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DAILY PRAYER FOR SATURDAY 20 JUNE
Matthew 6:24-34 LINK >
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us LINK >
Jesus encourages to recognise our self-worth and the value we have in God’s eyes. Worry and anxiety has a nasty habit of distorting truths and speaking lies. Jesus is reminding us who our heavenly Father is and that he loves us, or – put another way – that we are beloved children of God.
Often our temptation is to try to insulate ourselves from the source of our worries. There are plenty of adverts that promise ‘Worry-free…’solutions– Pensions that promise a ‘worry free retirement’, products that offer ‘worry free motoring’. These solutions rely on our own capacity to buy, or insure, our way out of problems. To ‘get busy’ in the pursuit of a trouble-free life. Unfortunately, as we’re often rudely reminded by the real-world there’s rarely such a thing as trouble-free life. Jesus is calling us to a way of life that is quite different than this. He calls us to focus outside of ourselves, to focus not on our own capacity and capability, but to point to the one who holds us in his hands – the one who has guaranteed our ultimate future.
Jesus speaks and says, “Remember … you don’t have to manage this on your own. Look to God”
Jesus speaks and says, “Do Not Worry”.
Father God, Thank you for your deep love for me. Help me today with my worries and anxieties. Remind me of your promise to be with me in all I do. Amen.
DAILY PRAYER FOR FRIDAY 19 JUNE
‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
‘The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus LINK >
It’s fascinating reading this passage as we begin to emerge from 3 months of lockdown. All our priorities have been challenged in recent weeks as our health or routine health care, our shopping freedom, seeing family and friends and even attending church has stopped: abruptly . A new car sits on the driveway, a longed for holiday turns into a staycation, our smartest clothes remain hung in the wardrobe, we’ve been forced to Zoom and Face time and shield and socially distance
When all is stripped away, for some, even the ability to breath easily, we feel an overwhelming sense of loss, of confusion and grief. Our feet are no longer walking on even ground, but rocky, uneven territory- often in the dark.
As we take these moments out of our day to turn our eyes to Jesus- may we find ourselves filled with light, lightness of spirit, light moments of joy, light that points others to the treasure that is never stripped away.
…. as the things of earth, grow strangely dim, in the light of His beauty and grace.
Jesus, light of the world- help me to see you more clearly, love you more dearly and follow you more nearly today and everyday
DAILY PRAYER FOR THURSDAY 18 JUNE
“I will recount the gracious deeds of the LORD, the praiseworthy acts of the LORD, because of all that the LORD has done for us…”
Great is thy Faithfulness LINK >
The children of Israel are not in a good place. Their world seems pretty bleak and God seems far away. These verses, which are part of a longer poem, look back over their history and recall past experiences of God’s favour and blessing which contrast to the present dismay that they are feeling.
I wonder how we are feeling today?
Maybe we are sad, bewildered by the state of the world or full of fear and uncertainty for the future?
When we are experiencing dismay and we have lost our hope; looking back and remembering the past faithfulness of God is often a good place to start.
Some of you may remember a chorus from Sunday School that went:
Count your blessings name them one by one
Count your blessings see what God has done
Count your blessings name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the LORD has done
Many times throughout the Bible the history of God’s mercy, faithfulness and salvation is remembered and recounted. Israel needed reminding just how many times God had rescued them; just how many times He had ‘lifted and carried’ them.
God has always been, and always will be, faithful.
We may forget God; we may doubt Him, but God’s love, compassion and salvation remain constant. He is faithful and will carry us when we are weary.
You may want to try writing your own poem recounting the faithfulness of God on your life journey or just to spend a few moments looking back and recalling. To do so is a reminder that ‘He who is faithful, will never leave us or forsake us.
Lord God, help me this day to recall your faithfulness with thanksgiving.
Help me this day to look for the signs of your presence in the world.
Help me to entrust my life to your Love, mercy and guidance for the future.
