Prayers for 22nd May

Today’s thoughts are provided by Rev. Irfan John.

You can download a copy of these prayers here. 

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” Hebrews 13:8

Many decades ago, there was a group of college students from the USA who visited the home of John Wesley who was the founder of the Methodist Church. They noticed very clear dents in the floor, in the specific place where John Wesley had knelt to pray every single day. After they had completed their tour, once they had all got onto their bus to head off, the teacher saw that one of his students was missing. The teacher headed back into the house in search of that missing student and found him kneeling in those exact dents in the floor praying “Do it again, Lord. Do it again!”. The teacher walked up to him and softly put his hand on Billy Graham’s shoulder and told him they were leaving.

Billy Graham trusted in the Lord that if he could do something like that before through John Wesley, then he could do it again through him. When we look at the life of King David we see that through all his hardships from being a little shepherd boy to the King of Israel, he trusted in the Lord to deliver him and his people like he had done to their ancestors. In Psalm 126 David cries out to God asking him to restore his people. In the first three verses King David worships the Lord for all he has done for his people; “(1) When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream. (2) Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, the Lord has done great things for them. (3) The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad”. Then in the final three verses he cries out to God to “(4) Bring back our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the South. (5) Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. (6) He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (NKJV).

Hebrews 13:8 tells us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (NKJV). If you put your trust in the Lord he will do for you what he has done for many before you, all you need to do is pray to him and ask for his guidance, blessings and wisdom. No matter the place or circumstances, don’t hesitate to pray and kneel before Him and he will answer your prayers and reap the harvest of your seeds.

Prayer: Heavenly Lord, your name is glorious and wonderful. We come into your presence to thank you for your Grace and all the blessings you give to us. We thank you for the continuous work of our Wales Synod, all its Circuits and Churches. We pray that you enable us and all your people to be great witnesses of your word in our nation and beyond. We thank you for our Synod Chair Rev. Stephen Wigley and for all the Superintendents, Ministers and Local Preachers that you may use them greatly for your work. Help us all to be able to plant seeds of your Glory wherever we may go. Amen.

Posted by LIsa Medina

Prayers for 21st May

Today’s thoughts are provided by Rev. Irfan John.

You can download a copy of these prayers here. 

Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV)

Jesus taught his disciples to pray during quietness or during moments of agony – that is to pray at all times. A Christian life is established and maintained by having a prayer life. John Wesley was a man of prayer. He spent time in prayer every morning beginning at 4:00 a.m. before embarking on his day.

One evening he went to dinner with a great writer. After dinner, the man said, “Now you’ve finished dinner, let’s have a nice time of conversation.” Wesley said, “I’m sorry, I have to go.” The author objected, “But it’s not yet nine o’clock, why are you going?” Wesley said, “I have an appointment in the morning at four o’clock.” “At four o’clock tomorrow morning?!?” he asked. “Every morning of my life,” Wesley said. “With whom?” he questioned. To which Wesley said, “With God.”

Spiritual revival broke out in spiritually and morally declined Britain of 18th century, because Wesley had discovered “the grand means of drawing near to God”. As a runner gains strength for the race by his daily exercise, similarly the strength for the race of faith is gained by the exercise of prayer daily.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your great love. We thank you for the work of the Wales Synod, all its Circuits and Churches. Forgive us when we try to move ahead in our own strength without you. Help us to follow your command to “pray without ceasing”. So that our spirit may always be sensitive to your presence and the voice of your Holy Spirit. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Posted by LIsa Medina

Prayers for 20th May

Today’s thoughts and prayers in Cardiff Circuit’s Month of Prayer are provided by Rev. Delyth Liddell, Coordinating Chaplain at Cardiff University.

You can download a copy of these prayers here. 

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.”  (Romans 15:4)

Universities, and schools and colleges, are one of the places where we learn; where those things that were written in the former days are studied for instruction, and new things are written to help and give hope for those who will come to learn after us.

Many students at Universities around Wales will be in the middle of their exam period.  In previous years, we would have seen row upon row of students in large halls, furiously scribbling away to get every last scrap of information down before the exam ends.  Of course, this year, things have changed, and most students are now sitting in their homes taking ‘open-book’ exams, with 24 hours to complete an exam paper and upload it to the University computer system.

