Daily Share-a-Prayer w/e 23/12/2018
Worship Leader, All Saints Church, Belton
Sunday 23rd December
Heavenly Father, it is really hard to understand that sin is sin, each and every one the same in Your eyes. I think You said to me that because we live in a world of sin, we can measure sin
To us it is obvious that child abuse, murder, genocide are much worse sins than stealing a curly-wurly but what if we lived in a perfect heaven, a Garden of Eden where there was no sin; what would happen if a single curly-wurly was stolen? We would want to know who stole it. Was it my neighbour? Or a member of my family? Suspicion would enter the world
I find I hate those who have stolen the curly-wurly; perhaps even my curly-wurly! Accusations may follow, people may suspect me! Fear enters the world, my door is now locked. People begin to stock pile curly-wurlies, while others have none
We want justice and so judgement enters the world and we now have the knowledge of good and evil. I want to be the judge. Love is replaced by loathing. Peace is replaced by anxiety. You are replaced by Me! Me! Me!
How long would Heaven be perfect if I entered with my sinful, selfish, human nature? A split second, eternity would be ruined and a clock would begin to tick; I would serve my time and then death would follow
Father, all of this because of a single stolen curly-wurly? Or a stolen apple? Thank You Father that when Jesus returns and You bring a new Heaven and a new earth You will also give us a new heart and a new mind that will follow Your Way of Love, love Your Way and love and worship You. Forgive me Father
Saturday 22nd December
Heavenly Father, how do I approach You? How do You want me to come into Your presence each day?
Do You want me on my knees begging forgiveness for the things I have done wrong, "in thought and word and deed"?
Do You want me cowering, afraid of You, the One who holds my life in His hands, the One God who could send down fire as You did when Elijah showed the prophets of Baal Your real power?
How do You want me? Afraid of You? I think You are telling me to think about how Jesus came to people!
Lord Jesus, You walked with people, talked with people, sat down and ate with people, celebrated with people, wept with people, mourned with people, fed people, provided wine at a wedding for people, healed people, freed people, taught people, answered people, blessed people, resurrected people, forgave people, loved people, offered Yourself up for people even to the point of sacrifice, the cross.
You became One of us! You gave up heaven and came to the earth to be with us!! You named Yourself as One of us, "The Son of Man", You identified with us. You suffered for us, You died for us, You were resurrected for us, You ascended into heaven for us and are at the right hand of God the Father interceding for us, You sent Your Holy Spirit to live in us!
Father, I approach You with a thankful and expectant heart, with gratitude for what You have done for me, as I would approach Jesus who loves me so much that He gave His life for me. Yes, I am on my knees, but in adoration. Not cowering, but in Your arms of love
Friday 21st December
Heavenly Father, I asked You last night what would happen if no-one prayed. Three things came to me:
"these people honour me with their lips but their hearts are far from me"
the 7,000 still faithful when Elijah felt he was the only one left
the valley of dry bones
Father, thank You that there are always people praying
When we honour You with our lips but our hearts are far from You we have Your promise to give us a new heart and a new mind. We have the Father who waits for the prodigal to return; we have the miracle of resurrection, Lazarus, Jairus' daughter and Jesus; we may be dead in our sins but new life is possible
When we feel alone, the only one left we know there will be at least 7,000 who have not bowed the knee to any false gods, and certainly many more as You now fill people with Your Spirit and Jesus promised never to leave us or forsake us, He is our Good Shepherd and we know His voice
Even in places where there are only dry bones, places of desolation where You have been totally forgotten, Your Spirit can tell us to prophesy over the bones and You will bring new life, raise up a new army of believers who will honour You with their lips, hearts and minds reflecting Your glory
Thank You Father that there are people all over the world who honour You with their whole lives, thank You that every day more and more people receive from You the gift of new life, eternal life. Thank You that Jesus is remembered all over the world in this season; light up the Christ in Christmas
Thursday 20th December
Heavenly Father, I found myself yesterday saying, to myself, that something was my worst nightmare. In fact I was just changing my phone with whatever that entails. Hardly a nightmare as I am aware that it is a great gift and a privilege to be able to do this
I do not live my life in fear that someone will knock on my door to arrest me for being a Christian unlike my brothers in some countries. I do not attend my local church wondering if a mob will turn up and assassinate me, my family, and my fellow Christians as happens in other parts of the world
