..to ‘the rock that is higher than I’! Friday 1st to Saturday 9th July
‘Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle forever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings.’ Psalm 61:1-4 KJV
Sometimes an image can say so much more than words! The Psalmist David, when in trouble from enemies, would often flee to the highest rock for shelter. When the ordinary events of life were overwhelming him, he sought out the Lord and prayed to ‘the one who is higher than him’! Given all the problems in our world today and given the times in everyone’s lives when unexpected problems of struggling to make ends meet financially, or illness and/or old age can so easily cause us distress – you can turn to ‘the rock that is higher than you!’ and pray – knowing He loves you and will hear and answer your prayers! Let us pray!!
Rejoice first in God’s grace to our world. Give thanks for the amazing beauty of our planet, the rich natural resources provided in creation and the resourcefulness of nature in providing harvests year upon year. Give thanks for where we live and all the benefits we enjoy living in peace and security.
Are you feeling the stresses of life? Join in prayer with many others thanking God for all His blessings in their lives, but also seeking God’s presence, strength, support, solace and comfort from Him, for this day and every day!
Give thanks for all the Christian fellowship within our own church. Give thanks for the blessings many have enjoyed by visits from the Pastoral Group and the Wellbeing Group throughout COVID and during illness and bereavement. Pray for those living with the on-going pains of bereavement some recent and some more distant – pray they may know our God’s supporting presence and pray they may enjoy the fellowship of others around them. Give thanks for all the work of Angela and Norman and pray they may enjoy times of holiday and spiritual refreshment.
Give thanks for Graham’s ministry and teaching – and for his unwavering commitment to explain and share the Scriptures with us! Pray Graham may be encouraged in his ministry and be renewed in spirit. Give thanks for his family and their involvement in our church and its fellowship. Ask for God’s blessing on them during their holidays
‘the rock that is higher than them’! Sunday 10th to Saturday 16th June
‘Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me(them) to the rock that is higher than I(them). For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle forever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings.’ Psalm 61:1-4 KJV
World leaders continue to meet - to deal with the various world crises facing them and us. The Psalmist’s prayer is as relevant to them collectively and individually – as it is to us. Faced with devastating global problems they need to turn ‘to the rock that is higher than them’ – lets pray for them and with them and pray to our God whom the psalmist found to be a refuge and strength in times of trouble. Pray for the power and love of God to strengthen those who can overcome this darkness in our world. Pray for the crisis in Europe – and for Ukraine in particular. Ask God to hear the cries of a nation in great pain and suffering. Pray along with Ukrainian parents for their children, and pray for children scared and confused and displaced from their homes and families. Pray European leaders that they may find ways that lead to peace!
Pray for all those affected by the earthquake in Afghanistan which is especially prone to earthquakes. The country was already in a poor state, with 3.5 million people displaced, rising levels of poverty and hunger and with the devastating impact the Taliban is having on the lives of women and the denial of education for girls. Pray for so many in our country who are struggling with the increased cost of living, who don’t feel safe in their homes or their jobs, who are afraid of what the future may bring. Let us remember them in our prayers, as we count our own blessings and give our thanks to God for all he has done for us. Pray also for more to be done on climate change. Pray that countries will meet their promises from COP 26, despite the energy crisis that has been caused by the war in Ukraine.
Pray for our leaders at home to understand and respond to families who are making desperate choices between buying food or heat. Pray we may move away from the "me, me, me " culture to a vision of equality and fairness for all – for we are one in God! Pray for all the services offered by our NHS. Behind waiting lists and queues are dedicated staff working hard to provide the best of medical care. Pray for highly trained doctors and nurses stressed because they are not to be able to reach all of those in need. Pray for their health as well! It can be overwhelming to remember all the conflicts and the natural disasters that continue to happen. Let us take time to offer our praise and thanks for all our simple pleasures: the joy of a summer’s day, the pleasure of the company of friends, good food, laughter, and happiness.
