Prayers for 26th May

Today’s thoughts are provided by Rev. Alexis Mahoney

You can download a copy of these prayers here. 

God or Google?

How many times have you heard someone say, ‘Google it!’, especially regarding a question no one knows the answer to?

I’ve heard it so many times now and, truth be told, I’ve used it many times myself in response to an inquisitive question.  I’d guess this applies to many of us.  ‘Google it’ is a phrase which has been used so much that it’s become part of our common parlance.  And I’ve also heard someone say that Googling stuff on the internet is a way of consulting with ‘the great god-Google’, such is its alleged power to bring forth knowledge to our fingertips.

Of course, access to knowledge is extremely useful.  But I’ve also heard a saying which thoughtfully suggests that ‘all knowledge which doesn’t lead to love, is just information’.

So though it’s tempting to turn to what some have called, ‘the great god-Google’ for many things, it’s a worry of mine that one of our contemporary blessings is also a curse, as we too often use this as a default process before we do anything.  That we too often seek information first, before wisdom and love.

How often do we turn to our Great God of love before doing anything?  Or if we have a question, or if we’re going through an experience that weighs heavily on our heart or mind, do we instinctively turn to our Great God?

After all, one of the default acts we have been exhorted to practice is to always consult our Great God.  In fact, we are exhorted to ‘pray without ceasing’ (1 Thessalonians 5.17).  So, praying should be our default position for absolutely everything!

Some of you may be thinking, ‘Ok, so this is yet another Minister bigging-up the power of prayer’, but prayer is often the last thing we do rather than the first thing we do.  And prayer is best when we interweave it in all we do.  Or effectively; when we pray without ceasing…

There are many ways of praying without ceasing, but the one I’d like to offer you today is from the Eastern Orthodox tradition, called, ‘The Jesus Prayer’[1]:

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”.

The Jesus Prayer can be repeated verbally or internally, either as a rule of prayer or in addition to it, or as a form of devotion, or as a short focal point that can be used at any moment, whatever the situation.  Try it and see!

[1] http://www.orthodoxchristian.info/pages/Jprayer.html

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Prayers for 25th May

Today’s thoughts are provided by Rev. Kofi Amissah

You can download a copy of these prayers here. 

The Eʋes in Ghana call the month of May ‘Dame’. The name is rooted in the Eʋe expression, ‘gbe damawo’, which means ‘greenery’ or ‘green vegetation’. With the rains falling in high volumes now, seeds planted in previous months spring up from the earth, with fresh green leaves growing everywhere. Contrary to the dryness of previous months leading up to April, the complete transformation of the vegetation, makes change, from dryness to fresh green vegetation, obvious in the countryside, on the farms and everywhere. Dame, thus becomes a month of growth, renewal and freshness.

With the damage that COVID-19 has caused the world and all that was known to be the norm, the world and each of us need the growth, renewal, freshness and productivity that the Month of May brings among the Eʋes in Ghana. This is exactly what God promises through the Prophet Isaiah: ‘For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations’ (Isaiah 61:11).

So, pray that in this month and beyond, every seed you have sown will spring up so that you shall blossom with freshness. Pray also that Green vegetation will spring up in you and there shall be growth in every area of your life.

Pray that COVID-19 will come to an end so that there will be growth, freshness and renewal in our homes, our communities, the nation, and the world.

Pray for growth, renewal and freshness in our worship and service as congregations and as Christians.

Pray that God’s Spirit will breath freshness upon his Church, the Methodist Church, and the Synods in Wales to lead the way into spreading righteousness and scriptural holiness upon the land.

Pray for yourself and loved ones that God will fulfil your heart desires according to his perfect will.

THE PRESENCE OF GOD BE WITH YOU.

You can watch a video to accompany this here.

Posted by LIsa Medina

Prayers for 24th May

Today’s thoughts are provided by Rev. Delyth Liddell,
Coordinating Chaplain at Cardiff University.

You can download a copy of these prayers here. 

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;
My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning,
More than those who watch for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
And within is great power to redeem.”
(Psalm 130: 5-7)

Today is Aldersgate Sunday, the day when we remember that John Wesley’s heart was strangely warmed, as he experienced God through the power of the Holy Spirit.

