St Andrew

The Ministry of Prayer

 

Praying for someone is one of the most powerful and caring things that one person can do for another. Why? Because when we pray we are using our free will to invite God into a situation.

God is always at work in the background but because our free will is such a key issue for him, he very rarely forces his way into things. Prayer is an invitation to God to come and work in a more direct way. That’s why when we pray things happen that otherwise would not happen.

 

 

 

 

You might be thinking ... I’m not very good at praying!

If you can talk to your best friend then you have everything you need to pray!

St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, says that we should talk to Jesus as we would to a friend. Sometimes it helps to picture Jesus sitting in the chair opposite you or imagine him beside you as you walk and then talk slowly and openly - share concerns, ask questions, argue – talk naturally. Be authentic with Jesus ... and remember to allow him to be authentic in return!

 

Sometimes I don’t feel like praying

That’s perfectly normal - join the club!

If you’re normal you'll find that some days are easier than others. On Monday it may be an absolute pleasure to be in the warm presence of Jesus who loves and delights in you. By Thursday you may feel that prayer is simply another drain on your energy and that you’d rather avoid God and do something less costly.

There are lots of reasons why we can feel disinclined to pray ...

  • Sometimes the opposition may be trying to prevent you from praying.
  • Sometimes we don’t want to pray because we are subconsciously hiding from God because we’re doing or have done something we know he doesn’t approve of.
  • But most normally we often feel disinclined to pray because we’re physically or emotionally tired.

 

Our energy and our emotions fluctuate, but God still looks with joy and admiration when you make the effort – and on the grim days when you make the effort he knows it and you’ll probably find your prayers are much more powerful.

 

Sometimes it’s a struggle to pray

Getting to the point when you start praying and then concentrating whilst praying may sometimes be a battle. In those times put on the armour of God, be tough and persevere. If you loose concentration don't let it worry you. It may actually be God prompting you to pray about whatever it is that's come into your mind or it may be that you just have to accept that you have the attention span of a Goldfish. When you are tempted to give up remember that your fellow Christians are praying for you.

 In the same way, on your good days return the favour and pray for those who are struggling with temptations and hurts.

 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. (Colossians 4:12)

 

What happens if God doesn’t answer my prayers?

Prayer is not a magic wand that gets us what we want. It’s not a question of finding the right words or generating enough persuasive power through our feelings. We can debate and even argue with God but we still have to accept that he sees things from a higher perspective than us. That sometimes means that the timing or the outcome he has in mind may be different from the one we would prefer.

But, because we can’t second-guess what the outcome will be, St. Paul tell us to carry on persevering and opening the door to God. Even though God might not do things the way we were hoping for he will always respond to our invitation and be at work.

 Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.  (Philippians 1:19)

 

Carrying people to God in prayer

Our prayers for other people will vary depending on their need. Sometimes our prayers are the natural outpouring of joy and love. For example, if we have family and friends it’s natural for us to express our love by asking God to bless and guide them.

 At other times our prayers are an expression of our concern or anguish; perhaps someone we know is hurting and, knowing that we are helpless to change things. When that happens we do what the four men did with the paralysed man (Mk 2:3ff), we carry that person to Jesus in our prayers.

Prayer makes a difference – God always responds even if it isn’t in the way we expect, that why Paul exhorts us to ...

 Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:18) 

By inviting God into a situation things happen that wouldn’t otherwise occur. So prayer is one of the most loving and powerful thing you can do for someone.

 

Prayerfulness is also about living it ...

Please try and live in a way that doesn’t spoil your friendship with Jesus, but don’t start worrying about our worthiness to approach God in prayer. If you slip, always remember that Jesus looks forward not backward. He has come to bring growth not guilt. So don’t be anxious. Rejoice in his patience and love and stand firm in your resolve to pray for others and then to carry them to God.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

 

Finally remember three things ...

  • Firstly, God is looking forward to you talking to him.
  • Secondly, when you pray there is always another Christian brother or sister somewhere in the world praying at the same time.
  • Lastly, when you pray you are helping to keep the church spiritually healthy. Prayer is one of the key features of a healthy Christian and of a healthy church.

 

Let your love of God express itself through prayer.

They devoted themselves to the Apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the Breaking of bread and to Prayer. (Acts 2:42)

 

Some prayers to help you

 

Lord, thank you 

for your presence in this place.

Thank you that as I reach out to you,

you are reaching out to me.

Hear me as I open my heart to you.

Be with me and all for whom I pray

though Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

  

Lord, I’m sorry…

For the times I have been hasty

or unkind ( especially to….)

For the times I have been thoughtless

or acted selfishly,

For the times I have failed to forgive

or say sorry,

and for the times I have taken your presence

and your love for granted.

 Thank you for your promise

that you will always forgive those who turn back in penitence.

Forgive me, wash me clean

and help me to start again,

through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

Lord, I do not presume

to tell you what to do or how to do it.

I simply bring before you N who is sick

and who needs your help.

Let us see your grace at work

Let the radiance of your face

banish darkness,

and the warmth of your love

give peace.

Grant us an awareness of your presence

and uphold us with your strength:

through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

Heavenly Father,

you have given us all the ministry of prayer,

I bring before you the needs and troubles of your earthly children,

the helpless ness of the weak,

the sorrow of the bereaved,

the failing power if the aged,

the cries of the oppressed

and the toil of those who labour.

Accept my prayers

for those who cannot pray for themselves

and for those who have no one who loves them enough

to pray for them.

In your mercy let them know that they are not forgotten.

Reach into their lives,

give them your grace

and make me willing to serve those I meet this day,

through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

Lord Jesus,

help me to walk with you today.

Help me to follow where you are leading

and not expect you to follow me.

Be my teacher

and grant that I may sit at your feet

and listen to your wisdom.

Guide me through this day.

Teach me to see things through your eyes

so that I might understand their true value.

But above all, teach me your ways

and set my heart on fire with love for you.

For you are the Lord I long to serve

both now and for ever. Amen.

 

Sundays

Father, renew this church.

Fill us with the joy of your Spirit,

Strengthen us through the sacraments,

And guide us as we try to live for you.

For we long to honour you

and bring you joy

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Mondays

Lord Jesus,

You are light, shine in our darkness

You are love, fill our emptiness

You are peace, calm our souls

and help us to know

that you are with us

both now and for ever. Amen.

 

Tuesdays

Father of all,

be with the lost and the lonely

be with the addicts, the alcoholics

and all who are being hurt by others.

Bring light to their darkness

and hope to their lives.

Sustain them with your love

and grant us all a new beginning,

Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

Wednesdays

God of compassion

Your son, Jesus, taught us

to love ourselves

and others with the same love,

Help us

to see other people through your eyes, to love them with your love and

to understand the way they look at life.

Make us sensitive and kind

that we may be channels of your peace

and share your healing love

through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

Thursdays

We pray for the world

and all its people.

Give leaders the wisdom and the will

to share the world’s resources

and to work for justice and peace;

that all may live with dignity

and grow in stature and grace.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Fridays

Jesus, in your love for us

You died on the cross to save us and set us free.

Help us to celebrate your love

and serve you with joy,

both now and for ever. Amen.

 

Saturdays

Father,

thank you for things that are beautiful,

for things that remind us of your glory and your grace.

for the things that make us grow

and think.

Open our hearts to those mysteries that our eyes cannot see;

that putting you first in our lives

we may live the way of heaven

and glimpse the glory that is to be,

through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

Two other prayers we often use

 

Hail Mary, full of grace,

the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou among women

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us sinners, now and at

the hour of our death. Amen.

 

The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the love of God

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

be with us all evermore. Amen.