DAILY PRAYER FOR WEDNESDAY 17 JUNE
Matthew 6. 1-6, 16-18
Beware of practising your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven (Matthew 6.1)
Open thou mine eyes LINK >
Some MPs have been been keen to return to pre-Covid 19 days in the House of Commons in defiance of the Government’s own social distancing requirements. The Chamber is a stage and parliamentary debates (and especially Prime Minister’s Questions) are a drama which demands audience participation. There is a word for such MPs and others which comes from the Greek language, and meant ‘actors in a play’, and reaches the English language through the teaching of Jesus in the gospels – hypocrites.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus pours scorn on religious hypocrisy (it’s not a failing unique to politicians). When we pray or fast or give to the Church or to other good causes, all of which Jesus endorses, beware of play acting, showing off. At Christmas some of us become secret Santas. Jesus tells us that in practising our piety we should be secret saints. And God, who sees in secret will reward us in secret.
Teach us, good Lord,
to serve thee as thou deserves,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and not to ask for any reward
save that of knowing that we do thy will. Amen
DAILY PRAYER FOR TUESDAY 16 JUNE
Matthew 5:43 – 48
Christ’s is the world in which we move LINK >
Jesus doesn’t make life easy for his friends! ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.’ We may not have enemies (or perhaps we do) and we may not be persecuted, but I am certain we all have people we don’t get on with or don’t like, and perhaps they ridicule us for our faith. These are the people Jesus tells us to love and pray for. Why? Because God doesn’t pick and choose: he created us all and he loves us all without exception. Loving our ‘enemies’ might be beyond us so we need to begin by acknowledging that and asking God for help. We need, too, to begin to pray for them. As we do that we will begin to see them as God sees them and love them as God loves them.
Almighty God, in Christ you make all things new: transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your heavenly glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Collect for Epiphany 2)
DAILY PRAYER FOR MONDAY 15 JUNE
Matthew 5 38-42
Make me a channel of your peace LINK >
Jesus asks us to follow him and try to do as he did. He didn’t promise us that it would be easy, but he did promise the presence of the Holy Spirit to inspire and guide us. It is difficult for us to turn the other cheek and look for a creative way forward to find restorative justice when we feel wronged.
Today is the day that the church remembers Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941). She wrote many books about the mystery of faith and about prayer. She was well known as a fine retreat giver and was a highly regarded spiritual director. These days the term spiritual director sounds rather forbidding and fierce and many people prefer to use Soul Friend instead.
A soul friend is someone who helps us listen to our own life and helps us to deepen our relationship with God.
When we are struggling through difficult times a soul friend helps us reflect and consider what might be constraining us from being able to follow him in the way he has asked us to.
Evelyn Underhill’s prayer illuminates some of the many ways that we can struggle when we feel wronged and she encourages us to bring them into his light for healing so that we are enabled to discover more of his endless love, and then we may go out and reflect it in the world.
A prayer of Evelyn Underhill
O Lord, penetrate those murky corners where we hide memories and tendencies on which we do not care to look, but which we will not disinter and yield freely up to you, that you may purify and transmute them: the persistent buried grudge, the half -acknowledged enmity which is still smouldering; the bitterness of that loss we have not turned into sacrifice; the private comfort we cling to; the secret fear of failure which saps our initiative and is really inverted pride; the pessimism which is an insult to your joy, Lord: we bring all these to you and we review them with shame and penitence in your steadfast light. Amen
HOLY COMMUNION FOR SUNDAY 14 JUNE
Holy Communion Service for the First Sunday after Trinity
Led by Revd Canon Jonathan Baker (presiding); with Revd Wendy Wale (reflection); and contributions from the Choir of Beverley Minster; Georgina Baguley (Reading); Rob Watt (Intercessions); Rachel and Niamh Collins, accompanied by Rachel Dent; The Minster Vicarage Singers; Rachel Dent, Edwards and Sammy Jerome, Catherine Marsh; Photo credits: Jonathan Baker, Tim Kelly. Edited by Revd Tim Kelly.