John and Charles Wesley, as young priests had been enthused to take the gospel to America, but John had been challenged in his faith, particularly during a strong storm at sea as they made their journey to America.  While all the passengers feared for their lives including John himself, a group of Moravian Christians sat quietly praying and singing hymns, at peace with God and unfearful of death.  He was amazed at their faith, and this experience stayed with him.  On his return from America he was aware that he was unhappy and disillusioned by his faith.  He went one evening, rather reluctantly, to a gathering of Christians in Aldersgate Street, London.  He recorded this pivotal event in his faith in his Journal for 24 May 1738:

“In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

This realisation of God’s love and assurance of salvation inspired John and his brother Charles (who after his own conversion went on to write over 6000 hymns, some of which we still sing today).  From their faith and ministry flowed a movement that changed millions of lives and became the Methodist Church.

As the Methodist Church in Wales we are coming to the end of a year of prayer, marked by this final month of prayer in the Cardiff Circuit.  Some of us may be feeling, like John, disillusioned and unhappy in our faith and our prayers for the Wales Synod.  Let us pray that our hearts may be ‘strangely warmed’ and we too will sense something of the Amazing Grace and love of God for us and for the Wales Synod.

This evening (and next Sunday evening), Methodists from all over Wales will be meeting together virtually to pray and mark the drawing to a close of this year of prayer for the Wales Synod.  You can join in with them by contacting your minister for details.

Almighty God, in a time of great need
you raised up your servants John and Charles Wesley,
and by your Spirit inspired them to kindle a flame of sacred love
which leaped and ran, an inextinguishable blaze.
Grant that all those whose hearts have been warmed at these altar fires,
being continually refreshed by your grace, may be so devoted
to the increase of scriptural holiness throughout the land
that in this our time of great need,
your will may fully and effectively be done on earth as it is in heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(FRED D. GEALY, U.S.A., 20TH CENT., ALT.)

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Prayers for 23rd May

Today’s thoughts are provided by Rev. Nick Oborski.

You can download a copy of these prayers here. 

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.’

PSALM 24:1

As you know my prayers are challenged by the work of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (LICC) who continually remind me of those we forget or take for granted. It’s rare to think about our power, gas and electric and of course water. I am probably reminded of them more when I play Monopoly but, in this time, we rely more than ever on these essential items after all there is no eating out at present. LICC provided these thoughts from people who work in the utility industries.

Giving thanks …

  • ‘People are really spending time “together” by booking virtual coffee breaks with the team. Colleagues are getting to know each other in a different way and having deeper conversations than before. It’s really enabling a connection.’

  • ‘Even in the midst of the current crisis, there are huge opportunities to demonstrate care, compassion, grace, and integrity in all I seek to do in my work. Being salt and light is not dismissed by Skype and Zoom.’

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

  • ‘National Grid operatives have to deal with issues out in the community, as homeworking for many is not possible, and so they are at risk of catching Covid.’

  • ‘I have to interact with my staff by telephone, and work patterns have had to change. My team has been split into two groups who work separate hours, and each group has less depth of knowledge so problem solving can take days not hours.’

Praying God’s heart for these people and situations…

Loving God we thank you for the those who work in the utilities industry. We ask Lord that you would keep the National Grid operational so that gas and electricity are provided to homes and businesses. We pray particularly for those who maintain the services to the elderly, those who have additional needs, and to the hospitals and care homes. Keep them safe as they enter homes to fix problems and restore supplies. We ask too that when this crisis is over, we would continue to value these workers and remember and give thanks for the work they do. Amen

Praying for the Wales Synod and Our Circuit

I invite us to remember and give thanks for all those in our congregations who serve faithfully in the life of the church who feel frustrated because they cannot use their gifts at present.

A Prayer

Loving God we thank you for all the gifts and graces you give your people. We think of flower arrangers, those who serve refreshments, local preachers and worship leaders, junior church leaders, choirs and musicians and other roles too numerous to name. We ask that you help each person to find a way of expressing and using their gifts during this period of lockdown. We ask that we might find new and creative ways to serve others through the gifts you have given us. Give us the courage to take risks do new things and develop our skills and gifts for the future. We pray that you might be changing us now so that our gifts and callings will be fit for the new world we will find ourselves in when the current situation is over. Amen

Posted by LIsa Medina

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