Power of Prayer

Prayer is the most important thing we can do as Christians; it is our first call – not our last resort.

Jesus promises us that God will always answer our prayer (Luke 11.13) although sometimes the answer is not as we would like.

We offer a number of ways to pray and you are very welcome to join us

  • Morning Prayer on Facebook (9.15am Mon-Wed)
  • Our regular online 10.30am Sunday worship on  Facebook which can be viewed at any point
  • Evening Prayer in our own homes – we provide Compline sheets to help you pray if you find words difficult
  • A Prayer Chain for you to contact someone to pray for emergencies.
  • The Lord’s Prayer; the special prayer that Jesus taught us. – see below for recent teaching on this prayer
  • We have a team of pastoral visitors and we are happy to pray for you and with you when needed
  • If you have been bereaved and are struggling to pray, or to cope with your bereavement we have memorial services every few months for you to come and be prayed for and light a candle (These services are not happening at the moment)
  • If you need prayer for healing- and healing takes many forms, we have healing services every month – usually the first Sunday of the month at 9am and at 10.30am (These services are not happening at the moment)
  • If you are housebound our team of pastoral visitors can come and bring you communion or come and chat and pray with you
  • We can pray using the bible, and if you want help to enable you to unlock the bible please ask for bible reading notes.

The Lord’s Prayer that Jesus taught us can easily be taken for granted! Just look at a different version and see what a difference it makes:

That’ makes a difference doesn’t it? You see it has become so familiar to us all that its quite easy to rattle it off without thinking about it – yet Jesus used this prayer so often and its what he taught his disciples. There is Luke’s version (chapter 11) which is shorter and Matthews version which is more familiar to us. Some scholars believe that the Matthew version in chapter 6 v9-13 is the original which Jesus taught his disciples early in his ministry and this was a “catch up”  for some disciples who missed that teaching others think this is the original.  I don’t think that matters really; the important thing is that Jesus gives this as the definitive way to pray. Not endless repetition, not elaborate words and phrases, not prostrating ourselves in particular places….in fact he warns about public prayer being used as showing off. He says this is the way to pray.

I want to explore each stanza Lord says-  Father – that’s it just Father, the equivalent of Abba. Matthew- shows his Jewish roots when he places Father in Heaven. That puts a little distance between us and the Almighty transcendent Yahweh God of heaven and earth. Luke is reminding us that God is also God with us, in intimate relationship with us, our dad. Using God’s name- Father reminds us constantly that you are parent to all your children, Whoever, or wherever they are or come from.

Hallowed be your name. We don’t give the same respect or importance to a person’s name as they did in antiquity. The changing of names for Abraham, Jacob and Simon Peter show how a person’s name needed to signify their nature and their vocation. God’s name was so Holy that he could only be called Yahweh I am who I am, so in our prayer we are respecting that holiness “the name above all names”  and hallowing it,

Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven

This is where we are praying for others in this prayer. Your Kingdom come is both an eschatological prayer praying for an end to all suffering on all the earth when Christ comes again as judge and saviour, but it’s a prayer for now. It’s a prayer establishing peace and justice, healing salvation, hope and life for all peoples. It’s a big prayer and we should pause here and just take time to think and pray about what God’s reign and rule over our hearts and lives would look like, what we need to place into His hands, then the same for those we love, those in need, our church our country and our world

Give us today our daily bread.

This is a twofold prayer – continuing the intercession of Thy Kingdom come thy will be done, we pray for God to disturb us into awareness of the needs of others. When we pray this we think of the Foodbank and those in need – it doesn’t say give ME MY daily bread it is for all of us.

But secondly it is a daily prayer- we come to God each day, every day that we can. It reminds us of our daily dependence on God. We pray for the day, not the month or year “sufficient unto the day” just like they received manna daily in the desert (apart from Sundays) we pray for what we need each day and thereby remind ourselves that it is God who gives, and that we only pray for what we need……which may be considerably different from what we want

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. This is for many people the hardest part of the prayer. One of our recent enquirers courses led to a really deep discussion about forgiveness. For some of us for some of the time we pray Lord I forgive, please forgive my unforgiveness, Lord I want to forgive help me to forgive, I believe God answers that prayer and I have  seen people able to forgive what had at times seemed unforgiveable. God does not ask us to do what he knows we cannot do in our own strength. By daily asking for forgiveness we remind ourselves of our fallibility and by recalling our need to forgive, we open our hearts to enable God to help us to forgive.

Lead us not into temptation. God doesn’t lead us into temptation – lets get that clear God is good all the time, All the time God is good. James 1 13 makes that clear.  When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.  Its not often apples from the tree of life which tempt us now although some of us do like to play God now and then….how power corrupts. But there are none of us who are not tempted from time to time, and we need to pray against that corruption especially keep our hearts and minds open and to see the good in others and not be tempted into gossip judgement and unkindness.  That’s where Luke’s version finishes – Matthew adds about delivering us from evil which is a reinforcement of lead us not into temptation and then the lovely doxology

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory, are yours for ever and ever. Amen.

And there we have it- the perfect prayer…..except that one bit is missing. There is no thank you – God does not command us to say thank you – not even his Son does. That’s on our initiative.

One of the tips I give people is to have a diary or note pad at the side of bed and before going to sleep writing down five things to give thanks for every day; some days it may feel like its hard work to think of some, other days you won’t be able to stop at five!

God Bless