Accompanying Service Sheet: LINK >
Minster Sunday School
Claire Wilmoth and family present a talk and an activity for our young ones to enjoy! VIDEO LINK >
Jonathan shares some notices for this week VIDEO LINK >
DAILY PRAYER FOR SATURDAY 13 JUNE
Psalm 16. 1-8
This is a song of passionate trust in God. As such it has encouraged Jews and Christians in every age to believe in the security which He provides, especially in times of danger. ‘He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.’ More than that the writer sees his whole life in relationship to God. ‘You are my Lord. I have no good apart from you.’ Jesus himself echoes these words when he tells his disciples at the end of Matthew’s gospel, ‘Remember, I am with you always to the end of time.’
As we seek to have the same trust in God it is important to understand what is involved. This security is not a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card that makes us immune from all suffering, whether caused by Covid-19 or any other of life’s trials. Many of the disciples to whom Jesus made his promise met violent deaths as they preached the Gospel. Rather it is a promise that God will never abandon us, no matter what. As St. Julian of Norwich said, ‘All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.’
Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us LINK >
Lord, help us to put our trust in you, especially in hard times and to know that you walk with us day by day as we meet life’s challenges and trials. Amen
DAILY PRAYER FOR FRIDAY 12 JUNE
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage’
God I look to You (Psalm 27) LINK >
Cathy Burton introduces the song above with words from Psalm 27.
When you read Psalm 27 you can actually spot words and phrases that have inspired many of our favourite hymns, modern worship songs and Taize chants!
Songs, both secular and spiritual, can express our own thoughts and experiences or the mood and longings of the moment. We enjoy these songs because they make us feel better and they can help us to process our joys, sorrows, hopes and fears. They can also move us on in understanding our own life situation, emotions and very importantly, our faith. Many hymns and worship songs are inspired by words from the Bible and I know people who give testimony to having discovered a personal faith in God through them.
And is it not the same with prayer? Psalm 27 is a great prayer of personal faith and testimony; the psalmist has learnt to deal with his fears and when overwhelmed he turns to God and discovers that God puts strength and courage in his heart, that God is truly the stronghold of his life.
Consider for a moment the hymns, worship songs and psalms that have influenced your personal faith and thank God for blessing you in this way.
Lord, like the psalmist, we all experience fear and it can wreck our lives. Help us to be confident in trusting you, that when we are overwhelmed, you are our stronghold and will give us the strength and courage we need to keep us safe.
DAILY PRAYER FOR THURSDAY 11 JUNE
John 6; 51-58
Guide me O Thou Great Redeemer LINK >
Jesus said ‘I am the living bread’, not cake or anything fancy, not food for just special occasions, but food that throughout the world, is in some form food that is our daily staple diet.
Bread nourishes us, so Jesus uses that term to describe himself, and ‘living bread’ is an effort to reveal more deeply how profoundly he nourishes us.
‘Eat’, ‘live’ and ‘abode’ are all words that belong to the home, and Jesus invites us to find our home in him. He offers us a relationship in which we can ‘abide’ in security.
Lord Jesus, the hospitality of God is revealed here. Everyone is invited to abide in you.
We need that life-giving relationship more than ever today.
Hold us in your powerful hand.
DAILY PRAYER FOR WEDNESDAY 10 JUNE
‘Do not think I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfil.’
O Thou who camest from above LINK >
Jesus speaks of his Jewish self-understanding in terms of fulfilment rather than dismissal, even though the Jewish scriptures do not mention him by name and are vague about the Messiah.
How often are we tempted to dismiss those whose views are imperfect or not the same as ours? Do we ever dismiss the insights of earlier generations whose outlook was different and whose blind spots we can easily see?
In this passage Jesus is looking for the points of contact and continuity with those who in other circumstances are his opponents, or whose traditions he does not interpret as others did.
How naturally do we look for points of contact and common ground with those whose views differ from ours? And how open are we to learn from those who went before us, but whose culture and way of thinking was different?
Jesus’ self-emptying showed itself partly in his willingness to make room for traditions and opinions that reflected an incomplete understanding of the truth. Maybe that gives us hope that he will work to fulfil and make good our own imperfect understanding, instead of abolishing it altogether.
