A Prayer For This Day · Activism · Bible · Political · Prayer · suffering · Truth · World Affairs

Praying For The Ukrainian People

Today I read these words from the Prophet Jeremiah chapter 11:

God told me what was going on. That’s how I knew. You, God, opened my eyes to their evil scheming.
I had no idea what was going on—naive as a lamb being led to slaughter!
I didn’t know they had it in for me, didn’t know of their behind-the-scenes plots:
“Let’s get rid of the preacher. That will stop the sermons!
Let’s get rid of him for good. He won’t be remembered for long.”

Then I said, “God-of-the-Angel-Armies, you’re a fair judge.
You examine and cross-examine human actions and motives.
I want to see these people shown up and put down!  I’m an open book before you. Clear my name.”

The people of Anathoth, the home town of the prophet Jeremiah, want to silence him.
Jeremiah is unaware of this until God shows him the truth.
Then he realises their plan to get rid of him.
He appeals to God and God’s justice.

We were not unaware of Putin’s plan, but we did not want to think it would happen. Now it has.
This is my prayer, as we also appeal to God for justice.

The name Putin is derived from put – путь, the Russian word for ‘way.’
Правда is Russian for truth
ZhiznЖизнь is Russian for life

We pray to the LORD of hosts
The LORD-of-the angel-armies
Not to come against might with more might
But to raise up the people of Russia in resistance.
To reveal the bare pravda
To see false, fake rulers standing naked
Hands tied behind their backs
Their power and glory stripped.

We pray to the LORD of hosts
The LORD-of-the angel-armies
To raise up the people of the earth in solidarity
To reveal the Pravda and the true Put
To see the people of Ukraine delivered from evil
Once more able to live Zhizn openly and spontaneously
Not cautiously and warily.

Pray for the peace of Ukraine
Prosperity to all you Ukraine lovers
Friendly insiders, get along!
Hostile outsiders, keep your distance!
For the sake of my family and friends,
I say it again: live in peace!

(The last section is From The Message translation of Psalm 122 in the Jewish Scriptures)

A Prayer For This Day · Bible · faith · Prayer · Worship

Your Blessing On Our Lips

I’ve been reading a passage from Ecclesiasticus for the last few weeks. Here is today’s passage, from chapter 50. It describes the worship in the newly restored Temple in Jerusalem. As the worship came to an end ….

Then the singers praised Him with their voices in sweet and full-toned melody.

And the people of the Lord Most High offered their prayers before the Merciful One,
until the order of worship of the Lord was ended, and they completed his ritual.

Then Simon came down and raised his hands over the whole congregation of Israelites,
to pronounce the blessing of the Lord with his lips, and to glory in his name;
and they bowed down in worship a second time, to receive the blessing from the Most High.

A Benediction

And now bless the God of all, who everywhere works great wonders,
who fosters our growth from birth, and deals with us according to his mercy.
May he give us gladness of heart, and may there be peace in our days in Israel, as in the days of old.
May he entrust to us his mercy, and may he deliver us in our days!

The words that struck me today were these:
Then Simon came down and raised his hands over the whole congregation to pronounce the blessing.

It reminded me most powerfully of the times when I have done exactly that. At the end of our worship – in the places where I have served as curate and as vicar – in Hull, Beverley, and Hoddesdon … and wherever I have had the privilege of leading God’s people in worship, I have raised my hands to pronounce the Benediction, the Blessing, using words like this:
May the peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of His son Jesus Christ. And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, remain with you, this day and always. Amen.

Or it might be those moments at the communion rail, as someone bows their head to indicate that they are here to receive a blessing – maybe not yet ready to take the bread and the wine. And I place my hands lightly on their head and pray a prayer of blessing over them. Some times I will use the ancient prayer of Aaron, the High Priest of Israel –
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Sometimes, I might say word of blessing that I know will speak to their immediate situation – maybe for healing, for guidance, for a particular need.

