Pray For London

"we invite you to set aside one day a month to pray specifically for the city of London, on your own, with your family, together with a small group, in your church or at your workplace. There is a new topic every month.  These prayer prompts have been an experiment for CCNL this year and we are so very grateful for your responses.

Below are monthly prompts for you to use to pray for the City of London. Need more? Visit 24-7 prayer for more prayer ideas. If you would like these prompts delivered to your inbox, please email usIf you would like these prompts delivered to your inbox, please email us at praylondon@ccnl.org

 


 


"....considering the other"

 Pray London Prompt      June 2020

Would any of us have imagined in January this year, that now in early June, our daily conversations would include COVID19 virus concerns like:  wearing face masks, social distancing guidelines, handwashing diligence, zoom meeting protocols, checking daily death tolls, online church services, growing unemployment rates of 15% +, contact tracing, or even the length of lineups at the grocery store.

 

Then, in these past two weeks, we've added on the tragic death of George Floyd, compelling images of peaceful protests and sadly some violence and looting, as years upon years of injustice explode in cities around North America.  Our world has seemingly turned upside down into chaos due to a even greater virus of pervasive prejudice. All our mental health, our perceptions of safety, fairness, and our faith is unsettled again. Even here, in London. 

Many might quietly confess that we had grown maybe too comfortable living in a culture of selfies, Instagram and social media; constant strive/thrive/win encouragements; planning of bucket lists and dreams of future travel; schedules, goals, and high success expectations. These past five months have changed our lives dramatically, we hope and pray in some good ways too - so we turn to you, God.

 

In the midst of all this upheaval, a new dynamic is emerging - bubbling up in all kinds of conversations -  the desperate need of "considering the other" as we walk through these difficult times together. It is not really new however - it has always been integral to our Christian faith.  

Philippians 2 reminds us that as people who follow Jesus: " Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.  Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had."

In these critical moments in history, let's pray together that we will learn these lessons about "the other" well and carry forward a new awareness and concern in how we live together in our homes, in our neighbourhoods and workplaces,  in our churches, and in our community of London.

Lord, we stop and pause in quietness before you and first confess how we all bear responsibility for thinking way too much of ourselves, and about ourselves. It is just too easy God, to think we are deserving, or to be selfish, or to judge others, or to elevate ourselves. Sometimes, it is blatant but we find ways to justify it somehow. Oh God, it can also be so subtle and pervasive in our lives. We invite your Spirit into our very inner beings to do a thorough housecleaning where needed - to reveal to us any prejudices, latent anger, hidden deceit, nagging grudges, natural selfishness, inflated ego that has taken hold. Help us try to toss those attitudes out with the trash.  Humble us God, all the while knowing you still love us, just as we are...and wanting so much more for us. Take these lessons and write new stories in our hearts and in our churches to spread out into our community.

  • Father God, in these hard times, we have been challenged to look freshly at what family means. Extended  time spent together has forced us to communicate more, to work together, to learn and to listen to one another - or at least we have tried to, God. Some families have connected in ways they could not or did not in the past and discovered the importance of kinship -  belonging to one another. Some families have struggled all the more, as the cracks in relationships have widened in deep chasms. We pray God for all kinds of families. Heal any hurts, God. Help us put away "me"  and look to "we"  and seek to strengthen our familial bonds in healthier ways.
  • The pandemic has revealed problems that have been there for far too long. There are many inequities in our community. The socio-economic status of many people, "the other", has caused disproportionate suffering in both this health, and the looming economic crisis. Vulnerable neighbourhoods in our city, people with lower incomes, in cramped living conditions, with uncertain employment, living with mental health challenges, dependent on public transit - all have greater food insecurity, are more prone to chronic diseases, illness, and greater risk of infection. God, we cry out for better understanding deeper compassion, more provision, and increased protection for those living at the margins. It starts with us.
  • Give us your eyes to see racism and injustice right here in London...and then have courage and determination to do something about it.   This week, you have starkly reminded us that you created us all, no matter what colour our skin, no matter our cultural background, deserving of freedom, dignity, respect.  Set against the background of a virus, at this critical point in time, we recognize that even in Canada, even here in London Ontario, there are power imbalances, places of systemic discrimination, long standing prejudices, and underlying barriers that are more dangerous and deadly to some than COVID19. Heal our city - remind us daily that each of us is created in your image, God. Let us see you in each person. We pray for reconciliation and justice to reign everywhere - bring your Kingdom here on earth.      
  • Our hearts break for how our elderly have borne the brunt of this pandemic, God. The conditions in some long-term facilities have put those so deserving of greater care at huge risk. We mourn with those who have lost family members or workers that have suffered. We struggle God with how to best provide dignity and honor for those older or in need, coupled with quality healthcare for those physically unable to care for themselves. Help us to invest in their lives as they have invested in ours over the years. 
  • We have learned too, God, what a difference leadership makes when crisis occurs. No leader is perfect. All will stumble and make mistakes. But God, we pray for good leaders - people of integrity and honour. So many, whether they be in government, in business, in organizations, or in churches, have been stretched way beyond their experience, training, and/or abilities at times. Some falter, some survive, and some rise. They bear such a heavy weight of responsibility. Speak truth, peace, courage, wisdom and accountability into their lives. 
  • We've also discovered God,  that our personal actions actually do matter. We are not helpless. Perhaps we have forgotten that. Wearing a face mask protects others more than it protects us. Staying home and sacrificing social gatherings protects our community and helps limit the spread of a virus. Standing up against racism in conversations or wherever we see it makes a difference.  A kind word, a helping hand, dollars shared, standing beside and with those who are hurting  - all impact change and protects others. Our privilege as your people. Rise up, church. We know that in our heads, like a good slogan, but now we have greater lived experience in some new, and costly ways. We have opportunity to step up and step into caring well "for the other".  
  • God, we have realized again the value of community -we really missed seeing people face to face, not just on a screen, having conversations, laughing together, grieving together, worshipping together, eating together, learning together. You created us to live in community. Inspire us to keep seeking out ways to strengthen community here in London, God. To engage in our neighbourhoods, in our schools, in groups and with strangers when that time comes that we are freer to do that. Let us love one another as you love us, God.
  • Finally God, you are changing  how we view "things". Help us not to forget that. Having more material possessions do not actually make us better than "the other".  During lockdown, many people discovered great pleasure in 'making do', gardens planted, using what they had to fix things, or creating homemade meals. Creativity grew. Old concepts explored. New lessons learned. Interesting ideas and skills were shared (not all of them great ideas!).But there seems to be increased opportunity to care for our environment in maybe some new ways, and slow down our consumer driven society a bit.    