Lord, give me grace to see the truth in what others believe, even when it differs from my own understanding; and in your mercy forgive my desire to remove the speck from my neighbour’s eye, when my own is still so clogged. Amen.
DAILY PRAYER FOR TUESDAY 9 JUNE
‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
Light of the World (Tim Hughes) LINK >
Salt spends itself in service to the object that is being flavoured or preserved. When food is seasoned with salt, the flavour of the food is enhanced. The salt of the earth should make the earth more authentically as it should be.
A shining light can be a guide to others, another form of service. As disciples called to be light in the world, we are called not to draw attention to ourselves but instead point the way toward God.
Consider today how best we can be salt and light to those around us. How can we illuminate a situation by pointing to God? How can we be a ‘flavour enhancer’ – helping the world be a better version of itself?
You call us to be salt and light in the world. Guide me and lead me to people and situations in need of that salt and light. Amen.
HOLY COMMUNION FOR SUNDAY 7 JUNE – TRINITY SUNDAY
Rev’d Wendy Wale (presiding)
Rev’d Tim Kelly (Reflection and Editing)
Alison and Nick Wise (Introit)
Maddy Bellotti and Luca Myers (Opening Hymn)
Heidi and Joshua Honeysett (Readings)
Vicarage Singers (Gloria)
Rev’d Liz Marshman, Chris Marshman, Anna, Joshua and Heidi Honeysett (Intercessions)
Rod and Louise McPhee (Anthem)
Tom and Jonah Wale (Extras!)
Accompanying Service Sheet: LINK >
Minster Sunday School
Jonathan presents a talk and an activity for our young ones to enjoy!
Jonathan shares some notices for this week
DAILY PRAYER FOR SATURDAY 6 JUNE
‘Jesus said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and be greeted with respect in the market places, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honour at banquets!”
Knowing You Jesus LINK >
Jesus notices the religious leaders, who dress up in long robes, recite long prayers, and take the best seats in the synagogue and places of honour at banquets. Their true motives are selfish. They want all the honour and glory for themselves. Their pretentious practices, in fact, mask their exploitation of the poor, in particular widows.
Jesus observes the contradiction between their religious display and their inner motives and social practice.
In contrast Jesus notices the one whom nobody else pays much attention to: the poor widow who in simple faith and trust, gives all that she has to God. Even though nobody else may have noticed – Jesus notices.
We are challenged to examine the contradictions in our own lives and our own motives. Does our life style issue out of selfish motives or our desire to love and serve God? Are we more like the scribes or the widow? Or may be we are a bit of both? The scribes focus is on themselves and what others think of them. The widow is focused on her relationship with God.
We are all noticed, known, valued and loved by God regardless of our standing in the world. Even the smallest act of kindness and love does not go unnoticed by God.
Lord Jesus help me to grow in right relationship with you.
May that relationship of love be reflected in the way that I live.
May I know the power of your risen life
prompting me always to do and be what is right in your sight.
DAILY PRAYER FOR FRIDAY 5 JUNE
2 Timothy 3, 10-end
All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3.16-17).
Lord thy word abideth LINK >
Over the past year I have been trying to eat more healthily – raw vegetables and fresh fruit instead of toast and pasta and potatoes. I am now two stone lighter and feel much better for it. You are what you eat.
St Paul, in his advice to his young protégé Timothy, says in effect, ‘You are what you read.’ He, of course, was referring to our Old Testament. We might go further today and say with regard to television and online viewing, ‘You are what you see.’ Jesus likewise said that it is what comes into our minds that makes us who we are, for good or for ill.
Many of us are using this period of social distancing and isolation to reassess our eating habits, to make a conscious effort to exercise, to pick up old hobbies or try new ones. Feeding and exercising our spiritual selves is arguably even more important. And, like the psalmist, we may find the Word of God sweeter than honey.
