Prayers for Comfort and Strength

Weekly Message 

17th January 

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During this time of uncertainty and the growing need for social distance we hope that you will find comfort and strength in these resources. 

The circuit staff will provide resources for Sunday worship week by week, so that we can all worship together even if we are not in church.

This image by Dave Walker shared on the Church Times is a wonderful representation of the Church right now click here to view.

We would also ask you to please be aware of the work being undertaken by the organisations below: 

Action for Children’s Emergency Coronavirus appeal: www.actionforchildren.org.uk/

The Manchester South Central Foodbank: www.manchestersouthcentral.foodbank.org.uk/

All We Can is an international development and emergency relief organisation who focus on those in greatest need, it is inspired by Christian principles, and is an integral part of the Methodist family. Please visit their website to find out more about the work that they are undertaking www.allwecan.org.uk/

Daily Prayer & Hymn Suggestion 

Monday 18th January 

Hymn: May the peoples praise you 

Prayer: 

There are times, Lord, when we really don’t feel like praising and being glad – rather we focus on all the negative stuff.  It’s not that we blame you for it – it’s just that we feel so helpless in the face of all that’s going on in the world, the inhumanity, the exploitation, the injustice, and it seems like an endless recital of bad news.  But what if we tried to be ‘good news’ ourselves, Lord?  What if we focussed on the positive things instead – the sacrifices so many are making, the generosity of volunteers, the help given to neighbours, to say nothing of all that we constantly receive from you – your love and grace and forgiveness, and the new life and hope we have in Jesus – and that’s just the beginning!  So let’s share that, Lord, and then surely we will find ourselves full of praise and joy! 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Sunday 17th January 

Hymn: One human family  (StF 687)

Prayer: 

We’ve heard the phrase so often, Lord – ‘we’re all in this together’ – and it’s true.  We all have things in our lives that we find hard; all of us can’t help but be touched by suffering and loss.  Oh, it will be different for every one of us, but it’s when we feel another’s pain, when we hurt when they hurt, and when we rejoice at their good news, that’s when we become most like you, Jesus.  So help us to work together, to support one another, and to value those things that make us unique individuals, so that we may offer our strengths and receive in our weakness.  For in this and in you, Lord, we share a common hope and discover life in all its fullness. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Saturday 16th January 

Hymn: Life is hard (God is good)  

Prayer:

We’ve reached the end of another week in lockdown, Lord, and in many ways we’re no further forward.  Yes, the vaccine is there being given out, the one glimmer of light to brighten the future, but it feels like there’s still a long dark tunnel to journey through.  So we need to keep reminding ourselves, Lord, of all the positives – that you are here with us in all that we’re going through, that you love us and will always bring some good out of every situation.  And that you are the God of hope and new life, and when we put our trust in you, we are inviting your power and your presence into every circumstance we face, and that makes everything possible. 

Amen 

Liz Stuart

 

Friday 15th January 

Hymn: Love of God, revealed in wonder  (SofF 1958) 

Prayer:

Lord God, you show your love and faithfulness in so many amazing ways.  We see it in the rhythm and constancy of the natural world, the changing of the seasons, the colour and variety of all you have made. We see your love in all its depth and beauty, wonderfully displayed in the life and death and glorious Resurrection of Jesus Christ, in all he said and did, in his grace and compassion.  But even more amazing is the way we experience your love through your Holy Spirit in our own lives, bringing us strength and comfort, guidance and reassurance as you speak into our hearts words of hope and peace.  Thank you, Lord, and please help us to show your love and share and with others. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Thursday 14th January 

Hymn: You are my anchor   (SofF 1646)

Prayer:

Lord God, we are so often troubled and disturbed by all that is taking place in the world, and so easily taken ‘off course’ by the things that are going on in our own lives.  And when that happens, when we find ourselves feeling adrift, needing something, or more especially, someone to keep us steady, you, Lord, are that anchor.  In your love you provide the security and the safety we need, and however far we stray away from you, whatever ‘storms’ rock our faith, you never let us go.  Thank you, Lord, for holding onto us in those times when we have lost our hold on you, and, through your faithfulness, giving us the hope and peace we long for. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Wednesday 13th January 

