Opening Prayer and thanks
Almighty Father, thank you for bringing us all together in the heart of our government today and for giving us the courage to come here in fellowship.
Save us, O Lord, from being idle bystanders looking on and attempting to interpret the dilemmas of a broken world, yet rarely willing to act.
Give us compassion for the lost and confused, the weary and the oppressed.
Save us from slick and simplistic answers to human problems, which offer words but no real help.
Unsettle us, and move us on from viewing the plight of sin-scarred people, to actions that promote spiritual and inward healing and liberating forgiveness.
Cleanse our lives, that they may be instruments worthy of conveying your truth of abundant and everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We ask in his name. Amen.
Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying:
Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.
When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest.
You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the LORD your God.
You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another.
And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the LORD.
You shall not defraud your neighbour; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a labourer until morning.
You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.
You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbour.
You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbour: I am the LORD.
You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbour, or you will incur guilt yourself.
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the LORD.
"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'
But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also;
and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well;
and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.
Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.'
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
God of all life, help us ...
to find new beginnings
even when things have ended;
to be sustained by the hope of eternity
even when our time runs out;
to see the glory of your Kingdom
even when we are broken by failure and sin;
to know the promise of redemption
even when we doubt our own worth;
to hold on to hopefulness and purpose
even in the hardest of times.
(extract from Tom Gordon, A Blessing to Follow, Wild Goose Publications 2009).
Our Prayers for World Events
A PRAYER FOR PEACE IN UKRAINE
Make your ways known upon earth, Lord God,
your saving power among all peoples.
Renew your Church in holiness
and help us to serve you with joy.
Guide the leaders of all nations,
that justice may prevail throughout the world.
Let not the needy be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
Make us instruments of your peace
and let your glory be over all the earth.
PRAYER OF RECONCILIATION IN SYRIA
God of history,
Witness of the struggles within families;
we pray for the divided family of Syria
as brother fights against brother,
and sister rejects sister.
We pray for those whose love of neighbour
has been destroyed in the bitterness of enmity.
May fear be submerged in compassion.
May distrust be diluted by hope,
as a vision of peace illuminates
darkened minds and hate-filled hearts.
We pray in the name of Christ,
our source of light and love.
A PRAYER FOR FOOD SHORTAGES
Loving and almighty God,
We pray for all who are working to combat the growing food crisis:
For international aid agencies and local community organisations.
And in particular we pray for those in positions of power.
May the leaders of the nations act with wisdom and compassion
Bringing relief to those who suffer now
And moving us towards a world without hunger.
We pray for our sisters and brothers caught up in a cycle of drought and hunger:
for parents struggling to find food and seeing their children go hungry,
for farmers seeing their crops fail and livestock die.
We pray for ourselves:
May we share generously from the abundance that you have given us
and join our voices with those who call for an end to poverty,
that lives may be saved and rebuilt with hope for the future.
May we act in your name Lord and be an instrument of your grace.
A PRAYER FOR THE MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES FACING UNREST AND UNCERTAINTY
O God you are in the midst of us
and we are called by your name.
As the foundations of our society
are shaken and our future is uncertain,
may we be given the grace to trust in you.
May we find our refuge and strength in
your eternal changelessness,
today and forever.
- TIME FOR REFLECTION -
Our Prayers at Home
PRAYER FOR THOSE SUFFERING FLOOD DAMAGE (Christian Aid)
God of all goodness and love,
in whom we can trust in every time of need:
be close to all who live in fear and distress
at this time of flooding in our land.
We pray for wisdom and strength for all who seek to help,
and that through this emergency,
people and communities may be drawn more closely together
in service to one another;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
PRAYER FOR THE COLD AND HOMELESS
God of compassion,
your love for humanity was revealed in Jesus,
whose earthly life began in the poverty of a stable
and ended in the pain and isolation of the cross:
we hold before you those who are homeless and cold
especially in this bitter weather.
Draw near and comfort them in spirit
and bless those who work to provide them
with shelter, food and friendship.
We ask this in Jesus' name.
PRAYERS FOR THOSE LIVING WITH DEBT
Father, we pray for the many who are trapped by growing burdens of debt,
who see no way out, and who despair for their future:
give them courage to tackle the problems they face,
clarity in taking decisions which will turn their situation around,
and faith that, as they cry to you in their trouble,
you will deliver them from their distress;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God of power,
you are strong to save
and you never fail those who trust in you.
Keep under your protection all who suffer as a result of debt:
help them through their time of darkness,
give wisdom to all who seek to help,
and bring them to know true freedom
in your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
PRAYER FOR THE ‘BANKING SCANDAL’
Almighty and everlasting God,
creator of heaven and earth,
who sees into the secret places of our hearts:
make us aware that we stand in your presence when we think and act;
let us not tire of confessing our hidden sins and our tediously repeated failures.
Keep the light of conscience alive in us,
that we might see and love what is good,
prize integrity above success,
and do what we know to be right,
though no-one see us, but you;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
By Nigel Biggar
Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, Christ Church, Oxford
Director, McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, and Public Life
Member of MPA Council
- INVITATION FOR PERSONAL PRAYER -
PRAYER FOR THE GOVERNMENT
source of all truth and wisdom, who knows and loves the whole creation,
watch over our nation:
that truth may prevail over distortion,
wisdom triumph over recklessness
and the concerns of every person be heard.
who chose the way of the cross in the Garden of Gethsemane,
help us to turn our backs on self interest
and to support policies that sustain the poor, the vulnerable and the frightened people of this world.
who brought understanding among myriad peoples and languages at Pentecost,
give to all your people a passion for peace
and inspire us to work for unity and co-operation throughout the world and in our political life together.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and forever.
GOD OF THE IMPOSSIBLE (Christian Aid)
We pray for justice, peace and reconciliation.
And when the challenges seem too many,
remind us of your resurrection power,
and the miracles of your love that happen
whenever injustice is dismantled and rebuilt with peace.
Help us to hope that the impossible can happen
and live as if it might do so today.
Gracious God we pray for ourselves, that we might remember who is in control in creation, who it is who holds together all things.
So may we give complete control to you of our lives.
Help us to entrust to you our fears and worries and to rest ourselves in Christ Jesus.
Help us to grow in faith, to rejoice always in what you have done, to submit our will and our plans to your will and your plan for our lives.
Closing: The Grace
May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
And the love of God,
And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
Be with us all,
Next Prayer Meeting: 25th March 2014, House of Commons, Room U.
For more information, please visit www.christiansontheleft.org.uk