God, it seems to be a crazy world. At times, we are equally confused and dismayed and amazed.

Philippians 2 goes on to challenge us more: "You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

May this be said of us, His church in London Ontario, that we have the same attitude as Jesus, to the glory of God, the Father.  AMEN

Prayer Prompt 

May 2020 
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PRAYER PROMPT MAY 2020

As we celebrated Mother's Day this past weekend, our thoughts naturally turn to also thinking of our children. 

These days, when you pray to God about what is happening in our world, do you feel somewhat like a kid on a road trip, full of questions, continually asking your father, "Are we there yet? How much longer, daddy? What's going to happen when we get there?" Thankfully, our Heavenly Father patiently hears the cries of our hearts in this unsettling  stage of our life journeys as we anticipate our future with so many questions. Romans 8 reassures us...."So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children."

 

As much loved children of God, let us all please join together this month to pray for the children and youth of London - the ones we see, or ones we don't see; ones we know and love, and ones we have never met. Kids in houses or apartments; kids in families or in foster care or living with grandparents; kids with siblings and those who are only children. Each one unique and special in God's eyes.

How many times have you heard that word "unprecedented" in the last few months? The dictionary defines it as "having no earlier parallel or equivalent, unmatched, first-time".  It is just like being a child. Each experience is brand-new. Who could have imagined we would stand six feet apart from people in line so obediently? Who thought we would wear a facemask to go to the store? Nothing in our worst dreams prepared for an unseen virus that could close down schools, businesses, family celebrations, even church.

Young people look to us as adults to contextualize life for them as they grow up. To reassure them that when they fall down, they will get up again, literally and figuratively. To differentiate for them what is safe or unsafe territory, wise or unwise actions. Yet, right now, we as adults are often as confused and unsure as they are, wondering what is coming next, and cautious about making false promises, because we have no experience to share or surety of what 'next' looks like. "I don't know" is our honest answer to many questions to which we wish we had answers.

We do however have something wonderful to offer to the children and youth of London -  let's pour these three things out over them as we pray this month. 1 Corinthians 13 says " Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love."

 

So we pray these things:

  • Our God, You know and love each young person in London. You know their needs, their fears, their potential, their hope, their anxieties, their dreams, their unique situations. As we pray for them, may your Spirit help us better understand them. Most of all, give us deep, tender love for them.
  • We pray first, God, for their minds. They are at an age when there is so much to learn, so many key building blocks of understanding and knowledge to grasp, so many necessary skills to master. Give their teachers energy, hope, creativity and determination to communicate well in difficult circumstances. Give their parents wisdom, strength, perseverance, and patience to keep at it, even when they themselves are under much pressure. You created young minds to soak up countless ideas and information in this stage of development. Guard them from misinformation, from confusing messages, from distractions and discouragement, as routine, discipline, and normalcy have mostly disappeared for a while. Open up new ways for them to learn, God.
  • Lord God, we pray for their physical development. Young bodies need to be active, run and jump, climb and stretch, dance and play. Their muscles need strengthening and activity to grow into healthy, energetic adults in the future. May creative spaces open up where they can use their bodies well. As summer months approach, God, without the hope of team sports, or summer programs, may kids and parents be motivated to find ways to exercise safely. Help us all to encourage them and cheer them on. We know this is really important - bodies to grow well.  
  • We pray for their safety, God, from this COVID19 virus for sure....kids are afraid and parents are afraid, especially parents of those children who are medically vulnerable. We pray for safety in their homes too. Parents are stressed and full of concerns about jobs, income, older family members, relationships, and/or food security. We pray for safety online as well, God. Guard children and youth from predators who would take advantage of them. We pray that they would not become addicted to gaming or gambling - too easy to get lost in the online world. Give the adults in their lives eyes to see and ears to hear and attentive hearts to dangerous situations.    
  • We pray for children's mental health. Protect them from deep anxiety as this is all too confusing for them to comprehend. Help them to talk freely about their concerns with trusted adults. Sadness, depression, anxiety, loneliness - all are on the rise in children. Pour out hope into their souls. These are such heavy complex concepts for young minds. Develop such resiliency in their spirits to tackle each day with new energy. Let laughter bubble up in them. You created them to learn and play all at the same time for a good reason, for  times like these - they amaze us that they seem to be able to naturally make anything fun.  
  • We pray for friendships to grow,  not lessen in these challenging moments. Again, in child development, we know the importance 'the other" plays in their social development - in learning good communication skills, in fostering co-operation, in developing teamwork and negotiation tools, in appreciating diversity of opinions and cultures, in growing compassion, in exercising forgiveness, and in finding 'kindred spirits' outside of family. These are all critical life skills God, for our children to become healthy, functional adults. As adolescents especially, God, the peer group becomes so very important as they begin to see themselves as independent, valued, responsible identities. Teenagers are missing 'markers' right now in their lives - things like graduations, recognitions, juggling part-time jobs and schooling, leadership training and just being a little crazy- all great learning experiences and valued memories. Give us more empathetic hearts for these teens, God. Fill those gaps with good things, we pray!
  • We pray for good mentors. Social isolation right now can rob our children of close contacts with important people in their lives. In our own younger years, God, many of us were blessed  to learn much from those who were one year older, five years older, ten years older, fifteen years older....fifty years older. You created us to live in communities. This year, kids will be missing social environments of school, sports, clubs. Think of lessons we learned from camp counsellors, coaches, peer instructors, neighbourhood kids, cousins.... Fill up those spaces too God with great mentors who help shape young lives in such marvellous, necessary ways and enrich their lives both through this experience of being mentored and of mentoring others.
  • God, how we pray for your protection for the most vulnerable of young lives around us, especially during this unsettled time. We know that you have them on your our heart -  those whose families are in deep crisis or in hard transitions; those young lives with developmental, emotional or physical challenges;  those children who fall through the cracks of care in our world. Provide the needed funds and care for the many agencies in our city that support these precious ones. Give us eyes to see them and extend the hands and heart of Jesus to them when needed. May they experience Your love and care,  and have opportunity to grow to know and love You.
  • Help us too, God, where there is opportunity, to teach our own children more to pray for others.... to think beyond Mom and Dad, or Gramma and Grandpa, and/or the dog....  to help them to learn to pray for our city of London early in their lives. God hears their prayers. This current pandemic has us all more aware of the helpers in our community - health care workers or grocery store clerks. May children and youth  learn to pray for their neighbourhood, for their teachers, for people at church, for their friends.  
  • Most of all God, may kids find you....because you desire them to come to you. Give them ears to hear and see your truth. May they see you in people around them, in the great kindnesses being shown, in prayers spoken. Give us much sensitivity, wisdom and opportunity to share your truth in ways children can comprehend. Stir up abundant curiosity about you, God. The words of Mark 10 come to mind: "The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them."

We ask your blessing God on the children and youth of London.

 Do something transformative in them! AMEN.

Prayer for London 
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Pray for London

Post Easter 2020

 

For most of us, this Easter was "different" than what we usually experience. Different is not horrible or bad - just unexpected, unusual, maybe a little weird -  definitely different!  Still "God with us" wherever or however you experienced Easter 2020.  Maybe you led or joined in an on-line service of some kind, or perhaps you had a private personal reflection time at home, or maybe you shared a celebration with your immediate family members that live with you.  A learning opportunity for us all.

However you marked this Easter, absolutely nothing diminishes the glorious, liberating purpose of Easter.

A holy God who chose to love us past, present, and future - His creations. He deeply wanted to be in relationship with us so that we might also know and love Him. Because of that, He chose to become flesh, human just like us, to offer himself to stand in the gap between His holiness and our sinfulness. He invited us to be adopted into His family as His children. Miraculous. Mysterious. Magnificent. The early disciples discovered that where there seemed to be no hope -  there was indeed great hope -  beyond what  they could ever have imagined. The good news, the "gospel" is always this, then and now...... even in the midst of all our current concerns, fears, and somewhat hopeless uncertainties, Jesus cares intimately for us. He has risen from the dead, and He is bringing His Kingdom here on earth as it will be in heaven. Let's pray that we will live this truth out abundantly in our city of London.

Colossians 3:1-2  "So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective."