Hymn:   Only a shadow    

Prayer:

You are such an amazing God!  How is it that with the whole of creation on your hands you still have time for us, that we are forever in your thoughts, that you never forget us?  And yet, Lord, because of your great love for us, and because you have shown us this by sending Jesus to live among us, we know this is true.   For though our response of faith and love for you is so often weak and faltering, you remain constant and unchanging, and we thank you for the hope and reassurance this gives us.  Draw us ever closer to you, Lord, and help us to grow daily in our trust in you. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Tuesday 12th January 

Hymn: Your presence is a promise  

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, we’ve been through some dark times, and it’s likely things are not going to get a lot better that soon.  But it’s on days when we’re feeling low,’ locked in’ not only physically in our homes, but mentally and emotionally too, that we remember your promise to be with us always, and that not only means ‘for ever’, but in all ways – in whatever is going on in our lives.  This has proved true so often in the past, Lord, and because you are faithful and because you love us so much we know that we can totally put our hope and trust in you, both for today and for all the future holds. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Monday 11th January 

Hymn: Loved before the dawn of time (Salvation song)   SofF 2434

Prayer:

It’s so far beyond our understanding, even our imagination, Lord God, that you love us so much and so completely!  And yet, broken as we are by failure, by suffering and by wrong choices, you never turn your back on us, never leave us to struggle alone.  Rather, Lord, through Jesus, you forgive us, and in an amazing way transform our weaknesses into new opportunities to grow in our faith and in our relationship with you, as we learn to rely on your strength and the guidance of your Holy and life-giving Spirit.  Thank you, Lord, for your wonderful grace and goodness! 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Sunday 10th January 

Hymn:  The River (SofF 2085)

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, when you went to be baptized by John, you identified yourself with all of us in the weakness of our humanity.  And yet, Lord, in your life, and supremely in your death and Resurrection, you showed us not only how to live a sin-free life, not only how to overcome temptation, but through your Holy Spirit, have given us the power to live differently. In your great love forgive us, Lord, for the times we fail, and help us to take up the opportunity a new year offers to develop those practices of prayer, of Bible reading and worship that will deepen our relationship with you, so  that we may truly live to your praise and glory. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Saturday 9th January 

Hymn:  The Father’s house   

            

Prayer:

Thank you, Lord God, that we can come to you with all that’s troubling us, with all those things that weigh us down, all that causes us anxiety and fear.  And it is as we lay these burdens before you, Lord, that we find it all lifted from our shoulders, like putting down a heavy rucksack, and here that we discover healing and freedom, a liberty of spirit, of release and a sense of peace.  Thank you for always being there for us, for surrounding us with your love, and for giving us the courage, the strength and the hope we need to face these difficult and distressing times. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Friday 8th January

Hymn:  Great is thy faithfulness  (StF 51/H&P 66)

Prayer:

Well here we are again, Lord, in lockdown, and many facing isolation, dealing with frustration, and all of us having concerns for the future.  We wonder how long it’s going to go on for – how much more we can take?  And then we remember that you have been with us through every season of our lives, in good and bad times, and you have never failed us yet, and will not do so now.  For you are our faithful and loving God, and your promises are for all always – ‘strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.’  This is what we cling to, Lord, and this is where we can grow resilience and find peace. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Thursday 7th January 

Hymn: From the squalor of a borrowed stable  (SofF 1239)

It was such a humble beginning, Lord.  Considering what you had come from, the contrast could hardly have been greater!  But in a way it set the pattern for the rest of your life on earth, for right from the very beginning you made yourself vulnerable, first as a baby in the hands of young and inexperienced parents, then in a ministry where you gave of yourself to the least and lowest, right to your death on the Cross at the hands of those who chose an easy way out rather than relinquish their power.  Help us to remember this, Lord, when we seek to assert ourselves, to hanker over power or status, or to seek the comfort of compromise – to remember that walking your way is the way of sacrifice, but is also the road to new life and hope and inner peace.  Lord, this year, help us to be different! 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Wednesday 6th January 