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: help us so to hear them, to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them that, through patience, and the comfort of your holy word, we may embrace and forever hold fast the hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen
DAILY PRAYER FOR THURSDAY 4 JUNE
Will you come and follow me? LINK >
Jesus is questioned by an expert, one whose profession was to know and interpret the Jewish law. In his answer Jesus puts together two great commandments. Loving God with one’s whole being and loving one’s neighbour as yourself can no longer be separated. It is not possible to have one without the other. The scribe agreed and went on to say that love of God and neighbour is of far greater importance than ritual.
It is so easy to let ritual get in the way of love. The way we ‘do’ worship in our church buildings takes priority over loving those who worship with us, or perhaps more to the point those who don’t! These weeks of lockdown have meant that we have had to find new ways of worship, of ‘being Church’, and perhaps we have found, too, that what really matters is love of God and neighbour.
Almighty God, you have taught us through your Son that love is the fulfilling of the law: grant that we may love you with our whole hear and our neighbours as ourselves; through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Post Communion prayer Trinity 16)
DAILY PRAYER FOR WEDNESDAY 3 JUNE
2 Timothy 11-3, 6-12
Taizé, Vene Sancte Spiritus LINK >
Paul’s letter to Timothy is full of thanksgiving and encouragement. He tells Timothy of his immense gratitude to God as he prays for Timothy constantly both during the day and during the night. He longs to have the joy of seeing Timothy again and remembers that Timothy’s mother and grandmother we were women of faith.
At Pentecost we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit to everyone, Paul knew this and lived it through and through, even though he was not present with the disciples on the day of the first Pentecost. Although his mission was to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to as many as he could he did not forget those he had met whom he had entrusted with the establishment of Christ’s way and of making new disciples.
Many people are greeted in his letters. He prayed for them constantly and his greeting to Timothy here is one we recognise from the opening of the CW Holy Communion service.
“Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Paul asks Timothy to rekindle the gift of the Spirit within him, almost like we might rekindle last night’s fire from its glowing embers. It’s a prayer that we need everyday not just on Pentecost Sunday so that we too might receive God’s good gift of power, and of love and of self-discipline daily as we need it.
Many people during our faith lives will have kindled and envisioned our faith and love of God by their prayers, thanking God for us and encouraging, explaining, and modelling faithful Christian living to us.
Maybe some were, or are, our family members like Timothy’s mother and grandmother, others may have been Christian friends or clergy. In this time of Pentecost its good to look back and remember and thank God for them and to ask for his blessing upon those who do this now and will do in the future, for faith is not a static thing. God is always calling us onward into his marvellous loving purposes.
Lord God, we give you thanks and praise for those who have loved us by prayer and encouragement of many kinds into a deeper knowledge and awareness of you. As we ask daily for the Holy Spirit to blaze up in our lives we pray for those we will encounter today who will give us a new vision of you and of your love. Help us in our turn to hold the Christ light for others that they too may deepen their walk with you. Amen
DAILY PRAYER FOR TUESDAY 2 JUNE
Mark 12. 13-17
Breathe on me, breath of God LINK >
Jesus’ opponents try to trap him with a question about paying taxes to the occupying Romans. If he says ‘Yes’ he can be branded a collaborator. If he says ‘No’ he can be denounced as a rebel. Jesus neatly sidesteps the trap with his famous saying, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s’. It‘s a good answer and a fine principle but it doesn’t provide any detail. Christians have struggled for centuries with where the line falls between the two especially when they come into conflict.
How do we make such choices for our own lives? A good starting point is Jesus’ saying in Matthew 6.33, ‘Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these other things will be added unto you.’ It’s when we give priority to God through our praise, worship and obedience that we start to see where other loyalties, to family, to country, to social groups or political parties start to fit in. And at Pentecost we are reminded that it is through the Holy Spirit working in us that this proper ordering of our priorities can become clearer.