We have a challenge for you in the coming weeks. Something different again!  Many are taking the opportunities of physical distancing as a motivation to walk daily and have some exercise. Would you consider making it a part of your practice to pray more as you walk?  It may be in your neighbourhood, or as you go get weekly groceries, or around  your workplace. It may be out in another part of the city, or on an unfamiliar path. If you cannot get out to walk, maybe as you hear the news, or meet on Zoom or some other online platform, pray. Make some notes of you observe and hear, who and what you could be praying for. However  it works for you, we invite you to please join in!

**A very special side note for those who are pastors or ministry leaders. You might be thinking to yourself. "Oh no, not one more thing to add to my overloaded 'to-do' list, another task to tackle. I just want to go for a walk to decompress, to just breathe."  Many leaders express that they feeling like they are living in that classic "Bruce Almighty" movie where Jim Carrey is inundated with prayer requests coming at him at the speed of light. You, as leaders, are juggling so many new challenges and multiple technology venues; feeling deep concern about creating viable enriching community in new ways;  seeing bills come in and questioning how long finances are sustainable;  wondering what  the "new normal" may look like as summer approaches or if people will actually return  ....and then there's the ever- present  'caring for the flock'- connections with those afraid, hurting, lonely;   funerals that can't take place but still grieving; weddings to be rescheduled; spiritual guidance given without being face-to-face, the list grows daily. Does that describe your inside voice?  The very human side of Jesus must have felt that kind of  pressure -  time was all too short, untrained disciples, opposition from those who should have known better and were reluctant to change, and  just the sheer magnitude of people wanting Him to meet their needs - the feeding of the 5000 comes to mind. Possibly a bit overwhelming when you put yourself there beside Him.  He too knew the need to escape for restorative quiet and solitude - you've preached those sermons! 

So we pause and pray for a gentle rain of peace to wash over each of you... to bless you and to strengthen your soul. You are indeed an essential & eternal service - don't forget that - and we deeply thank God for you.   

Now, back to the walking part! It is a healthy prayer practise to pause - really pause - to invite God into the details of how you are reacting about what you see and hear around you. Our world around us is in daily upheaval. Do families seem to live in this neighbourhood where you walk? What clues are there about age groups or cultural groups who may live there? What schools are nearby?  What churches, gathering spaces, parks, or restaurants are nearby? Are there businesses and employers in the area you could be praying for? What is special about this part of London that perhaps you have not noticed before? Look carefully - what signs of life or expressions of kindnesses do you notice?  Ask God to open up your heart and mind. Pause to attune yourself to both your and His thoughts, attitudes, and questions. Where is the Spirit wanting you to linger a little while longer and observe more? The verses in Colossians 3 above urges us to  "see things from His perspective." Do you see things any differently than you may usually see when you actually seek to look with God's eyes?

Be really curious with God. When you get home, write down what you noticed. The next day, maybe go a different way. New street. Different area.  Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Share your insights with a friend, or two, or three. Ask them to join you in this journey - not physically, but in prayer.  If we say we love London as Christians, how are our prayers reflecting that love God has for this city? 

As you walk, consider these verses: 1 Peter 5:7-11 says  "So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does."

Colossians 4:2-4 " Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should."

May this be an adventure together with God, and with one another. Alert. We are not helpless nor hopeless during this time of caring for the wellbeing of our community - physically, emotionally, economically, spiritually. We wait on God. Trust in Him. May He be so alive and active in our city of London.... and in each of us.

Prayer for Easter
April 2020 
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CCNL PRAYER PROMPT

Preparing for Easter - April 2020

 

Come journey with us in prayer for London as we celebrate Holy week, the last week before Easter.  Lent is a season of the Christian liturgical calendar, intended for spiritual reflection and preparation, often including fasting, all meant to focus on the meaning of the cross and prepare spiritually for the coming celebration of Easter. None of us imagined that a worldwide pandemic would become the backdrop for Easter this year. We've had an "enforced fast"  from much in our lives recently - church gatherings, family celebrations, workplace habits, even daily comforts. Let's use this to understand more of Jesus, more of sacrifice, and more of hope as we enter into prayer together.

 At Easter, it is often  easy for many of us to rush past the uncomfortable parts of Holy Week and want to get to the happier part, the "He is Risen" joy, full of grace and hope part, and even the chocolate Easter egg part if we were being totally honest. COVID19 effects in our lives remind us of the real-life challenges of unexpected losses, the anxiety, the helplessness and the fear  that early Christ followers must have experienced that first Easter.

 

May we gently invite each of you this month, only if you are able, to bravely linger for a little while together, and enter in prayer into some difficult spaces with our community. We understand this may be too uncomfortable for some right now. If so, we encourage you to just lean into Jesus for now.

Londoners can experience sadness for a variety of reasons - some for a season, some for what may seem a lifetime, many because of the uncertainty of right now!  Lament can actually be a healthy spiritual practise as we turn to God with our personal struggles in the messy, painful parts of life.  This is one of those times around the world.

Jesus himself expressed deep sadness during Holy week - as He walked down the road from Bethany and wept over Jerusalem; as He endured both Judas' betrayal and Peter's denials; as He pleaded earnestly with his Father in the Garden of Gethsemane to take it away or when He felt forsaken on the cross; as He felt disappointment that His disciples could not even stay awake with Him as He prayed; as He witnessed the grief of His mother and precious friends; as He suffered such scorn and overwhelming pain, even unto death - all out of love for us. He truly knows our pain.

