Call to Worship: Psalm 16:11
You have made known to me the path of life;
Your presence fills me with joy.
StF 335 Rejoice, the Lord is King!
Loving Lord God,
You are a great and glorious God,
a loving and faithful God,
a merciful and compassionate God,
a God who we sometimes perceive as far away but who is really close by waiting for us to see you.
You make so many promises to us;
like, ‘In your presence is fullness of joy’, and ‘the joy of the Lord is my strength’.
And you always keep your promises.
Forgive us when seek our joy in other places, other people, and then wonder why it is so elusive.
Forgive us that we are so often weak when we could be strong.
Forgive us our lack of desire to enter more deeply into our relationship with you.
To all who are truly sorry Jesus says: ‘You are forgiven, go in peace.’
Lord, thank you.
Fill us again with your Holy Spirit to help us to be open to you, to receive forgiveness, peace, joy and all that you long to give us, so we may go on our way rejoicing. Amen.
StF 367 When I was lost you came and rescued me
Reading: Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice, the Lord is near!
Questions to consider
Praying for others when there is so much need can be exhausting and dispiriting. Below is a way to pray which I hope you find helpful. Allow 20 – 30 minutes for this.
Prayer of Intercession - In His Presence
It is tempting in our intercessions to give God a “shopping list” of what we want him to do, sometimes in great detail! Our aim should be to align ourselves with God’s will, recognising God’s intention that his creation should be fulfilled and everyone made whole. This is the kind of attitude expressed in the Lord’s Prayer when we say, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.”
There are many ways to pray for the needs of others, here is one you might like to try.
Begin by relaxing –
Let go of any anxieties of tensions you may be carrying.
Spend a few moments becoming aware of your breathing, let it calm down.
We are always in the presence of God, but try to become aware of his presence.
He who made you and loves you is here with us now, around us and within us, so rest safe in his love for a while.
Taking others into God’s presence –
Lift the person who is most on your mind into the loving and healing presence of God, imagining the light of his love shining on them. Hold them there as long as seems right to you.
One by one take all those you love and care about into God’s presence in the same way.
Take a few moments to rest in God’s presence yourself before continuing.
Some people can be difficult (or may find us difficult!) or have hurt us and we don’t really want to or know how to pray for them. Lift them into God’s presence and hold them there. No words are needed.
Now rest in God’s presence again.
Taking large-scale concerns into God’s presence –
Lift to God the things happening in this country that worry you most and ask that his will be done.
On a wider scale, bring other parts of the world into God’s presence, perhaps somewhere that you have particular concern for.
Wider still, bring into God’s presence our world with all its fauna and flora. This is the planet we have been given to live on, and in harmony with.
You may feel worn out with holding such big things in God’s presence so remember his love holding and enfolding you, and let him fill you again with his strength.
Anyone, anything else?
Wait quietly for a few minutes, open to God and the leading of his Holy Spirit, to see if there is anyone, or anything else that comes to mind as needing your prayers…
To finish –
Rest again in God’s presence, allowing him to fill you with his peace and strength.
You might like to finish by praying together the following, or similar prayer:
Loving and merciful God, accept these prayers for we bring them in the name of your Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
The last hymn is a Taize chant, and yes, it is very repetitive! It’s designed to take a simple truth about God deep into your mind, heart, even your subconscious so that you know it in the very depths of your being.
StF 776 In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful
A blessing from the Northumbria Community:
These are the Worship at Home Services, led by our Ministers :-