Please note that Sunday’s (TFP) ‘Tea, Fellowship & Praise’ is cancelled to allow the congregation to attend Halesworth Methodist’s closing service and tea. TFP will resume as normal in October.
CONTINUING THOUGHTS ON PRAYER
Last month I gave readers some thoughts on praying and some ideas for structuring a time spent in prayer. This month continues with the aspects of prayer containing a time of confession, meditation, intercession and supplication.
Remember the verse from 1 John:
“If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. If you cannot think of anything very specific, ask God to reveal to you
anything that is causing him displeasure. It may be a habit that isstopping you from growing as a Christian, or an attitude, or resentment of something or someone.
Reflect on the Ten Commandments, Ex. Ch. 20 1-17 and see if any of them apply to you now. Think about ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’. Say you are sorry and receive God’sforgiveness. Think through your day asif Jesus had been there with you or listening to your conversations. Would you have felt comfortable with him there? If not, why not?
With God there is no fishing.Once you have asked for hisforgiveness, that’s
it. Remember the woman taken in adultery?
MEDITATE (in other wordstake time to think about God through means of his Holy Scriptures).
The subject of mindfulness has emerged in the past few years and become very popular as a means of de-stressing from sometimes very busy or messy lives. The Bible talks about our minds and God himself gave us the commandment to Worship the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength. So God knows how important our minds are to our bodily and spiritual health. The increased challenges facing people in school and the workplace are also burdening them with mental dis-ease.
The Jewish Old Testament contains 150 wonderful songs (psalms) which were written for use by the Jewish tribes and many of them were written by King David. These Psalms have sustained Christians also and they are a good jumping off place for coming apart quietly with God.
Find a Bible. Find a Psalm which means something to you. The following are some good choices.
Ps. 5 Ps.8 Ps. 17. 6-9
Ps. 27. Ps. 42 vv. 1-5 Ps. 103 1-6,
Ps. 108 1-5, Ps. 107 1-9 Ps.111.1-5,
Ps.113. 4-6, Ps. 119, Ps. 145, vv. 8-9 and 17-20
Read it through quite slowly. Reflect on the mood being expressed and take the wordsinto your own mind and spirit. Worship God through these verses.
Psalm 23 has a special place in English culture and the first words‘The Lord is my shepherd’can become a realstatement of praise. Speak out that line, emphasizing each word in turn.
The LORD is my shepherd.
The Lord IS my shepherd.
The lord is MY shepherd.
The Lord is my SHEPHERD.
See how differently the sentence comes across in this way.
Another fantastic psalm is Ps. 49. This one helpsthe reader to stay focused on the things of God in the midst of our secular world and all its ‘attractions’
INTERCESSION AND SUPPLICATION (asking for others, asking for yourself)
Interceding means standing between God and the situation. You are the instrument through prayer and want God to change something. If there is some kind ofsituation that you feel is contrary to God’s will, and you really feel you want to see it change, come to God and begin to ask Him to
change things. It may be that there are people involved whose attitudes need softening. Ask God to blessthem. It can be helpful holding the name of people in your hands and just offering them to God. Or the name of a situation which is challenging – ill health or relationship problems, major political issues and those trying to balance many different attitudes to things. Again hold them in your hand and bring them to God.You may not have words but the Holy Spirit can pray on our behalf.
This is focusing on your own needs and coming to God to ask for his blessing. Asking God for things is more personal. He is a Father who loves us and wants to give us good things (Luke 11.) (bread and stones?). Think hard about the things you ask God to give you – in Ephesians Paul asks that the Holy Spirit might help the Ephesians to grow in their knowledge of God. Do you need guidance about moving? Or about your relationship with loved ones in your family? Or for practical help or a new direction in your life? Bring these thingsto God and ask him to make situations clearer.
Ask also for the spiritual gifts such as patience, wisdom, love, self-control,
Perhaps you need guidance to make an important decision. Ask God to give you a word from scripture or from trusted Christian friends. In Matt. Chap. 6 Jesus tells us our heavenly Father knows what we need before we ask him.
EVERY TIME OF PRAYER STARTS WITHTHE WILL.
TAKE TIME TO BE QUIET.
EXPECT TO COME INTO GOD’S PRESENCE.
START SMALL BUT BE FAITHFUL.
LET GOD GROW YOU’RE
A ROUGH GUIDE TO PRAYER
1. Praise God – for his creation and all it tells us about God’s nature.
2. Wait on God
3. Read a verse of scripture. Think about it. Does it tell you more
about God and his nature, or his creation or his promises. Can
you take these into your prayer life?
4. Confession time
5. Intercession – make a list of things/people to pray for over the
whole week, e.g.
SUNDAY The Minister and support clergy, their families, lay preachers, elders and children’s workers.
MONDAY People involved in caring: at home, particularly young carers, those caring for relations suffering from dementia or disabling conditions; those in residential homes, hospitals, clinics, prisons. Those involved with asylum seekers and people who have been trafficked.
TUESDAY For civil servants, councilors, ministers in govern
ment departments. Pray for good standards of service, integrity and decisions which honour God.
WEDNESDAY For police personnel, fire fighters, paramedics and the armed services. For those who are involved with keeping the country safe in any way.
THURSDAY For the Christian church in our land, especially for small and struggling congregations, whether in town or country. For their pastors and ministers and the members who serve God in their communities.
FRIDAY For those working abroad in the mission field. For medical personnel, teachers, agriculturalists and Bible translators. For their children, either with them or boarding elsewhere; for the parents of mission families, often far away.
For Theological and Bible colleges that they may receive good funding and students.