The University staff have had to work fast to move teaching and exams to on-line platforms.  They have had an unprecedented challenge to accommodate both students individual needs (after all, not everyone has access to a computer and Wi-Fi at home), and to ensure that students meet the criteria for the courses that they are studying.

Over the past eight weeks, students have been completing essays, assignments and dissertations at home, in environments which are not always conducive to study.  It can be great to have Mum or Dad on hand to make food for you and hand you a cup of tea, but it can also be distracting to have homelife go on around you and little brothers and sisters wanting you to play with them.  It is hard for a student who has left home and begun to find out who they are in adulthood, to return to the nest and be cooped up with parents again.  For those students, whose homelife is difficult at the best of times, this can be a constant pressure, and give a real sense of isolation.

As we approach the summer, Graduation ceremonies have been cancelled, with virtual graduation ceremonies being offered by the university and in hope that the students will be able to return and graduate in person in the summer of 2021.

These changes have brought challenges to both staff and students of universities, and today I invite you to pray for the young people throughout Wales, and for those who teach them.

The opening Bible verse was of course pointing to the instruction that we find within the Bible, so I challenge you too, to read the scriptures today that, through your steadfastness in study of the Bible, you might find encouragement and that we might have hope.

Holy One,
Who by the instruction and guidance of the Holy Spirit as we read your word,
enables us all to have hope in these times.
We pray for students and staff of universities, schools and colleges throughout Wales
That they might continue their studies diligently and steadfastly.
We pray for those who have difficult home lives,
That they might find hope and peace in their situations.
We offer our prayers in the name of our Saviour Jesus
Who came to teach us the best way to live in love,
And through whom we have the best hope of all, life in You, Lord.
Amen.

“May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Amen.   (Romans 15:5)

Posted by LIsa Medina

Prayers for 19th May

Today’s thoughts are provided by Rev. Irfan John

You can download a copy of these prayers here. 

Verse of the Day

“Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” Mark 14:9

Today’s Inspiring Story

Born in 1784, Mary Jones was a Welsh girl with a burning desire to have a Bible of her own. At the age of 15, having saved money for 6 years, she walked 26 miles barefoot to buy her own Welsh Bible from Rev. Thomas Charles. Her story inspired the foundation of The British and Foreign Bible Society which enable me to be able to read the Word of God in my own language also.

After coming to Wales, the first holiday I took my family on was to (believe it or not) an old grave, her birthplace and the house and village she spent her life in. Just to salute and pay our tributes to Mary Jones for what she did for me, my family and the world!

May we all be inspired by the story of Mary Jones and her Bible. As we reflect on our history may we find ways of using the inspiration of the past and applying it to today to share the wonderful Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we come before you this day to thank you for all the wonderful things you do in our lives and for the lives of others around us by using us as your vessels.

We thank you for the Wales Synod and all its Circuits.

Help us during this time of crisis to set an example for those around us who may be troubled or weary, that they may be inspired to look to you in this tough time and find peace.

Amen.

Posted by LIsa Medina

Prayers for 18th May

Today’s thoughts are provided by Rev. Kofi Amissah

You can download a copy of these prayers here. 

The month of May is known as ‘Kɔtɔnimma’ (baby crabs), among the Twi speaking people of Ghana. The sunshine, dew and irregular rain in April created a conducive environment for hatching of crab eggs laid in March. Thus, by the first week of May, there are abundance of newly hatched crabs along the banks of rivers, streams, and brooks. Thus, the month of May becomes a month of new life as these baby crabs are hatched to begin their life. Also, water bodies are expected to fill up and possibly overflow their banks as the major rainy season begins. This will definitely rejuvenate the existing life in these water bodies and support new life. Again, May is the month when farmers of cash crops, such as cocoa and coffee, nurse their hope for bumper harvest as their crops begin to ripen. This also brings new life into their finances and hope for a secured economic future.