‘Fan into flames’! Sunday 17th to Saturday 23rd July
‘This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self –discipline. So you must never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord.’ 2 Timothy 1:6-8a (NLT)
This is the first week of the Keswick Convention. Over 6000 will gather in the ‘Big Tent’ at Keswick and people from across the world will join in online! Everyone is welcome to come to Church this week to watch the livestream. The Evening Celebrations are from 7.30-9pm beginning on Saturday 16th July. The theme is ‘Reasons to be Grateful’ from Matthew 8 and 9. The Morning Bible Readings are from 11.15am-12.30pm each day, Monday to Friday, when Alistair Begg will speak from 2 Timothy. Please come, invite your friends and pray for the impact of the Keswick Convention, here and everywhere!
For more information visit: vkc.keswickministries.org/week/week-one.
In 2 Timothy 1 `Paul exhorts young Timothy to ‘fan into flames’ the spiritual gifts God has given him. We have many vacant roles in our church and as well as investing in any improvements to our church building, we need many of our people to ‘fan into flames’ the gifts God has given them and the skills they have gained in their working lives. Pray that all the ‘people resource’ of our church will be ‘fired-up’ this week to volunteer to serve their Lord, speak out the good news of salvation and volunteer for the jobs that need doing in the Church. Pray and ask God to show you what you can do – and we can all do something! Pray for the willingness to volunteer!
Pray for the Church of Scotland and our Presbytery. As the presbytery works on ‘the presbytery plan’ over the summer, pray they may be guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit and that congregations may rise to the challenge of fewer people and resources, and understand the need for renewal and commitment by the people with faith. Pray our churches and their people may realise their call like Paul – ‘This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, sent out to tell others about the life he has promised through faith in Christ Jesus.’ 2 Timothy 1:1 (NLT)
Join with one of our own young people who asks us to join in praying for the pupil-run Stirling High School Scripture Union Group who are hoping to encourage more young people, Christian and non-Christian to come along and explore the Bible. The Group are seeking guidance on the best way to go about doing this, and they ask us to join them in praying that people will ‘show up – and stay’! We are encouraged to pray for the young people trying to lead! Give God thanks for the small group who are boldly sharing their faith in the midst of great unbelief! Their flames are fanned – what about ours!
‘God’s grace, mercy and peace’! Sunday 24th to Sunday 31st July
‘It is written to Timothy, my dear son. May God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord give you grace, mercy and peace.’ 2 Timothy 1:2 (NLT)
The summer holidays are times for refreshment and renewal and while rest and fun and relaxation will enrich and revive our lives – Paul prays Timothy may have: Grace (undeserved favour) - Paul asks God to give Timothy so much more than he deserves; Mercy (forgiveness) – so that he will be freed from his weaknesses and shortcomings and his spirit will be renewed; Peace (free from worry and stress) because he will be trusting the Lord will take care of him, no matter what! Pray that in our holidays, our breaks, our times of prayer and contemplation, our retirement from work, our latter years - we also may know His grace, mercy and peace! Let us pray.
One of our own young people asks us to pray for the many school children who, over the summer school holidays, will suffer due to lack of food or abusive parents, or loneliness or no safe home to go to. Let us pray our God of grace, mercy and peace will hear the cries of children across our own land and also hear the cries of many children across the world - orphaned by war, famine, disease. Pray for the charities and missions we know who are working with ‘street children’ in South America, India, Africa – Lord hear their prayers!
Pray for the changes in American law regarding the rights of women to have abortions and ‘the right to life’ pro-life campaigns. Pray for all those who are distressed, whatever their views or circumstances. Pray for lawmakers and communities as they grapple with the issues. Pray God will be with all who seek His grace, mercy and peace regarding this issue – and if you, yourself are troubled, pray God will give you His understanding and peace. Pray that those who are angry one way or the other will show grace and mercy to those for whom this dilemma and possible change in law is distressing.
As children await exam results we are conscious they have often not had full teaching time because of COVID and they are anxious about results. Pray for those we know for whom the results will determine their future. May they feel they will be marked fairly and given the opportunities they need.
Pray for the second and third weeks of the Keswick Convention. Pray many young people and families will be spiritually blessed and uplifted as they combine holiday activities with spiritual nurture. Ask God to hear the prayers of parents who are praying their children may trust in Christ as their Saviour and grow in their faith during these holidays.
….and may grace, mercy and peace be with us all. Amen!