Hymn: As with gladness men of old   (StF 224/H&P 121)

Prayer:

It’s been a very different Christmas, Lord!  Many of us have been separated from our families, from the familiar  round of Carol Services and Nativity productions, even from the bustle of Christmas shopping, and the New Year,  far from the usual celebrations, has brought with it even more restrictions to our freedom!  So much has been missing, except the vital part of it all, and that is you, Lord, for with you we see a bigger picture.  The Wise men saw it when they brought you their gifts – they knew that the child before them had a significance beyond their understanding. And as we put this Christmas season, together with the decorations, ‘back in the box’ for another year, may we remember that this was, and is, just the beginning of the story for you, Jesus, and for us – a story planned from the beginning of time, and a story that involves us all! 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Tuesday 5th January 

Hymn: O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness  (StF 34/H&P 505)

Prayer:

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you accept us as we are, that you take our past with all its imperfections and failures and weave it into your great plan for our lives, for in your economy, and in your great love, nothing is wasted.  So we come, like those wise men came long ago, to offer our gifts such as they are – the gift of our praise and worship, the gift of ourselves and of our hearts and lives. Only you, Lord, know how you will use these gifts in the coming year, but we pray that what we offer in sincerity and love you will use to bring your hope and joy into the world. 

Amen  

Liz Stuart 

 

Monday 4th January

Hymn:  Welcome to our world   

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, when you came as a baby into your world, our world, did you really understand all you were taking on?  Did you know what walking our soil, living a human life would entail – what it would lead to?  And yet, Lord, had you not come, had you not breathed our air, experienced our emotions, faced our temptations, died our death we would have no hope.  We would not have realised the deep love, have seen the yearning and compassion that dwells at the heart of God, have received the power of the Holy Spirit and the promise of eternal life, all of it to enable us to live life in all its fullness.  So thank you, Lord Jesus, for taking the risk, and giving us the glorious gift of yourself!  Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Sunday 3rd January

Hymn:   Brightest and best of the sons of the morning   (StF 227/ H&P 123)

Prayer:

Sometimes, Lord, often without meaning to, we find ourselves imagining we need to earn our way into your favour, and this can lead us into measuring the gifts and abilities we have against those that others can offer, and feeling that ours are not worthy, not sufficient, not good enough.  But all of this is so untrue, Lord, for all you desire of us is our worship, the gift of ourselves and the love of our hearts.  For it’s when we offer these to you, Lord, that you can truly work in us and through us by your Holy Spirit, not only transforming us from the inside out, but also enabling others to discover the new life and hope that comes only through Jesus Christ.  Thank you, Lord!  Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Saturday 2nd January

Hymn:  The First Noel    (H&P 119/SofF 529/MP 644)

Prayer:

When we begin something new, Lord, there are often choices to be made, some fairly simple but others more demanding – those choices that will take commitment, that may involve sacrifice and sometimes struggle.  The choice the wise men took to follow the star could not have been taken lightly, travelling many miles over unknown and challenging terrain, but they discovered it was worth it all when they found the infant Jesus.  What star will we follow in this New Year, Lord?  Will it be the stars that promise us success or power or worldly gain, or popularity, stars that keep us within our comfort zone?  Or will it be the star that leads us closer to the Christ-child, to Jesus, in whom alone we discover the true riches of peace, of love, of hope and of joy.  May it be so!  Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Friday 1st January

Hymn:  Standing at the portal   (MHB 955)

Prayer:

Lord God, as we step into this New Year we do so with relief, with apprehension and with hope.  With relief because last year has brought so much misery to so many people; with apprehension because we know that there will still be many difficulties to journey through.  But with hope, not only for the good news of vaccines, but because we know that as you have been with us in the past, holding us and sustaining us, so you will bring us through whatever lies ahead.  For you have never failed us, Lord, your love has never let us go, and when we put our trust in you and in your promises we can say with confidence that in every circumstance you, our Lord God,  will be ‘all-sufficient for the coming year.’  Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Thursday 31st December

Hymn:  Name of all majesty  (SofF 939/MP 481)

Prayer:

Who could have imagined this time last year what lay ahead of us, the havoc and the heartbreak caused by Coronavirus, and in years to come, this one will surely be one that stands out in our memory.  But hopefully not for all the negative reasons, Lord, for you have been with us in all we have faced, weaving your love into the generosity and sacrifice of the many who have given of themselves, your wisdom into the skill of doctors and scientists, and your grace and goodness into the thoughtfulness of friend and neighbour.  And because of all you are, Lord God, because of all you have done for us in Jesus, and are doing through your Holy Spirit, we have hope.  Hope in your sovereignty, in your continuing faithfulness, and in the security of your promises, hope for the coming year.  Thank you, Lord! 

Amen

Liz Stuart

 

Wednesday 30th December

Hymn:  Come be born again   

We know it’s never enough, Lord Jesus, and yet it so often happens – that we listen to the Christmas story year by year and just let it wash over us.  You see, Lord, it’s so easy to let things get in the way, to be caught up in the commercialism of it all. There’s so much to do, so many preparations to make, so busy getting gifts for others that we forget about our gift to you, the gift of ourselves.  And yet you ask so little of us – simply that we come as we are and open our hearts and lives to your loving presence.  Forgive us, Lord, and please come – come and be born in us again this Christmas-tide. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Tuesday 29th December

Hymn:  Joy has dawned upon the world  (SofF 1931)

Prayer:

Thank you, Lord God, that deep at the heart of Christmas is the message of joy and hope, of promises fulfilled and a future full of expectation.  But it is even more than this, Lord, for it is all rooted in your love and faithfulness, and because of this, in spite of the sorrow or hardship this past year has brought, we know that you are always with us to give us the strength and guidance we need – and that in you we can safely and securely put out trust. 

Amen

Liz Stuart

 

Monday 28th December 

Hymn: When love was born 

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, sometimes we get so focussed on the stories surrounding your birth, the angels, the stable, the shepherds, the wise men and so on, that we miss out on the wonder of what it all really meant and, amazingly, still means.  For on that night in Bethlehem, it was actually love that was born, love in the form of a baby, love given the Name, Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, love with us in a physical, human being.  And a love so great, so all-embracing, so self-giving that it would not only overcome the power of sin and death, but would go on to change the world, to transform lives, to transform us. As we get back into the routine of our daily lives let us not lose sight of this mystery, Lord, but rather let love continue be born through our words and actions. 

Amen

Liz Stuart

 

Sunday  27th December   

Hymn: Who would think that what was needed?  (StF222)

Prayer: 

It’s amazing, Lord, what we human beings get up to in order to prove our power, our status, our worth!  If we had been in your shoes, would we have chosen to come to earth as a tiny baby, subject to all the risks of birth, of growing up in an occupied country, living from hand to mouth, and so on?  No we wouldn’t, Lord, but then we would have left out that vital ingredient of love, and of the humility of your coming that reaches into the very depths of our hearts – that moves us to wonder, and invites us to see ourselves in a new perspective.  Surprise us again, Lord Jesus, with a new vision of all you came to do and be, and then go on to put your love into action in our lives! 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Saturday 26th December

Hymn: Cradled in a manger (StF 197/H&P 98)

Prayer:

It could hardly have been a more humble beginning, Lord Jesus, but then, thinking about it, perhaps it was the way you came among us that would shape the whole pattern of your life on earth – for you had no expectations of grandeur, no desire for pomp and ceremony.  You came to serve, you said, and this is what you did, giving of yourself in so many ways in love, in mercy and compassion, becoming a vulnerable human being, like one of us.  And this is what you ask of us, Lord, the simple giving of ourselves, not that this is always easy, for it means accepting our own vulnerability and need.  But when we do ask you into our hearts, Jesus, you come with your love and peace, putting new hope and purpose into our lives.  May we share with others the difference you have made to us. 