New life and hope of a secured economic, health and a flourishing social future is exactly what the world needs as we battle COVID-19. We all pray and hope for a new life, a new beginning, and a new way of doing things when COVID-19 is defeated. This is exactly what Paul assures us, that through Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross, God gave us new life, even when we were dead in sin. God’s grace has saved us (Ephesians 2:5). Indeed, God has and continues to give us new life through Jesus Christ.

So, let us pray that the new life in Christ that God has given us will manifest by ending the COVID-19 pandemic and helping us to live a new life that will reflect what we have learnt during this pandemic.

Pray for new life for all those who are ill because of COVID-19 and for total healing for them.

Pray for new life in our churches, circuits, the Wales Synod together with Synod Cymru and the Methodist Church. Pray that this new life will include spiritual and numerical growth.

Pray for new life in our homes, families, and communities. Pray that this new life will spread through Wales, the United Kingdom, and the world over. Let there be new life.

THE PROTECTION OF GOD BE WITH YOU.

Posted by LIsa Medina

Prayers for 17th May

Today’s thoughts are provided by Rev. Kofi Amissah

You can download a copy of these prayers here. 

Most of you are aware that I am writing these reflections for prayers from sunny Ghana where I am locked up since 30th April 2020, after my Sabbatical and now waiting for the earliest opportunity to return to Wet Wales. So, for today 17th, tomorrow 18th and later on 25th and 30th, we reflect together on the names four Ghanaian languages and cultures give to the Month of May. These languages and cultures are: Mfantse, Twi, Eʋe and Gá.

The Mfantses of Ghana call the month of May ‘Esusow Aketseaba’, literally, ‘little rainy season’. May officially marks the beginning of the major rainy season (May to July). During this time, the farming community put in their best effort to produce most of their food and cash crops. Seeds have already been sown in anticipation of the rain and these farmers pray that God will bless them with abundant rain leading to bountiful harvest.

Every now and then, we all sow seeds in our family life, work, and faith that we wait for both spiritual and physical rain to fall so they will germinate and bear abundant fruit. Deuteronomy 28:12 reads: ‘The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none’.

So, pray that God will open the heavens and send rain on our land and seeds to bless all the work of our hands.

Rain has the capacity to create floods that washes the surface of the earth carrying every dirt and debris with it. Pray that a heavenly flood will be released to wash away COVID-19 from the face of the earth.

Pray for all those infected or affected by COVID-19, that God will heal, comfort, guide and sustain them.

Pray for God’s abundance to fill the earth that poverty, lack and scarcity will be dealt with decisively.

Pray for the Methodist Church and the Methodist Synods in Wales that God will rain revival upon us in these end times.

Bring your own needs before God and ask him to help you make good use of all that you have learnt throughout this tough time.

THE POWER OF GOD BE UPON YOU.

Posted by LIsa Medina

Prayers for 16th May

Today’s thoughts are provided by Rev. Nick Oborski

You can download a copy of these prayers here. 

“O God you are my God, earnestly I seek you: my soul thirsts for you”
PSALM 63:1

In its three weeks of prayer the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity reminded me of so many who serve us. I hear most days what is like to be in retail sales from my son who works for Iceland. LICC summed this industry up:
“retailers and manufacturers provide us with goods that are often essential, beautiful, and innovative. Whilst many stores have been forced to close, some manufacturers have become central to the country’s response to Covid-19.” Below some thoughts from people involved in the industry as quoted in LICC’s prayer under the headings Give Thanks and Ask for God’s help

Giving thanks …

  • ‘The constructive way my leadership team and the organisation as a whole has responded to the crisis suggests God at work.’ God is at work ‘helping us to have patience and empathy for clients and employees.’

  • I sense God ‘challenging managers of clothing brands about whether they will cancel orders to suppliers or not. We’re thinking about our obligations to suppliers of clothing in the developing world who employ large numbers of poor people with no safety net.’

Ask for God’s help…
Pressures: What are the pressures affecting this context?

  • ‘It’s difficult to ensure that there is still enough work to go around, because business has fallen more than expected. We’re dealing with clients who are stuck in one room all day, and so more stressed and anxious, and therefore more frustrated at us when something isn’t right.’