But as I reflect on this part of my experience as a minister God’s church, I know that this privilege is not one that is set aside for a special group – for the ordained minister or those with some special power. Why should God’s blessing be contained within the confines of gathered worship ? Is a church building the only place to receive the peace, mercy and deliverance that come from God ? It might be reassuring to be in such a setting, receiving God’s blessing, but we must never restrict God’s blessing to such ‘Liturgical niceties.’ * The gift to bless another is a gift for us all to give and to receive.

We may simply say ‘God bless’ as we say goodbye to a friend, or ‘bless you,’ as we are aware of a need of another.
Sometimes we may use the words too easily, without much thought, but the faith of Israel teaches us that these words of blessing have power. So we use them prayerfully.

I have a prayer that I use most Fridays:

God of earth, sea, and sky;
God of bread, wine, and story;
God of wind, fire, and water;
God who shaped us,
God who remade us,
God who fills us.
Take our lives, body, heart and soul –
make us one with you and with each other.
Give us your word on our lips,
and your blessing in our hands,
that the world may see and know,
and give you glory.

May God bless you, and those whom you love and pray for; and may you be given words of blessing to give to someone this day.

* A phrase from Walter Brueggemann that I must acknowledge !

A Prayer For This Day · faith · Following Jesus · Prayers

Morning Prayer Through The Week

I have tried all sorts of ways of giving some structure to my prayer, and in lockdown have found something that is working for me. In the past I’ve found that most of the things I’ve tried have either too many words, or not enough to feel that I’ve done anything.
So – I’ve been collecting prayers – some from other sources, and some home grown, and have this to offer. Each day has a theme, and the same structure for each day, as follows

Opening Prayer.

The psalm of the day
(I’m currently using a book by Walter Brueggemann – Gift and Task – that has suggested psalms and Bible readings for each day – you decide how much and what exactly you put in here, but having a part of a psalm as part of it is, I think, a good discipline)

‘Kyrie’ prayer
The Kyrie prayer is is a short prayer that is important in Christian worship. It is a prayer from the heart about human need. God owes us nothing. Everything he gives comes from his mercy. (Kyrie is the Greek word for Lord)

A Collect prayer – so called because in public worship the prayer gathers together the silent prayer of the assembled company in one prayer.  It has a particular form as follows:
1 God is addressed
2 Something is said about God’s nature, or God’s work
3 A request is made
4 A reason for the request (usually in relation to what was said about God)
5 An ‘Amen’ or other ending. (what Padraig O Tuama calls ‘a bird of praise’

Scripture reading(s) for the day
See above … however much or little you need.

Prayer of thanksgiving or prayers of concern


I also use this form of words before Prayer each day

The night has passed and the day lies open before us;
let us pray with one heart and mind. 
As we rejoice in the gift of this new day,
so may the light of your presence, O God,
set our hearts on fire with love for you. Amen.

So to the 7 days and 7 themes.

Sunday – Resurrection and new life
Monday – Creation
Tuesday – Justice and Peace
Wednesday – The Holy Spirit
Thursday – Following Jesus
Friday – Forgiveness
Saturday – The Communion of Saints – believers past and present.

On Sunday at the monent, I’m using the form of morning prayer from the Northumbria community. Since I use this in its entirety, I won’t include it here, for copyright reasons, but you can find it here.
I have included it, because it’s the one thing in the past that I was able to use every day for a couple of years without getting bored with it.

A Prayer For This Day

A Prayer For This Day

Lord, your steadfast love endures forever
Lord, have mercy
Lord Jesus, you have put your joy into our hearts
Christ, have mercy
Lord, you dwell on high and holy, but you are with the crushed and low in spirit.
Lord, have mercy

From the following verses:
Psalm 136 verse 1.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.

John 15 verse 11
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

and Isaiah 57 verse 15
“I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit.

A Prayer For This Day

A Prayer For This Day

It’s another day, Lord
Another 24 hours, just like
Every other day in the sense of time
But it’s today, Lord
To any other day

With new possibilities
New Challenges

To create goodness
To mend brokenness
To share in the joys and sorrows of others

May this day be a day when I am
To you
To those around me
And to myself

To become more
To heal more
And to love more

Jonathan Evans 11.6.20