Fully God, fully human - both are complex truths. God incarnate. In light of who Jesus is, and what He did, let's bring our personal and collective brokenness to stand together at the foot of the Cross this Easter season where He was broken for us. Consider these words from Scripture:  

Isaiah 53:3-4  "He was despised and rejected - a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.  He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;  it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!"

Psalm 56:8  " You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book."

Luke 23:48  " And when all the crowd that came to see the crucifixion saw what had happened, they went home in deep sorrow."

2 Corinthians 1:4  " He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us."

So we pray together as believers in Christ, in every corner of London:

·        Our God, so mysteriously expressed in community in the Trinity, the 'three-in-one' - our loving Father, our brother Jesus, and our comforter Holy Spirit.  We thank you for Your sacrifice for us on the cross. It came at a deep price that we cannot fully grasp. Yet, You chose to express Yourself in difficult ways to explain Your love - the love of a father so passionate that You were willing to sacrifice a much loved son; a King of heaven choosing to live humbly among us so we would know You understand our everyday humanity; a quiet voice resting within us whispering to us of Your love and empowering us to be all You created us to be.   

·        We pray when we experience sadness due to loss - be it from death, or loss of close relationships for whatever reason - right now, we even feel a sense of loss of "normal life" as we knew it.  Bless all those who mourn here in London, whether the loss was just yesterday, or a week, a month, or a decade ago. Grief can envelop and overwhelm us when we least expect it. Daily, refresh those who grieve - physically, spiritually, and emotionally - while sorting out new realities, while making many pressing decisions, while coping with tears that suddenly flow, while struggling through fears of what the future may hold.  Please wrap inner spirits in love as You comfort us. May we, who journey with others, remember to patiently acknowledge their loss and find ways to journey well with them.    

·        We pray for sadness that comes because of failure. We think of Peter - so hard to comprehend how deeply saddened he was at completely denying You, Jesus, not just once, but three times.  An utter failure, yet You used him so well. We live in a seemingly perfect world of "Instagrammable moments", and our failures often seem more profound as the temptation to compare ourselves to others grows. Imagine if Peter's "moments" had been posted all over on social media - yet, they were recorded quite well in a widely distributed book over many centuries - the Bible! We all fail because we are human, no matter how hard we strive to do well. Meet us in our failures, God, and help us learn how to move forward. Teach us to accept the failures of others and not give up on them easily. We pray for the added sadness too that comes from guilt and shame, when perhaps we have let others down, or we have hurt others or disappointed ourselves in some way. Consider Judas and the horrible burden he bore. We pray that each of us find the freedom of forgiveness  by You, in ourselves and then in the willingness to offer it to others.

·        We pray first for all who experience sadness because of life circumstances - illness, accidents, isolation, confusion, prejudice, injustices, abuses, violence, or conflicts, both great and small.  The list is all too long in a broken world.  There are many things on any given day that cause us sorrow, whether in our homes, in our families, in our workplaces, in our community, or in our world. Much seems unfair. We pray that You be as miraculously present with us in our sorrows as You are in our joys. In Your good time, God, may You lead us through our sorrow to living out greater empathy, more generosity of spirit, greater action, and seeking resolution - as much as it lies in our power. We pray for those who work faithfully for justice. Let them not give up because of discouragement or seeming lack of any progress. That's when we all need more of You, God and more hope of a coming Kingdom when You will make all things right.

·        We pray for those who experience depression, due to their mental health. At times, it seems inexplicable - lurking always at the next corner of lives. We pray for freedom from that fear. We ask for  compassionate responses both personally from us, as friends and family, and also in the community response with greater supports, resources, trained counsellors and health care personnel who offer informed  and tender care in the midst of these abiding sorrows.  In coming days, many may need help with PTSD. Heal wounded hearts and minds as they recover.  

·        We pray for the deep sadness that comes from physical pain, especially chronic pain.  It can eat away at the core of one's spirit. For many, it drains the ability to view life anyway except through the lens of pain. We ask first God that you heal the source of the pain, if that is possible. We confess that in our inner being, that is our only cry. Yet, we know in the experience of pain, we still need to take medications, go to the doctor's appointments, do the physiotherapy, suffer the surgeries, exercise wise choices, or wait as bodies may slowly recover over time - or maybe not.   Give each strength and courage enough to face each day and each challenge - much easier said than done.