  • ‘It’s hard to ensure our staff can operate safely, and to manage ongoing and unpredictable personnel absences due to the virus. We’ve also had to furlough almost one third of our staff. Supply chain instability just adds to these issues.’

Praying God’s heart for these people and situations…

Loving God we thank you for those who are working in supermarkets and other retail outlets ensuring we get the things we need. We recognise their fears of being infected and we pray for their safety as they make deliveries, stack shelves, and process our shopping through the tills. We thank you for the work to release more online delivery slots and for those who pack and deliver our orders to our door. We remember too those whose businesses are closed and whose staff are on furlough or have been made unemployed. We think of those overseas in impoverished situations who rely on orders from British companies which are now not coming. As we look to the future, we ask that we might look at the impact of our supply chains on all who work in these industries. Amen

Praying for the Wales Synod and Our Circuit

Our Church Treasurers met on Wednesday night to talk through the impact of our Churches being closed. There were stories of increased giving, of cheques arriving through the post, of people trying to ensure their weekly envelope or cash giving is arriving now with the church rather than waiting for the next time we physically meet together. There was a recognition that many of our expenses continue and that many churches are significantly hit by a loss of letting income. The Circuit committed to playing its part in helping in this time of need. We bring this and other practical needs to our God.

A Prayer

Loving God we know that you have given us all the resources we need. We pray for wisdom for our Treasurers, Church Stewards, Ministers, and Circuit Stewards as they help to manage these during this difficult time. We ask for wisdom as they look to the future and consider how budgets should be set. Help them to know where the focus of the circuit mission should be as we move forward and give them the courage to trust in your provision. Amen

Posted by LIsa Medina

Prayers for 15th May

Today’s thoughts are provided by Rev. Paul Martin

You can download a copy of these prayers here. 

“To clasp hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising” – Karl Barth

Dom Helder Camara was a remarkable man. A Bishop in a poor area in North East Brazil he made quite an impact standing alongside the poor and marginalised. Famously, he said that when he fed the poor, people called him a saint but when he questioned why there was such poverty he was swiftly dismissed as a communist. This was very dangerous in the period in which Brazil was ruled by a brutal military dictatorship. Indeed on one occasion he was visited by a gunman who announced he had come to assassinate Dom Helder. Ultimately the gunman left without carrying out the deed because he realised that Dom Helder was a man of God.

Dom Helder was one of the most prominent exponents of what came to be liberation theology. This is reflected in his prayers. At times they are deeply uncomfortable such as this one:

“Come, Lord,
do not smile and say you are already with us.
Millions do not know you,
and to us who do,
what is the difference?
What is the point of your presence
if our lives do not alter?
Change our lives,
shatter our complacency.
Make your word our life’s purpose.
Take away the quietness of a clear conscience.
Press us uncomfortably.
For only thus
that other peace is made,
your peace.”

This prayer for young people is also full of challenge:

“Lord this world needs
this wonderful wealth that is youth.
Help young people!
They possess the inexhaustible wealth
of the future.
Do not allow an easy life
to corrupt them,
Nor difficulties to quench their spirit
Amen.”

Dom Helder Camara remains a powerful example to us that Barth was correct. May at the right times our prayers be the beginning of an uprising!

PRAYER SUGGESTIONS

1/. Pray that a more just society be built on the ashes of this pandemic.

2/. Pray that in our church life we might dream big dreams

3/. Pray for all who are this day walking through the valleys of death, despair or pain whilst giving thanks for all who by words and deeds give reason to believe in life, hope and healing.

Posted by LIsa Medina

Prayers for 14th May

Today’s thoughts are provided by Rev. Paul Martin

You can download a copy of these prayers here. 

A friend once suggested to me that his church prayer meeting is often the setting for big competition. The basis of the competition was who could use the most flowery language. I think the notion is a bit unfair at least judging from prayer meetings I have attended. However, there is when approaching a God of wonders a powerful impulse to use the language of poetry to express ourselves. How else can we approach the One who is beyond our comprehension let alone mundane words?