SATURDAY For your own personal friends, neighbors and
specific needs. For opportunities through conversations to spread the knowledge of Jesus love. For any specific item in the news which God lays on your heart. For integrity in media coverage
Another way of bringing prayer into your life is to occasionally go round your house and observe the objects you have there. Many of them I suspect will have been given to you by friends or family members. Lift the object up and look at it (i.e. photo or picture). Ask God to hold the person whom it reminds you of in His hands and given them His blessing. I have myself some smallstones which once were on the mantelpiece. Each stone represented a member of my family. From time to time I would pick up each stone and simply hold it while offering that person in prayer to Jesus.
For those who are artistic, you might like to try and express one of the psalms through drawing or painting. Words in themselves can be quite limiting as we all know. But God’s glory is expressed through his created world and if you have artistic talent let Him bless you in that way. For myself, as a musician, I can praise God when I play hymns and worship songs and music is another God-given means of entering into His presence. (I think of J.S. Bach here too.)
Keeping a record of your prayers. This can be very useful as it is very easy sometimes to forget what you have prayed for. Also, keep a record of any blessings which you feel have
come to you from God. Share these with friends as you feel led.
May you enjoy praying more.
Churches Together in the Blyth Valley
Praying for the Halesworth Community especially those affected by the fire at Market Place. There will be a special service, with people from all the churches coming together to show solidarity and pray for the community:
Sunday 22 July – 3.00pm @ Halesworth URC, Quay Street
Please come and join with members of Churches together, and invite friends and neighbours. If you know people connected with or employed by the businesses affected, or living in the flats, please invite them: It is not only the premises directly affected but those all around the Square that may be affected. And the whole town aware of the emotional impact. So let’s gather together for mutual support. And let’s all look for opportunities to offer practical support and encouragement.
Revd Jon Sermons
Halesworth United Reformed Church
In our Friday morning prayer meetings we have recently been learning afresh the importance of
prayer in our corporate life as a church and in our individual lives.
We are finding that as we bring eour thanksgiving and requests to God and seek his will, we receive from him so much more than we ask. We gain a deep sense of being blessed by God’s meeting with us and of our meeting with each other. We are also growing in our understanding that our prayers release God’s power to act, that God needs our prayers to fulfil his purposes.
I expect we all believe this. We believe in prayer; we believe God answers prayer. Why then are we so reluctant to ask for prayer for ourselves? We have a prayer ministry team available to pray with anyone at the end of each Sunday morning service, but we are finding there is little uptake. Is this really because there is nothing any of us want to ask of God? No need of help or guidance or healing? No problems, no friends or family to pray for? Of course, we all bring these needs to God in our personal times of prayer, but we know that it is as the church comes together to pray that God comes amongst us more powerfully – even when the church is two
or three gathered in his name.
On a personal note, I have to say it hastaken me a while to learn to ask for prayer. Always happy to pray for others, but not always happy to reveal my personal needs; makes me feel somewhat exposed; vulnerable. But I am learning this is what is necessary for real fellowship; trusting each other; an interdependence that is real. This is the core of loving each other, and I believe this reaches the heart of God so his healing and restoring and guiding and blessing are experienced. So why not take time to join the two members of the prayer team in the back corner of the church at the end of the morning service and allow them to hold you in God’s presence? You don’t even have to give any reason for going – just to want to draw near to God is enough. For those who can’t get to the morning service, let us know and we could come and
pray with you at home.
Our desire is to have a prayer-soaked church where we are all interceding for each other and for all our activities. A church where Satan can have no foothold amongst us and where we are used to bring God’s blessings to our town and villages.
Prayer Ministry Team
July’s Family Breakfast will be the usual second Saturday. Hope to see you there!
July’s debate asks the question ‘Is the use of criminal actions or acts of violence ever justifiable in seeking justice? Come and add your voice to the debate.
HURC – Church Sunday Driver Roster
April – May -June 2018
Note:- To enable volunteer drivers to participate in the prayer ministry
team the driver roster has been modified so that each driver will
volunteer on the same Sunday each month i.e. 1st , 2nd , 3rd or 4th . When
there is a five week month one of the volunteers will take turns to drive
on that Sunday.
The new roster will commence on the 6th May.
Martin Dominic 22nd April Angela Sutton Day 20th May
Doug Mizon 29th April Doug Mizon 27th May
Martin Dominic 6th May Martin Dominic 3rd June
Alan Furness 13th May Alan Furness 10th June
New Page containing Bible Study, House and Prayer Group details now added under the Bible Study, House, Prayer Group and Associated Church Activities tab.
The ‘Listening and Discernment Prayer Group’ page is now live. You will find this under Church groups and associated activities.
What is ‘Listening Prayer’?
Well, in a listening prayer meeting we have no agenda and no lists of what wewant to pray about. We come before God and ask Him to lead us in prayer.
In church, we frequently pray “Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.”
That supposes God has plans for what His Kingdom looks like. And that He wants them to happen on earth. So … if we listen and ask the Holy Spirit to lead our prayers.
To find a fuller description of ‘Listening Prayer’ click on the ‘Listening and Discernment Prayer Group’ Page with notes on previous meeting (s).
Explore the meaning of Life…
We will start a new Alpha course on Wednesday 7 February ~@ 7.00 p.m.
Please contact our Minister Revd Jon Sermon 01986 873761 for more information or to book a place on the course.
Alpha is structured to enable people to explore
Christianity, whether already a believer, a
sceptic, an enquirer or even a committed atheist. (An atheist who attended Alpha with
me in a previous Church is now a church
leader). Over 10 weeks or so we’ll look at issues such as ‘Who is Jesus?’ ‘Why did Jesus
Die?’ and ‘Does God Heal Today?’ The format will allow for small group discussion and questioning.
Whilst any of us may want to attend to deepen our understanding, or as a ‘refresher’ Alpha is at its best when the majority of the group are not yet committed Christians. Inviting our friends and offering to go with
them is often the best way to make this happen.