Prayer Month 22nd – 28th May

Today’s thoughts are provided by Rev. Alana Lawrence

You can download a copy of these prayers here. 

The Wesley Caerphilly 90th Anniversary Felting Triptych depicts the flow of people from Wesley and the other Methodist Churches in and around Caerphilly that have closed over the decades since Wesley opened. The names of these churches are on the banners. There are members of Wesley today who either came from those churches or whose families were members of those churches, and Wesley today owes a debt of gratitude to these church communities who gave their yesterdays for the church’s tomorrow.

Loving God, as Wesley Caerphilly celebrates its 90th Anniversary today pour your blessings upon all the members of the church as we give thanks for those who have gone before us in faith, our brothers and sisters in Christ, our parents and grandparents, our neighbours and friends. Direct our hearts and minds towards your Son Jesus Christ, our brother, our cornerstone, our Lord and our Light. Let us not think of ourselves as the source of power and vision but turn to you through whom all things are made according to your will. Amen

Today’s thoughts are provided by Rev. Alana Lawrence

You can download a copy of these prayers here. 

As Wesley Caerphilly Methodist Church celebrates its 90th anniversary on 28th May in the midst of a global pandemic, we have been pondering on the beginnings of our beautiful church in Caerphilly. The wonderful Anniversary Felting Triptych made by members of the Church and the Youth Club, tells the story of the Church’s beginnings and remembers the Methodist Churches in and around Caerphilly now closed and all the people that have worshipped in the church. Wesley opened its doors onto a world entering a global recession following the collapse of banking around the world in late 1929. The left-hand panel depicts the laying of the first bricks on 2nd November 1929 in the week of the banking collapse. So, whilst we may feel these times as unprecedented, there have indeed been precedents to the current crises. And yet this did not stop our foremothers and forefathers putting their trust in God and continuing the momentous work they had begun.

Let us remember those who have gone before us in faith, those who have visioned the church anew in each place and in each generation, holding fast to their faith and their calling to build the Church anew, through wars, economic collapse, times of austerity, hardship and illness. Let us give thanks to God for the Spirit that inspires, moves and recreates the Church, in every generation. May we continue to open ourselves to where the Spirit leads us today, tomorrow and eternally. Amen

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

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.

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.)

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

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.