·        We pray for those of us who are experiencing unrelenting, pervasive, crippling sadness - so much so, that some wish to end their lives to relieve the pain and suffering they feel, experiencing profound loss of purpose, value, or hope, only despair. Those of us who love them feel so utterly helpless in those moments God. We all yearn for your healing touch in what seems like a bottomless abyss. Help us, wherever possible, to see and hear the deep sadness, God. Our hearts break with Yours when a life is taken. Especially Lord, in these anxious days that we are now experiencing, pour out hope and help into our lives in abundant measure when we are struggling.... when hope is lost, and we wonder if you hear us, God,  if you care, if your Kingdom is greater than all of these things. Let the message of Easter speaks to that

·        We pray for  those who bear great sadness because they "bear the weight of the world on their shoulders" - many families are experiencing that right now. For some, it just feels that way all the time, because it really does rest largely on us in our particular sphere of life. It can feel so heavy. We hear you invite us to lay our burden down. Help us to do that daily with You.

In these times of deepening surprising sadness, God, we need Your gentle touch and caring embrace. We need to hear Your words of confidence and hope. We need Your Spirit as an enveloping presence that just sits with us, beside us, in us. Thank you Jesus, that because of Your death and resurrection, not only did You give us reconciliation with the Father, and the gift of Your Spirit within us as a comforter, You also gave us each other to share a common life with other in Your great name.

 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17  says " Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say"  May this be evident of us - in our city of London, to our neighbour, to the stranger, in our family and to our friend.  Easter is coming ....we pray earnestly for great joy to explode in our lives! 

AMEN  

 

 

Pray for workplace

March 2020 


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May Your will be done, God, in workplaces in London. Many of us spend an average of 40-50+
hours weekly in our various occupations, usually for around 45+ years of our lives...that's over
95,000 hours of our lives! Jobs allow us to provide for both our needs "our daily bread", and
some of our wants. Beyond that, our work gives us each an opportunity to make a difference in
our world in big ways and small ways. It can increase learning, help us to work in teams, grow
our leadership capacity, expand our understanding of others, allow to give to help others, or
just offer some encouraging words.

Colossians 3:23: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not
for human masters."

Psalm 90:17: "May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for
us— yes, establish the work of our hands."
The Message Bible words that verse this way: "And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest
on us, confirming the work that we do. Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do."

 Thank you God for the ability to work - with our bodies, with our minds, and with our spirits.
May the outcome of our work and the effect on the recipients of our labour be meaningful.
Help us all - whether we are teaching high school students, caring for elderly patients in
long-term care, working on a production line, harvesting crops, picking up garbage,
preaching a sermon, wiring a house, defending cases in court, running a day care, entering
data, checking out groceries, washing floors, serving coffee – to recognize that all of these
jobs and thousands more are honorable in your sight.
 Give us better appreciation that each item we use, each piece of food we eat, each piece of
clothing we wear, each idea that we read - they were all created by someone. Teach us to
express gratitude and pray your blessing on each person. You are the ultimate creator, God,
of our world and you daily sustain our lives. Let us bring a taste of your creative generous
spirit daily into our workplace and say somehow, as you did at the end of the day, "and it
was good." God, we confess that there are many days where that is not the easiest thing to
do - which is why we definitely need your help.
 We pray for those who are employees. May they be trustworthy, honest, hard-working,
diligent. May they find ways to work for their boss as if somehow, you, Jesus, were their
boss - easier said than done! May they seek to be an encouragement to others in the
workplace and not be a source or enabler of complaining or gossiping.
May they, those who are people of faith, set a good example, demonstrating the love of
Christ in how and why they do their work, and always ready to explain the choice made to
love God and to love others ... to those in the next cubicle or office, those in the lunchroom,
those who answer the phone, or pass in the parking lot each day.
 We pray for those who are unemployed in London, and ask you to surround them with your
peace and hope. These are times of much anxiety about jobs, finances, and the future. Give
to the jobless much perseverance in times of discouragement. We pray that they may be
connected with opportunities for interviews and assistance in the process and thank you for
the many agencies and frontline workers in London that offer help and training in times of
employment transitions and upheaval.
 We also pray God for those who are unable to work because of physical or mental or
intellectual limitations. May they know that they are valued in this city. May you meet their
needs for community, worth and provision for daily needs. We thank you God for the many
people and organizations that assist them.
 Thank you God for those passionate souls who are owners and investors and innovators, for
their commitment of vision, effort, time, and money in London - in order to create jobs not
just for themselves but for others. They contribute to the prosperity and well-being of our
city. They are the entrepreneurs, the self-employed, the small business owners of "mom
and pop" operations, the growers of medium size businesses, large businesses, and
corporations - all part of the mosaic of workplaces in London.
 We pray for those who are employers. God, give them the desire to be fair and wise; the
strength to display courage and integrity; the capacity to be diligent and knowledgeable;
the character to be respectful and worthy of respect. Give us more grateful hearts for jobs
that allow us to care for ourselves and our family's needs. We pray for employers'
imagination and perseverance in good times and in hard economic times. The marketplace
is changing exponentially and growing more complex - challenging for employers to keep up
with effects of automation, global trends, new trade agreements, ever changing technology,
environmental concerns, online competitors and powerful political tides.
 We pray for those retired from paid work. Help them God to discover new identities about
who they are, not from title or job, but from who you created them to be. Help them to find
ways to make meaningful contributions to families, to churches, to neighbourhoods and to
this city as long as they are willing and able. Bless them, please God, for the thousands of
volunteer 'work' hours that they offer so freely and generously - how important and
inspiring as an example of being good citizens.
 We pray for wisdom for governments making decisions about current important workplace
issues - things like equal pay for equal work, equal opportunity for all, consideration of a
living wage to lift people out of poverty, fair taxation laws, workplace health and safety
regulations, freedom from sexual and racial harassment in the workplace, mental health
supports. There are so many challenges.
 We also acknowledge that work can both be fulfilling and frustrating. Oh, for those bad
days God - where conflicts, stress, demands, fatigue and expectations overwhelm us. We
can become discouraged and sense that we lack direction in what we do. We need more
patience and clarity and hope in those times. Work can easily become a demanding
taskmaster. It is a great temptation to let our work define us, - to give us value or worth in
the eyes of ourselves and others - instead of looking to you, God. Work can also become like
an addiction, an idol, another god that we serve gladly despite the potential destruction it
may cause us, or our families, or our relationship with you. It is really difficult to sort out the
blurry lines between being hard-working, professional and diligent for economic survival
and well- being ... and/or an obsessive pursuit to get ahead, to be perfectionists, and to
always wanting more, looking for wealth, prestige and material possessions to fill the soul.
Help us all look to you in that tension of setting priorities, being responsible in creating good
margins and learning what sacrifice is.
We need you God in our work life. Remind us to invite you in daily. May we pray for
workplaces as we pass by and engage with them. AMEN.
 