Amen

Liz Stuart

 

Friday 25th December, Christmas Day! 

Hymn: Let earth and heaven combine  (StF 208/H&P 109)

Prayer:

‘Incomprehensible’ is a good word to describe it, Lord!  It is all totally beyond our understanding, our imagining and, not least, our deserving.  That the One who spoke Creation into being should become a human being, the ‘Word made flesh’, taking on the limitations of a human body, of time and space, of dependence and vulnerability defies all rational thought.  And yet this is what happened, Lord, and you did it all out of love for us, coming to us so that we might come to you, freed from the power of sin and death, free to live life to the full, in a living, loving, hope-filled relationship with you.  Like those first witnesses to your birth, we kneel before you, Jesus, in wonder and in worship. 

Amen

Liz Stuart

 

Thursday 24th December 

Hymn:  O little town of Bethlehem   (StF 213/H&P 113)

Prayer: 

I wonder how quiet it was in Bethlehem that first Christmas Eve, Lord!  The bustle of travellers arriving, the sound of voices, the clatter of feet, the noises from animals being disturbed – and yet, in the midst of this, a stillness with the aura of holiness.  For into this less than silent world your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ was being born.  And we can know that stillness too, Lord, a calm within that is not ruffled or upset by the disruptions and troubles of everyday life, a quietness of spirit that we receive when we learn to rest in you and put ourselves and our lives into the security of your loving hands.  Help us to do that this Christmas, Lord. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Wednesday 23rd December 

Hymn: It came upon the midnight clear   (StF 205/H&P 108)

Prayer:

Peace and goodwill?  Sometimes they can seem to be rare qualities in our self-orientated society!  And yet, Lord, over this last year there have been so many amazing examples of generosity and compassion as people have reached out to befriend and support those who are alone or vulnerable.  As we hear again the song of the angels this Christmas, we give thanks for those ‘human angels’ with their message of goodwill, and we ask, Lord, that you will help us all to reflect the love and hope and light that Jesus came into the world to bring. 

Amen

Liz Stuart

 

Tuesday 22nd December 

Hymn: Of the Father’s love begotten   (StF 181/H&P 79)

Prayer:

Lord God, your coming in Jesus, wasn’t an afterthought, or decided upon at the last moment.  It was planned from the very beginning and looked forward to over centuries of hoping and waiting, and all of it out of love, and to express that love in a human life.  And many people have been making plans, Lord, looking forward to seeing family or friends at Christmas, and showing love in simpler ways, but like you, face to face, plans that are no longer possible.  In that very real disappointment and distress, Lord, may all know your presence, bringing comfort and consolation, and the enfolding of your love.  And help us to put our hope and trust ever more firmly in you, for your purposes and your promises never fail. 

Amen

Liz Stuart

 

Monday 21st December 

Hymn: Thorns in the straw

Prayer:

It can’t have been easy for Mary, Lord – it’s one thing to be ‘chosen’, but mixed in with the joy and the honour, must have been the anxiety, the responsibility, to say nothing of the difficult explanations of expecting a baby out of wedlock.  But all this was as nothing compared to what was to come, and the pain she would endure as the baby became the man dying on a cross!  And sometimes saying ‘yes’ to you, as Mary did, will cause us pain and suffering,  perhaps in rejection, misunderstanding, or in hard choices we have to make.  Give us courage, Lord, to face whatever comes our way, knowing that through it all we are enfolded in your love and the promise of new life. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Sunday 20th December

Hymn: The angel Gabriel from heaven came  (StF 187/H&P 87)

Prayer:

It must have been a shock for Mary, Lord – totally unexpected, overwhelming, and maybe, to begin with not entirely welcome!  It’s not nice to have your life turned upside down, your plans disrupted, your future mapped out in a totally different way.  But, sometimes, Lord, that’s what it takes for your purposes to be fulfilled, for the ‘new thing’ you are planning to take shape, and for love to be born.  And when that happens to us, when you want to intervene in our lives and disrupt our carefully laid plans, help us to have the courage Mary had, and say ‘Yes!’ 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Saturday 19th December

Hymn: Glory be to God on high   based on (StF 199/H&P 101)

Prayer:

It’s hard to grasp the enormity of it all, Lord!  That you, Almighty God, should come to earth as a human being, one of us – that the Word who spoke the world into being should ‘become flesh and dwell among us’ – it takes our breath away!  And yet that was your plan, and that was your promise, and this is what we celebrate at Christmas.  But this is not all, because if could do this once, you can do it again.  Not in the same way, Lord, but still in ways that turn our preconceived ideas upside down – into situations so dark that seem beyond hope, broken beyond repair.  So come again, Lord, with you light and love, your healing and peace – remind us again that you are Emmanuel, God with us. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Friday 18th December 

Hymn: Praise to the God who clears the way  (StF 183)

Prayer:

Lord God, you let nothing get in the way of your coming among us in your Son, Jesus.  You planned his coming over centuries, preparing the way through prophecy, through people, putting everything in place for that first Christmas to happen at just the right time.  And still you come, Lord, in your Holy Spirit, into this broken world, into our suffering, into our need for guidance, into our seeking to find peace and strength – and you come, as you did in Jesus, to bring love and light and hope.  Help us this Christmas to prepare the way for your coming into our hearts and lives.  Let nothing get in the way, so that it will be that ‘right time’ for each one of us!  Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Thursday 17th December 

Hymn: There’s a light upon the mountains   (StF188/H&P 246)

Prayer:

Even when it’s with optimism, Lord, waiting is never easy!  And waiting for the promised Messiah, the One who would bring light and hope into the world, must have seemed interminable for those of long ago!  When would the ‘right time’ come?  But it was all in hand, Lord, and in due course your promise was fulfilled in the coming of Jesus.  And we are waiting too – the excitement is growing as Christmas approaches once again, and we look for some welcome cheer after the gloom of the last months.  But we also look for another coming, Lord, when the whole of Creation will be made new and whole, and meanwhile there’s work to be done!  Let’s not miss your voice speaking to us in the here and now as we wait in expectation! 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Wednesday 16th December 

Hymn: Long ago, prophets knew   (StF 178/H&P 83)

Prayer:

Lord God, you prepared the way for the coming of Jesus over long centuries, calling people to speak and act for you in ways that were often derided and misunderstood, but were later seen to be part of your great plan of salvation, of bringing people back into a living, loving relationship with you.  And you call us, Lord, to be that prophetic voice in our generation, bringing that message of hope to the world of today.  Give us the courage to respond to that call, even when it takes us out of our comfort zone, so that we may play our part as bearers of your light and love. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Tuesday 15th December 

Hymn: Somewhere in your silent night 

Prayer:

Lord God, for many people Christmas isn’t an easy time.  For some it stirs memories of the past, for others it has been a difficult year where loved ones have been lost, where securities of many kinds have been threatened, and the future appears bleak and uncertain.  But, Lord, you sent Jesus into a world of pain with the very purpose of bringing love and light and life into places where there was seemingly no hope, and you still reach out to all who are suffering, offering comfort and strength.  So help us, Lord, to spread the good news of Jesus in our world today, that all in turmoil and distress may find your peace. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Monday 14th December 

Hymn: Go light your candle  

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, there are many in our world, indeed in our neighbourhoods, who are being led astray to seek fulfilment in those things that will never satisfy, and so many others living in difficult and dangerous circumstances, with little hope of a better life.  Yet this is the world you came into, Lord, to bring light and hope, love and new life. If you have lit that candle flame in our hearts, let us not simply guard the light, keep it to ourselves and allow it to burn itself out.  Rather, Lord, so inspire, enable and empower us by your Holy Spirit that we may keep the flame burning, and share in your work of seeking to dispel the darkness of hopelessness and despair. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Sunday 13th December 