Lord Jesus Christ, help us always to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and then by the guidance of your Holy Spirit help us to see, day by day, where our true loyalty and obedience lie. Amen
DAILY PRAYER FOR MONDAY 1 JUNE
‘And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.’ v.41b
Everyday God. (Bernadette Farrell). LINK >
Yesterday we celebrated Pentecost, that great festival when the Holy Spirit was poured out on all believers as Jesus had promised. We can trace the work of the Holy Spirit through the Bible from Creation, through chosen characters in the Old Testament and into the New Testament and then Pentecost and the explosion of God’s love and power that propelled the message of the Resurrection out of Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.
The account of these events in Luke’s Gospel and his sequel, the Book of Acts read like an epic adventure story, as good as any box set that has been popular during lockdown. Believe it or not, we are part of this continuing and amazing story of the life and growth of Christ’s church but our episode has yet to be scripted.
So instead of watching the next box set, why not settle down with a Bible or Audio Bible and embark on a reading of Luke/Acts as a series of continuous episodes.
As the story unfolds, what is the Holy Spirit showing you or inspiring you to do? How will this impact your own discipleship and commitment to God’s plan for you? What should the Church be concentrating on for the next 20 years?
Lord, God of everyday, I pray for faith and expectation that you will have something of worth for me to contribute to your work and mission in the post-pandemic world; be it my time, prayer, ideas, money, skills, connections, creativity or whatever you have given me to use. Send your Holy Spirit to inspire me and make me bold in your service. Amen
HOLY COMMUNION FOR SUNDAY 31 MAY – PENTECOST
Holy Communion Service for Pentecost with Revd Canon Jonathan Baker, and contributions from Julian Neaum (Reading), Marjorie Neaum (Intercessions), Nick and Alice Wise (Hymns), Poppy Bedford and Family (Introit), Rod and Louise McPhee (Gloria), and Rachel Dent, Edward and Sammy Jerome, and Catherine Marsh (Sanctus). Photo credits: David Lock and Tim Kelly
Accompanying Service Sheet: LINK >
Minster Sunday School
Revd Wendy Wale presents a talk and an activity for our young ones to enjoy! VIDEO LINK >
Jonathan shares some notices for this week VIDEO LINK >
DAILY PRAYER FOR SATURDAY 30 MAY
John 21: 20-end
‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’
I want to walk with Jesus Christ LINK >
‘Lord, what about him?’
Have you ever noticed how many passages in the Gospels involve people who feel they are being treated unfairly by God? The elder brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son; the labourers who toiled all day in the vineyard for the same pay as the latecomers; the Pharisees who object to Jesus mixing with tax collectors and prostitutes. In each case the problem is that folk think they are made acceptable by being better behaved or working harder than other people. Their focus is more on comparing themselves with others than with God’s amazing love for them.
At the very end of John’s Gospel Peter is restored by Jesus and given a new commission; but he then spoils it by comparing himself to ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’ and asking ‘Lord, what about him?’
Jesus gently invites Peter to change his focus. Never mind about him. Your calling is just to follow me. Keep your eyes on me. Give me your attention and you will be OK.
How often have you been hurt in your faith because you have become too concerned with others in the church being treated differently from you? Churches can easily become places where folk are more concerned with their own status or influence than with following Jesus. When we say, ‘Lord, what about him?’, the Lord holds us in his loving gaze and simply invites us to change focus: ‘What is that to you? Follow me!’
Lord, forgive me when I measure my faith by comparing myself with others. Give me a fresh understanding of your love for me, that I may keep my eyes fixed on you, seek your kingdom first, and rejoice in all that you do for others.
DAILY PRAYER FOR FRIDAY 29 MAY
John 21: 15-19
He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
If Ye Love Me (Thomas Tallis) LINK >
One of my favourite children’s books is called ‘Guess How Much I Love You’- a beautiful intimate dialogue between Big and Little nut brown hare….the final word on the matter is: I love you to the moon and back!
It has been always been hard to describe love in words, often much easier to demonstrate with actions, attitudes and images.