February 2020
Single Adults
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While February is often perceived as a romantic month for couples in our culture because of Valentines day, we want to focus our prayers on a very special part of London's mosaic of people that may sometimes be unrecognized at this time of year yet deeply valued by God - those who are single adults.

Canadian population analysts project that in 2019, 54% of adults over 18 years of age are likely single
adults. Single means "never married, not currently married or in a common-law relationship; widowed;
divorced or separated." Singles are in all ages, stages and seasons of life - just like married adults. Think
about that statistic as you pray this month - one in two people - in your family, in your community, in
your workplace, in your friendships, are, or may become single.

The 2016 Census Canada (www.statcan.gc.ca) revealed that "for the first time in recorded Canadian
history, one-person households were the most common household type, overtaking households
comprising couples with children. In recent decades, the number of persons living alone has grown
fastest among adults aged 35 to 64." It also points out that many singles however do not live alone -
they may be raising children independently, they may be living with family members, or they may be
living with roommates.

Churches struggle to reflect this shift in society - single adults comment that they find it challenging to
find their place of belonging in faith communities and can feel like people view them as "broken"
because they are not a "couple". We want to truly honor them this month by first remembering that we
all, whether single or married, share these truths in common as people who are called by Christ's name.
Philippians 1:9-11: I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing
in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live
pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your
salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ - for this will bring much glory and
praise to God.

Matthew 29: 37-39 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul,
and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your
neighbor as yourself."
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his
will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
We pray:

 God, thank you for creating each of us as unique human beings, full of enormous potential,
gifted by You, important in your eyes, loved beyond measure. Help us God, to see each other as you do.
Jesus, you were a "single adult" - highly unusual in the culture in which you lived here on earth - you
truly understand the many lonely moments and awkward conversations. Teach us to show enormous
love to those who are single as if they were you, Jesus.

 Each single person has a one of a kind life story. They may be single by choice for a variety of
reasons. They may be single due to circumstances, some within their control, and for others, it may be
situations way beyond their control or hopes - tragedy, broken relationships, illness, or death. We pray
that you will give us ears to listen tenderly and respectfully to one another's stories - to care enough to
seek to understand. We pray for healing of any past hurts. Develop grace in us to not pass judgement or
offer unsolicited advice to each other.

 Thank you, God, for including each of us in your Kingdom work, no matter our marital status. For
some who are single, it gives distinctive opportunities to serve - full of calling, focus, and purpose.
Remind us that while singles may have more flexibility to make time to serve in churches and in families,
they have also busy personal lives, commitments, friends, and responsibilities and individual giftedness.
Some singles are gifted by your Spirit to be leaders or teachers, some have serving or evangelism, giving
or preaching gifts ...the list goes on. Please God, use the ministry of single adults to be fruitful and
impactful in your Church.

 Forgive us who are married God, for those times when we have failed to consider the words we
use, the attitudes we project, or pre-conceptions we may hold about those who are single. And also
help those who are single to forgive those who unintentionally convey negative or hurtful messages
about seeing marriage and family as better than singleness for all people - guard our hearts against
bitterness or envy.

 For those raising children on their own, we pray for such grace, strength and wisdom for them -
parenting is a great challenge in the best of times. Doing it alone can be often more difficult, draining
and discouraging. May we all support single parents around us with compassion, practical help,
friendship, and much loving encouragement.

 Help us as well to be more sensitive to the greater economic impact of singleness. The financial
costs of everything - housing, transportation, benefits, savings, education, caring for kids, even travel -
are all borne alone, often causing more hardship. Even the simple tasks of buying groceries/cooking
meals alone can be a challenge to maintain healthy eating habits and budgets.

