Value of the Local Church fellowship! Tuesday 1st to Sunday 6th June
‘We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard that you trust in Jesus Christ and that you love all of God’s people.’ Colossians 1:3,4 (NLT)…….Epaphras ….is the one who told us about the great love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.’ (Col. 1:7,8)
In verse 7 we are told it was Epaphras who took the Good News of the Gospel to Colosse. Paul heard of the Christians at Colosse because Epaphras was now in prison with him in Rome. They both rejoiced that a local fellowship had been planted in Colosse and the local fellowship there shared a strong faith in the Good News – and a love for each other. This local fellowship of sharing faith and love for each other is ‘the stuff’ of a local parish church!
Pray for Cambusbarron Parish Church – its people and its church fellowship: Today, more than ever, the role of the local church is vital – but our local churches are under threat! Fewer people are attending many C of S churches and many churches are no longer able to support a minister. Paul had a great knowledge of all the churches in Asia Minor and prayed for them all the time. Our local churches are in need of prayer today as the Church of Scotland continues a programme of major changes that will have significant impact on the role of ministers and the number of churches that remain open. We need to pray for the new CEO and leaders of the Church of Scotland; the programmes for change; the concerns for the role of ministers and the ability of the Church to serve its parishes and their communities.
Pray for the role of our church in the ‘bounce-back’ from COVID
restrictions! Give thanks for the ways in
which many churches have embraced new ways of bringing the Gospel to their
communities through innovative use of technology and give thanks for the
rallying of church members to serve the needs of the lonely and isolated by
bringing meals and fellowship to them. Ministers are rightly concerned as to
whether everyone who came to church will return to church services in the near
future – but they can also see the opportunities of developing innovative
online ministries. Pray that in the near future we many develop a vision of how
to ‘be church’ and ‘do church’ that will ensure the teaching of the Good News
and the prospering of fellowship in our communities and churches. Pray we may
develop and display the same love for each other that Paul rejoiced in with the
Colossians. Pray that the love of our Lord may overflow in a love for every
person in and around our fellowship at Cambusbarron Parish Church.
Vision, direction and spiritual wisdom! Monday 7th to Sunday 13th June
‘So we have continued praying for you ever since we heard about you. We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your lives, and we ask him to make you wise with spiritual understanding. Col. 1:9 (NLT)
Paul’s prayer from his ‘lockdown’ (imprisonment) is for the people of Colosse to have a vision of what God wants their church to do and to have the spiritual wisdom needed for success in establishing their faith and their church.
Pray for Graham and his fellow ministers: this is a time of great uncertainty for ministers as they grapple with how to re-configure the churches within larger presbyteries and how to work together to serve all the local communities. It is also a time to re-imagine how they minister to the local fellowships and to the local parishes. Pray for them to have vision, to work together in directions that promote the Good News and nurture faith in the communities.
Pray also for Josh and the other C of S probationers: There is a large group of future ministers who are just finishing their probation and, because of the uncertainty about the shape of Presbyteries and the timing and process by which ministers will be called, they have no certainty about their futures and how they will be called by churches. There is a danger that some will go elsewhere and be lost to C of S at a time when they are needed, or will be so unsupported that they will have to seek other employment. Pray for Josh and his colleagues – and pray for vision and action within the C of S.
Pray for our local fellowship! The next few months will be a time of 'healing' for many as we attempt to readjust and emerge from lockdown...spiritual, physical and mental healing. Some of us have witnessed the effect that this pandemic has had on the wellbeing of some of our Church family and friends. It is important to continue to uphold each other in prayer and to maintain contact through phone calls, letters or visits. Knowing that someone cares makes the world of difference to those who have been lonely and isolated.
Praying people back to church! There is also a need to encourage people back to worship in the Church building. Sadly, throughout our land, some people no longer feel the need to 'do Church'. Angela reports, “Last Sunday proved that despite the necessary safety measures, there was a real sense of God's presence in our midst as we commenced the service with the hymn 'Be still'. His Spirit was indeed moving in our service and although few in number, it was a privilege to be in God's House with friends who had come to worship. Give thanks to God for Graham’s current teaching from the book of James about faith in action and other challenging messages to us on our Christian path.”