But prayer can often be more raw than this. It sometimes comes more from the guts than the head. As Anne Lamott has observed the two most real prayers are “Help me, help me, help me” and “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” There is something very authentic about such prayers, particularly at this time. We all have moments when such cries are where we are at, but with the current pandemic this is, I suspect, where most of us are. The challenges of the current situation are so great that we are unable to see with any clarity the way ahead. But amidst our very real fears we are grateful for those who help us, even at great risk to themselves

There is a Biblical tradition of lament. We see it in many of the Psalms and particularly powerfully in the Book of Lamentations. Lives have caved in and with nowhere else to turn our authors, often having poured their hearts out, then look in desperation to God whose goodness they recall. After this they beg for God’s help. I believe that is our current situation. After all, in a world of change and turmoil the love of God is one thing that is constant.

As we offer thanks and cry for help, we are joining ourselves with others who have lived through tempestuous times. We seek our refuge in the unchanging love of God. As the hymn often sung in times of crisis puts it:

“O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home.”

May we cry out for help from God whilst not forgetting to thank God for those people and happenings for which we have reason to be grateful.

PRAYER SUGGESTIONS

1/. Bring all the anxieties and fears you have to God asking for help.

2/. Give thanks for those who are helping us individually and as a nation to get through these times as well as for all people and resources that make life worth living even in these tempestuous times.

Posted by LIsa Medina

Prayers for 13th May

Today’s thoughts are provided by Rev. Paul Martin

You can download a copy of these prayers here. 

Every so often I encounter people whose approach to prayer is one of “Name it, Claim it!” All sorts of things are claimed such as parking spaces, outcome of football matches and even the results of elections. The trouble with all of this is that it seems to me to reduce prayer to the level of some sort of holy magic.

The trouble with this approach is that even earnest prayer does not always produce the undoubtedly good outcome for which we pray. I have prayed for people I have loved and troubled situations in our world to seemingly no avail. And yet it seems right to to go on praying. Why? Because scripture encourages us to do so.

Luke tells a parable about a widow and an unjust judge. He begins the episode with the following verse:

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them they should always pray and not give up”
(Luke 18 v1)

St. Paul writing his first letter to the church in Thessolonica writes:

“Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
(1 Thessolonians 5 v17-18)

In the Gospels we find Jesus building prayer into the rhythm of his life even on the night in which he was betrayed. As for the great interpreter and missionary that was St. Paul, we find him regularly assuring the churches he was involved with of his prayers for them. Sometimes he gives thanks for them. Other times he prays for their spiritual growth.

So, prayer is not a fancy option but an essential part of being in Christ. And it deepens our relationship with God.

Sometimes in prayer we focus on the wonder of God. As we express our adoration, we ourselves gain as we are reminded of the nature of a God who is creative, loving, faithful and merciful as well as being so much more. In prayers of adoration we find assurance of God is truly good beyond compare.

Sometimes we focus on our need of confession. If, as we believe, God is incomparably good we have to be pretty conceited to believe we match up. We need a time to confess both our individual failings and those of our community, nation or whatever. This is about being right with God. And when we reach out to God, we find that God has beaten us to it and offered us forgiveness of the past and encouragement to start again as forgiven people given the opportunity to learn from the past.

Sometimes in prayer our focus is on thanksgiving. We are always in debt to God and have much to be grateful for. If you think back to the story of the ten lepers that Jesus healed of their condition the one who found true wholeness was the Samaritan who came running back to thank Jesus (Luke 17 vs 11-19).

Finally, there are times in prayer when our focus is on other people and situations, sometimes local and sometimes global. Of course, sometimes these prayers do not lead to the outcome we desire but I believe that such prayers are never wasted. It is to be hoped that through such prayers we have in love brought concerns to God. The outcomes may sadden us or even have broken our hearts, but love is never wasted.

Prayer is not about magic. It is so much more important than that. It is about our love outpouring to God through which we come ever closer to God. And whilst there is mystery in the Divine response, we do well to persist. Never give up! Keep on praying!

Prayer Suggestions

Reflect on the wonder of God.
Gratitude for volunteers helping at this time.
Pray for those whose hearts are broken over loved ones.
Retail workers, transport workers and refuse workers.

Posted by LIsa Medina