January Prayer Meeting

Choices! We are all faced with them, all of the time in one way or another. Last Thursday I had to get back to Wick from Pitlochry which was in at least a foot of snow. However, on Wednesday evening things did not look good. People were coming into our hotel, looking for a room, because the snow gates were closed on the A9. In the morning a look at the internet showed that all trains between Inverness and Glasgow/Edinburgh were cancelled. What to do?

I was faced with several choices; stick it out in the hope that things would improve by afternoon although this looked unlikely, get a lift to Perth and then travel round by Aberdeen, or take a lift with a colleague who was travelling to Forres who could drop me off at Aviemore, or I could continue to Forres. So, when it was announced that the snow gates had opened, around 11:00am, Jonathon and I decided to ask to set off early. All through this I had been praying, Lord grant me wisdom to make the right choices!

My mind was made up. I would get out of the car at Aviemore and hope there were trains running, or replacement buses. To my dismay, there were neither. Also, there were no local buses due until later that afternoon. There was a Citylink bus due in about half an hour but it was bound to be running late and would no doubt miss my connection. For the time being it seemed like, despite my prayers, I had made the wrong choice.

Suddenly, and out of the blue, a Citylink Gold bus pulled up. I got on board saying to the driver, you are early. No, he said, I am over an hour late. Happily, I made it to Inverness in plenty time and the train North ran without incident. I actually ended up back in Wick about 4 and a half hours early thanking God for helping me to – make the right choices.

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, chapter 6 verses 18-20, Paul asks for prayer. Pray in the Spirit he says. Pray on all occasions using all kinds of prayers. Keep praying for the saints. Pray for him, Paul, that whenever he opens his mouth he may make the right choices regards what words to use. Pray that, despite his chains, he may fearlessly declare the Gospel.

Sometimes our choices, like Paul’s, concern what to say. Sometimes they concern decisions we make and the most difficult decisions can be the ones which we make collectively. So this week let us spend time in prayer for the decisions that we have to make, collectively, at next week’s church meeting. There is nothing contentious on the list of items which Chris has sent out to us but none the less; let’s pray that we make good choices as we are guided by, and as we pray in. the Spirit.

This Wednesday evening, at 7.30pm, in the church, we gather to make space in our lives for prayer. Below is a suggested pattern (one of many kinds of prayer) to help us and it includes space for, among other things, praying over our choices. We hope you can join us but if not please feel free to use the material at home whenever you can.

Rejoice in the Lord always.

The Lord is near.

Do not worry about anything, but in everything with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

God of manifold grace, we bring our prayers to you as acts of love for you and for our neighbours.

In your mercy, Lord, hear our prayer.

 You are always there to lead us. We pray for ourselves and those dear to us.

(Silent or Open Prayer for our families)

We put our hope in you, Lord;

Hear our prayer.

 You supply strength for service. We pray for our community and for our neighbours.

(Silent or Open Prayer for our Local Community)

We put our hope in you, Lord;

Hear our prayer.

 You call your people to speak the very words of God. We pray for the church in all places, that we may speak boldly for Christ.

(Silent or Open Prayer for our Churches)

We put our hope in you, Lord;

Hear our prayer.

You will make justice break forth like the light. We pray for the world, for peacemakers and for all who serve in the name of Christ.

(Silent or Open Prayer for the World)

We put our hope in you, Lord;

Hear our prayer.

 We ask for your wisdom in the choices that we face as a church and that there may be unity in Your Body. Where we find that we cannot agree may we learn to agree and disagree…in love.

(Silent or Open Prayer for the Choices that we Face as a Church)

We put our hope in you, Lord;

Hear our prayer.

Gracious God, you sow your storied word in us with compassion. As this day closes around us, and another day will dawn tomorrow; may we remember your mercy and extend it to others as we live for the sake of your reign.

In hope we pray:

Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
for thine is the kingdom, and the power
And the glory forever. Amen.

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