Sharing our joy – and our wealth! Monday 14th to Sunday 20th June
‘May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to God’s holy people, who live in the light.’ Colossians 1:11,12 (NLT)
Our inheritance is as set
out earlier in Col. 1:5 ‘…looking forward to the joys of heaven…’. What
an inheritance – and what joy!
Fellowship with purpose! It was a real joy to see everyone coming together for the Christian Aid Walk and the positive outcome, not just in the fantastic sum of money raised – £1700, but in the sense of togetherness and witness as we walked through the village and beyond with the support and encouragement of the community and passing motorists!
Give thanks for the growing use of our Church garden: Pray for better weather and for more opportunities to meet in fellowship in the garden and to engage with our village people through garden events.
Pray for our families! One thing that fills us with joy is seeing our families grow! Give thanks for the leaders of our families and children’s work – especially the Zoom sessions they have been enjoying over the lockdown. Why not share in their joy by making contact with them over this month and hear what they have been up to – and rejoice with them and pray for them.
Looking beyond our circumstances: Paul was in prison (lockdown) when he wrote, ‘may you be filled with joy…’ So many people are suffering from ‘long COVID’ or just loneliness caused by lockdown and isolation. Let us pray for many to turn God and His promises to find hope – and even joy! Pray for those depressed as a result of the circumstances of the last year. Think about those you know who are suffering and pray constantly for them.
Volunteers needed! Give thanks for all those who are carrying on so many activities within our church fellowship. However, the Session Clerk is appealing for more people to assist with door duties related to the necessary precautions. A small group have been shouldering the burden of this – pray for more to join them.
Pray for those grieving: Paul encourages people who are suffering by pointing them to their inheritance in heaven. Pray for those you know who are suffering the loss of a loved one at this time. So many, with fewer distractions, have had so much more time to think of their loss. Pray that their faith will stir up hope within them as they look to the prospect of their heavenly inheritance and eternal future with the Lord and His people.
Continue to pray for the NHS and other essential services. Many will be suffering from the experiences they have had. Pray for those you know and pray for their return to full health and renewal of spirit.
WORLD NEWS! Monday 22nd to Wednesday 31st June
‘This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is changing lives everywhere, just as it changed you that very first day you heard and understood the truth about God’s great kindness to sinners.’ Col. 1:6 (NLT)
In the first 3 weeks of June we have focused our thoughts and prayers on
our national and local churches and our own fellowship – because there are so
many things to pray about locally. However, Paul’s concern and mission was to
take the Good News to the whole world. We have inherited this mission! Let us
pray earnestly for our world and God’s work within it.
The global fight against COVID: Pray that the nations may work together and work selflessly for the vaccination of all people, everywhere. Pray for people who are working to vaccinate communities in places difficult to reach and in places where the lives of the helpers are in danger. Give thanks to God for the generosity of some of the wealthiest people who are donating significant sums to distribute vaccinations in poorer third world countries.
Israel and Palestine: Give thanks for the fragile ceasefire and pray for the world leaders seeking to de-escalate the troubles. Pray that there may be serious attempt at agreeing a solution. Pray that God will hear the prayers of the ordinary citizens and children of Gaza and Jerusalem.
As you hear and read the News: to be meaningful, prayer has to arise from our concerns and each of us needs to turn to God in prayer as we hear of areas at war; areas where dictators destroy personal freedoms; areas where children are living in poverty and misery with neither home nor schooling and in areas of conflict such as the Yemen where they live with the never-ending threat of bombing, destruction and death. We can at least pray and pray again and again for them. Above all, pray for churches and missionaries in these troubled areas.
Pray for the attempts of the leaders of our world to get round the table and find ways of working with each other – pray for Biden’s intended summit with Putin.
Pray for our planet Earth: Give thanks for the work of scientists in alerting us to the dangers of global warming. Pray that governments around the world, and the leaders of industry and business, may heed these warnings and be willing to take immediate action. Pray for a willingness to find alternative solutions to using ‘single use plastic’ and pray for the adoption of alternative forms of energy to fossil fuels. Pray for people who are already feeling the impact of global warming. Pray for the arrangements for COP26 – and pray for its success and subsequent action around the world. Gives thanks for God’s wonderful creation with its bounteous capacity for renewal, regeneration and beauty – and for the Good News of our eternal inheritance! Amen! Amen!