In our passage today, Jesus asks Peter three times- do you love me, mirroring Peter’s earlier betrayal of Jesus three times before the cock crowed. Jesus is leading Peter in a restorative act, an act of completion before he departs, and yet an act of creation as he invites and challenges Peter to continue his work, to feed his sheep- a beautiful intimate dialogue of trust and empowerment. Love in a powerful image that sets the attitude and actions for Peter’s future.
May we hear Jesus’ invitation to know and love him afresh today- and demonstrate that love in words, prayers or deed to those in our care.
Jesus our Shepherd, where we have disowned or failed you, help us to turn back to your love and know your restoration and love.
Jesus who called Peter to continue your work as a shepherd, teach us how to love you, follow you and serve you during these difficult times. Help us be your hands and feet, even from a safe social distance.
DAILY PRAYER FOR THURSDAY 28 MAY
“…that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus LINK >
In this passage Jesus is praying for the unity of His followers – for a unity that transcends generations. It is a prayer that envisions a long line of followers who will share in a profound fellowship, not only with each other, but also with Jesus and the Father. It is an affirmation of our place in the “communion of saints.” It reminds us that we are part of something bigger and helps to alleviate any anxiety over our present concerns. It is the bigger picture that puts all else into its right perspective.
We are all included in Jesus’ prayer.
I wonder how do you feel about Jesus praying for you?
The unity that Jesus is praying for reflects the unity of God. It is a perfect relationship united in Love and fellowship and one that Jesus desires for all those who follow Him.
But what does this ‘unity’ look like?
Unity is not the same as uniformity. After all, Jesus’ first disciples demonstrated diverse temperaments and personalities. True unity cannot be achieved without recognising diversity. We are each different and we are each called to use our different gifts. But we are all united in the same bond of love that we have seen demonstrated in the life of Jesus. This is no weak love. The Love of God made visible in Jesus is a sacrificial love. It is a powerful Love.
It is as we, the community of believers demonstrate the Love with which we have been loved, that the “world will know” that Jesus was sent to show just how much God loves them and that they too will come to believe.
There is a lot to ponder in this prayer of Jesus for His Church.
May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
And the love of God
Fill our hearts and minds
And may your love O Lord
Be reflected in the living of our lives. Amen
DAILY PRAYER FOR WEDNESDAY 27 MAY
Thuma mina (Send me, Lord) LINK >
This is part of Jesus’s prayer for his followers, here specifically for those who have spent the past three years with him. He prays for their unity and protection as he sends them out into a tough world – v19 ‘As you sent me…I have sent them’. Within hours Jesus will be dead and the disciples behind locked doors. The world is certainly tough!
Those words are echoed in Chapter 20:21 on the evening of the first Easter day as the risen Jesus breaks through the locked doors to greet his terrified friends. He breathes into them his Spirit and says ‘In the same way as the Father sent me, so I am sending you’.
Pentecost, which we celebrate on Sunday, reminds us that the Holy Spirit is given to us all and that we too are sent to show God’s love to the world in which we live. And if that scares us, the writer to the Hebrews tells us (7:25) ‘Jesus ever lives to intercede for us’. We are not alone: the Spirit has been given to us and Jesus is praying for us. Alleluia!
Breathe on me, Breath of God, fill me with life anew, that I may love what thou dost live, and do what thou wouldst do.
DAILY PRAYER FOR TUESDAY 26 MAY
Matthew 13: 31-33
Day by Day – Godspell (with lyrics on You Tube) LINK >
Jesus said that his kingdom was like a mustard seed and its growth into a tree.
Just as we cannot see a tiny seed spring to life under the soil, we can’t see the invisible work of the Word on the heart, or how God causes his kingdom to grow in a person’s life, but it does!
In an article in The Guardian May 3, the findings of a poll stated that a quarter of adults in the UK have watched or listened to a religious service since the Coronavirus lockdown began and that one in twenty have started to pray.
So many people with the potential to extend God’s kingdom!
Heavenly Father, growth happens when your Word is planted in hearts, and the outward growth of the kingdom is the result of inward change. We pray for all those turning to you for the first time during this lockdown, and for your Word to be planted in their hearts.