There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13 NLT
More than 300 NHS front-liners have died in the epidemic, together with an unknown number for carers working outside the Health Service.
In this month, Lord, with its a national holidays, when those called to care for others will be on shift as usual, we thank You for the dedication and generosity of those who put the needs of others first.
And especially we thank You for those who have paid the highest price by putting their lives at risk, a risk that has resulted in loss for them and their families and friends.
May their example speak to a selfish world. May we be inspired by the selfless example of those who did their work in the knowledge that it was not safe.
Thank You for those who have proved to be people of real integrity in putting others first, laying down their priorities and even lives, and leading by example.
May we rise to their ideal, and grow in selflessness as we seek to follow You, Jesus, and Your sacrifice for us. Amen.
What stops you from talking to God regularly? What stops you from talking to anyone regularly — or alternatively, gets you talking?
It’s about the relationship and how you feel about yourself and the other person.
If you lack confidence and feel you are just an ‘ordinary’ person and you meet someone with a title and position and a grand house to go with it, you might think, “Better not to say anything unless I am spoken to”.
If you have had some ups and downs in life… downs, definitely… and you don’t feel you would be on a holy God’s list of people He would like to hear from, you will feel — rightly or wrongly — that there is a barrier.
Actually, it’s a barrier God has taken away. And God does want to hear from you and talk to you.
The short answer is, because of Jesus. He has done for you what none of us could ever do — made the relationship right again. No barrier.
This completely changes prayer — from what might have felt like a dutiful recitation, to a conversation within a relationship.
And you can say your own prayers. As you would when talking to a friend, someone who understands you. It’s not a school composition. It’s you, talking to Your spiritual Father.
One of the most radical teachings Jesus gave to His disciples was about how you start: “When you pray, say, ‘Father…”1
Jews were used to memorised, recited, formal prayers. Unfortunately we have fallen back on that idea… but Jesus encourages us to be real and to express ourselves, while giving us pointers — an outline, in fact — of what it is good to include.
Can we trust our own prayers? Will they be ‘correct’? It’s not a duty, defined by prayers in a book, and following a prescribed order, but a conversation that comes out of a relationship – and the Holy Spirit has a particular role in helping us to pray. He will bring the right words and He will vary that with different people. We are all individuals, all loved by God for who we are.
Becoming comfortable with prayer takes a bit of practice. But if we want to grow in our faith, it’s important that we’re able to have honest conversations with God who is above all, relational..
If you’re not sure what to pray about, we’re going to follow up with five examples of daily prayers which all relate to the master ‘prayer outline’ Jesus taught His disciples when they asked Him for some prayer coaching. These are suggested prayers you can use as they stand, or as a starting point for your own prayer following the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5)
Father God, we come to You on behalf of researchers everywhere whom You have blessed with medical, biochemical and genetic understanding.
We thank You for the progress they have made in finding ways to cure and to prevent infection in the present coronavirus epidemic – but we humbly go further. We ask You for a mighty breakthrough
Lord God, all wisdom and knowledge resides in You, and has its source in You. Ours is so inadequate when seen from Your perspective. And the answer we desperately need is an answer that is known in heaven.
We are sorry for placing more reliance on our discoveries and methods than on asking You. We are sorry for our lack of faith to believe You and trust You for the answers. We come before You now and ask for Your revelation to flow in a new way, to the astonishment of researchers experiencing Your goodness and greatness as perhaps never before.
We thank You for Your Son, Jesus, by whom we can come into Your presence and ask You for what we could never earn or deserve. You are always about Your work of salvation – may this wisdom be our salvation now.
To Your honour and glory alone we pray this. Amen.
We pray as those who have had something taken from us — our sin and condemnation, at the Cross.
And something given to us — new life and relationship with God enabled by the Holy Spirit given at Pentecost.
We come as those who are dependent, unable to save ourselves or improve our prospects by our own actions.
But we come as those filled with joy: confident we are chosen, redeemed, loved and accepted — whatever happens, we have the joy of knowing we belong.
May we never forget that the LORD works wonders for every one of His devoted lovers. And this is how I know He will answer my every prayer. Psalm 4:3
Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Philippians 4:6
Lord, I come to You in gratitude as the One who has always been my champion and my defender. Whenever I have been under pressure, You have been there to release me. And it’s like that again. I need more of Your kindness!
How can I ask this, of You? My right exists only because of our relationship, because You treat me so much better than I deserve.
I know I can put my trust in You: and because of who You are, You will hear me and answer. Now, whatever I see reported, whatever concerns I overhear from others, I can live unafraid. I don’t have to be pulled in different directions, or assailed by doubts and worries.
I come to You, not just in desperation, but in joy and confidence, because through Jesus I am united with You.
Let the light that comes from Your smile and Your favour, break through this oppressive darkness and reveal to us a different view.