of Mission to Seafarers who seek to support Seafarers and their families. We ask that you bless the work of all chaplains and all staff and volunteers. In times of economic uncertainty, we lift the future of this industry into Your hands and pray for the wellbeing of all those whose lives engage with our seas and oceans. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
‘Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen’.
Gracious God, we lift before You the Methodist Church Conference which begins today. We pray that the business of Conference is able to be conducted effectively and efficiently within Covid restrictions. Please be with all Church leaders and representatives in the week ahead. Lord God, as part of the Universal Church, we have faced tremendous challenges and been forced to rethink what it means to be Church, as buildings have closed and restrictions put into place. And yet You have continued to support and sustain and guide us. You have given us the strength and encouragement to be radical, to do things differently, and to reach out to a wider community in ways we had not envisaged before the pandemic. As we move out of lockdown, the challenges continue as we witness the pain and anxiety of many people in our communities, who’s lives have been affected in so many different ways over the past 18 months. And so Lord God, we pray that Conference will be inspired and encouraged to be bold and brave, to wrestle with the difficult decisions, to seek wisdom and integrity to be relevant as the Church of today, and to equip ourselves as fit for purpose to be the Church of the future. May we be Your Church, adhering to Your will, witnessing to Your healing reconciling power and Your love in our world. We pray all this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Cornerstone and our Saviour. Amen.
‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid’.
Gracious God, the story was read in our Churches yesterday, of how the disciples of Jesus, caught in a ferocious storm whilst sailing across a lake, cried out in fear for their lives as the storm raged. And in the midst of the situation, Jesus commanded the storm to be quiet and the sea to be calm and peace was restored. As the story is retold, we are reminded of the sense of peace that comes from being in a relationship with Jesus,Your Son. At the start of a new week, we acknowledge that there may be times in the week ahead when we, or those whom we care about, feel that we are battling through a storm, that there are moments when our sense of peace is disturbed. And so we thank You that in those moments we can turn to Jesus, that we can share our concerns knowing that He is with us and walks alongside us to bring us His peace. May our hearts and minds be filled with the assurance of His presence with us, now and in the days to come. In His name we pray, Amen
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up just as in fact you are doing’.
Gracious God, as our thoughts turn to the health of all people this Thursday morning, we pray for all those still in a cycle of waiting; for our nation as we wait for all restrictions to be lifted, for those waiting for medical treatment delayed by the pressures of the pandemic, for those waiting to re-open their businesses or return to work, for those waiting for their vaccinations, for those waiting to feel confident enough to return to mixing with others in society, for young people awaiting exam results, for Churches waiting to re-commence their face to face activities and so so many other situations people find themselves in. Lord God, waiting is difficult, it can make us feel vulnerable and insecure. And so, in our waiting, help us to put our trust and hope in You. Help us to walk alongside one another with compassion and understanding for each others needs, and as we wait, give us courage, give us strength, give us hope and surround us with Your Love. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’
Gracious God, as World Refugee Week is marked this week, we reflect upon this years theme, ‘We cannot walk alone’. During the pandemic, we have all experienced feelings of isolation and loneliness, but for those who find themselves resident in a land that is not their homeland, exclusion and segregation are felt most acutely. And so we pray for all Refugees. We lift into Your presence all those who are escaping persecution, conflict or natural disasters and pray for their protection and comfort. Lord God, we give thanks for Your Son, Jesus Christ, who taught us to reach out to those who find themselves on the fringes of society, and encouraged us to cross boundaries and build communities rooted in compassion, empathy and welcome. And so, may integration and inclusivity be at the heart of our relationships, as we extend open arms and hands of friendship to those in need. May their voices be heard. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
“Give thanks to the Lord because he is good, because his faithful love endures forever.”
Gracious God, as we celebrated the work and service of Methodist Homes for the Aged yesterday, we lift all those before You who work or are residents in Care and Nursing Homes. We appreciate that staff are still coming to terms with the devastating impact Covid 19 had upon their communities, and the loss of residents to the virus is still acutely felt. And so we give thanks for the dedication of Staff, who continue to rebuild communities and ensure the welfare of all those in their care. So too, we acknowledge the grief experienced by families, and those who are still under restrictions in relation to visiting loved ones. We give thanks for the love of families and friends and pray that You will continue to support and sustain relationships. Finally, Lord God, we lift before You all residents. May all residents feel the assurance and security of being cared for and may Your presence and Your love be felt in every home. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Gracious God, as the weekend approaches we give thanks for the sunshine of the past week. It has been a week in which we have corporately shared hope and disappointments; disappointments that restrictions may not be lifted as soon as we would wish and the advisory of travel restrictions once more. But so too, we have witnessed the hope of vaccinations promised to countries in need, and potential steps forward in moves to reverse the damage we have done to our planet. We pray that You will continue to guide all those in authority who will make decisions that will affect us all, over the weekend. In these deeply challenging times, may judgements be made with integrity, wisdom and honour. Lord God, we continue to put our trust in You, knowing that You journey with us, knowing that the guiding, healing power of Your Holy Spirit continues to sweep across our world, and giving thanks for Your love and Your grace. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.