 We pray for those who are seeking relationships. It is indeed a different dating world in today's
culture. We pray for wisdom, discernment, and protection especially in on-line connections. God, we
know you can use a variety of ways to connect people - there are many wonderful, joyful stories of
people who meet on-line...and many disappointments too. Even in that cyber-venue God, help singles to
be people of deep integrity and truth - and guard them from evil.

 Holy Spirit, may you meet singles in the midst of seasons of loneliness, sadness, and suffering. A
relationship with you is eternal. Please be their best comforter, their sweetest encourager, their
greatest cheerleader, their faithful companion, and their solid rock in good times and in hard times. We
all need more of you.

 But you created us all God to need community. We pray for churches and ministries in London
that are seeking to meet some of the specific needs of singles in different seasons and stages of life. We
thank you for their leadership and their creativity in planning…but give us greater imagination God to
figure out how we can become not only more inclusive of those who are single, but really welcoming in
practical ways with open arms and generous invitations. Help us to recognize that it is hard to go
somewhere new by oneself, or to sit alone in church, or even to know who to sit with! May we learn to
see our friendships beyond the boundaries of marital status - single adults and married adults can enrich
one another's lives and deepen our understanding and faith in so many precious ways, as vital, valued
members of the family of God in London.

January 2020
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As we begin a new year, there are fresh opportunities, new beginnings and bright hope for
what God can and will do in our lives, in our churches, and in our City of London. When we pray
for London this month, let's remember some of these words of scripture to inform our prayers:
Isaiah 41: 18-19 "But forget what lies behind - it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make
a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."
Lamentations 3:23-26 "The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great
is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The LORD is my
inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”

2 Corinthians 5:17-18 "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new
person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought
us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him."
Ephesians 4:23-24 "Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new
nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
1 Peter 3: "But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a
world filled with God’s righteousness."
Our Father in Heaven,

 We praise you, God, as we pause and reflect back on this past year. Help us to see Your
gracious hand at work in many ways and many places. We thank You that it is always an
adventure journeying with You. While we are often stuck in our own limited solutions,
reactions, and habits, you are such a creative, imaginative being beyond our wildest dreams
and understanding - beyond and beyond. When we can see no way through, you create a path.
Whether we encounter good things or difficult things, your expressed desire is to use them all
for ultimate good in our lives and for Your Kingdom's sake, even when we cannot see, feel, or
understand it.

 We confess that we are imperfect people. Remind us to be thankful that You see us as
brand new every day and that Your mercy and love is really fresh each morning - it is truly
amazing that you love us so!

When we mess up, when we forget whose we are, when we choose wrong over right, when we
focus on ourselves instead of You and /or others .... you still place such high value on us.
Let us in turn demonstrate that kind of love to our families, our co-workers, our neighbours,
and strangers that we meet. Help us this year to be people who forgive faster, who
demonstrate patience longer, and who offer grace quicker and more frequently. Change us God
please, through the power of your Spirit, to become those kind of people. We imagine how
London would be transformed if we all took on this challenge!

 God, thank you too for new lives that will come into our community of London this year
- babies yet to be born, refugees yet to arrive, newcomers, students and job-seekers yet to
come, and new believers yet to discover you! May this city become a safe haven for each
person - a "sanctuary" city where people are treated with great respect and dignity. Help us to
have open minds, hearts, and arms to welcome them and nurture them.

 We pray for new things that are springing up already in London and we ask your blessing
to be poured out on each and every one of them. There are new churches, new ministries, new
affordable housing projects, new leaders, new marriages, new partnerships, new innovations in
business and health care and governance .... and much more.

Starting out new is never easy. There is always funding to be found in order to move from
conceptual to reality; organizational structures to be figured out; people resources needed and
to be trained; mistakes to be made and learned from; much patience, energy and perseverance
required to move to any kind of sustainability. Thanks God for all these people taking great risks
for the future. May many people look to you as the ultimate Creator of all things and seek you
to inspire them in the process.

 News is not always good - some news is actually just bad news. We will lose loved ones
this year to death and new realities of these losses are so very painful. Jobs may be lost.
Illnesses may occur. Tragedies may happen - inexplicable tragedies that just leave us numb and
confused. Families may be broken and relationships deeply damaged. Depression may
overwhelm us. Evil may seem to be winning. Hatred appears to grow. It is really hard to see you
God in the midst of these difficult, sometimes random injustices and circumstances. At times,
we are angry with you because it hurts so much. Yet we know you are there too, loving us,
mourning with us. Humanity in a broken world is not pretty or easy. May we not run from these
painful issues but rather invite Jesus to enter into them with us in ways we cannot comprehend
yet.

 Finally, we thank you for hope. Hope that someday the world will be made right. That
good will finally triumph over evil. That truth will reign. Give us hope for change and not give
up. As we begin to prepare for the upcoming citywide prayer breakfast on Wednesday March
18th, we have great hopes that you will use it to unite us together as your church in London to
both challenge and inspire us to become part of your answer to these prayers.
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