Throughout history, Your children have been persecuted, in both the Old Testament and the New and right through to the present day. St Paul wrote some of his letters from prison, awaiting sentence, and in one wrote "For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain". He was so certain of his future Salvation in Heaven, that he saw death as gain. This is such a powerful testimony, given that the sentence he was about to receive could well have been death, even crucifixion
Father, I do not mean to call upon death, far from it (!) I still hope to walk along the promenade when I am 84, 94, holding the hand of the one I love, but in the coming years until the day you call me home I hope and pray that I will be able to say that for me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. I cannot for a moment say that I look forward to the process, but the Bible tells me that death has lost its sting and that a new imperishable body awaits. Home is where the heart is: Jesus
Wednesday 19th December
Heavenly Father, as we go through the Christmas season, approaching Christmas Day, it seems as though all our senses are heightened, we become more sensitive to all that is joyful, but also to all that is painful
Throughout the year we can bury the hurts that are within us, coping day by day, dealing with the pain and just about getting on with life, surviving, but at this time of year it gets tougher, for some almost unbearable. Hearing about joy becomes intolerable when the broken heart cannot feel any joy
There are so many people who are nursing broken hearts stemming from bereavement, broken families, broken relationships, betrayal, who find that celebration is the last thing on their mind. The birth of a baby two thousand years ago seems like little to celebrate as the troubles of today are overwhelming
A hint at joyfulness can bring feelings of guilt and shame, as though we are betraying the lost one, the loved one no longer present. Father, help us to focus on Jesus, on all that He brings to the world. Your Spirit comforts those who mourn. Jesus, the Prince of peace, brings peace that is beyond all understanding
Father, wipe away every tear, heal broken hearts as we worship, and allow joy to flood out in a never-ending stream. Tidings of comfort and joy, both, together; by the power of Your love through Jesus and Your Holy Spirit
Tuesday 18th December
Heavenly Father, thank You for the witness statements that we have, the accounts handed down over the centuries and now held in print in the Bible, the Truth given to us so we can know what happened just over two thousand years ago
The first hand witnesses and the collecting of materials in an ordered way tell us of the preparation for the birth of Jesus, when and where He was born, His life of love, service and sacrifice, His mockery of a trial and His crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection and His ascension to Heaven. All of this had been foretold in the Old Testament, the Torah and the various prophets
Thank You Father that You have not only given us the Word made flesh, Jesus, and the written word, but also Your Holy Spirit to affirm everything and open our eyes, ears and hearts to receive and believe the Truth about Jesus, Your Son. I find myself, yet again, mulling over all of this, having been asked to share some prayers and thoughts on faith and yet again I find myself thinking fact or faith, it either did or did not happen
Having felt Your Spirit bubbling up inside of me, having seen miraculous things happen, only small miracles but miracles nevertheless, and having heard Your voice and sensed Your presence, I have to nail my colours to Your mast, to Your cross and state categorically that Jesus is Messiah, Son of God, Saviour. My faith is in Jesus, in the facts as recorded in the Bible, in Jesus resurrected, in Your Holy Spirit alive in me and in Your promised plan for me. One Way
Monday 17th December
Heavenly Father, I remember going to a school ‘Speech Day’ at the Empire Theatre in Sunderland when I was 11, where the exploits of Jack Crawford were re-enacted. The mainmast of Admiral Adam Duncan's ship, the Venerable, was brought down and could have been seen as signalling surrender. However, Crawford climbed up the rigging and ‘nailed the colours to the mast’, the battle turned, and a great victory was claimed. Crawford became a hero and the statue erected to him still stands in Mowbray Park in Sunderland
Father, You did so much more than this in turning the tide of evil, more than nailing Your colours to the mast; You sent Jesus into the world and saw Him nailed to the cross, to many a disgrace but to us who believe, Your greatest victory
Statues across the world, in churches, cathedrals, on hillsides overlooking Rio in Brazil and Lisbon in Portugal, in homes, and also as crosses and crucifixes around people's necks act as a reminder of Jesus' victory, Your victory, in defeating death and opening up the way for us to know You again as our God
Father, each day, help us to nail our colours to the mast, demonstrating in our lives our loyalty to You, our God, Jesus, our Saviour, and by Your Spirit fighting the good fight with all our might. Thank You for the Cross, the price You paid for us. Paid on the nail I claim the prize, Resurrection redemption by Jesus' blood. Thank You again