Hymn: Here I am to worship   (SofF 1419)

Prayer:

So here we are, Lord, on this third Sunday in Advent, waiting and wondering as the story unfolds and we draw nearer to the manger.  But what will we see there?  Will it be the romantic picture of childhood memories, a cosy picture of domestic bliss, albeit in a stable surrounded by animals and shepherds, or will it be the enormity of God humbling himself to come into all of our human vulnerability, one with us, in order to make us one with you?  For it is when the reality of what this means dawns on us, fills our minds and stirs our hearts that worship truly begins, and we approach the manger with awe, for we are standing on holy ground.  May it be so for us, this Christmas. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Saturday 12th December 

Hymn: The hope of Christmas 

Prayer:

It’s been a year like no other, Lord, and people have suffered in so many different ways, through loss of freedoms, bereavement, poverty, and isolation to name but a few, and often it’s been hard to hold onto hope.  And yet, Lord, this is where you step in, for you are a God of hope, offering a hope that is not merely wishful thinking, but one that is sure and certain, and which we celebrate in the coming of Jesus, and in the new life he came to bring.  As we prepare ourselves in Advent for his coming, strengthen us in our faith, so that we may be more open and ready to receive his love and light and hope into our hearts and lives. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Friday 11th December 

Hymn: The light of the world  (SofF 2546)

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, at this time of year we focus on your coming as a baby in Bethlehem, but sometimes we forget that this is part of a far bigger story – a story planned from Creation, and going on into Eternity.  And what is even more wonderful, Lord, is that we can be part of this story, with your light shining in our hearts, revealing your glory and truth in our own lives!  Thank you for this privilege, and please help us to share our faith bravely and consistently, so that your love and hope may be shown through us, not only at Christmastime but always. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Thursday 10th December 

Hymn: Longing for light  (StF 706/SofF 2417)

Prayer:

There are so many ‘longings’ in our world today, Lord, so much suffering and pain, so much poverty and inequality.  And we long too – for a world where there is justice and peace, where there is equal opportunity and dignity and recognition for all people everywhere, where the environment and the world’s resources are respected and cared for.  And it often feels, Lord, as though it’s all too massive to get our minds around, even for us to make a small difference.  Until we remember that in Jesus you came in a small way, as a human being like us, but speaking words of truth, of love, of compassion, and putting those words into action.  And just maybe, if we follow his example, even in a small way we could make a difference too.  Help us to do so this Christmas, Lord. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Wednesday 9th December

Hymn: Make room  

Prayer:

We know the story so well, Lord – we hear it year on year, acted out by children in school Nativity plays, in readings at Carol Services and so on.  We know about the journey to Bethlehem, about there being no room at the inn, about shepherds and angels and so on, so well, Lord, that maybe we have never thought to apply it to ourselves, and ask where we are in that story, and what it all means to us.  This year, in the busyness of the season, let us not miss out on what is the most important part of it, the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and not only into the world so long ago, but now, into our hearts and lives.  And let’s be sure we make room. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Tuesday 8th December

Hymn: Holy overshadowing  

Prayer:

Loving God, our faith in you doesn’t protect us or remove us from the ups and downs of daily life, and nor does it ensure that we will never have to deal with suffering in its many forms.  Rather, it’s through having to cope with the challenges and difficulties we will inevitably face, that we discover a security, a resilience and a peace which enables us to remain calm and steady, knowing that you are with us overshadowing us with your Holy Spirit.  And strangely, Lord, it is often in those dark and distressing times that we find our trust in you growing stronger, as we allow you more fully into our lives.  Thank you for always being there for us. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Monday 7th December 

Hymn: You say

Prayer:

Lord God, while we, and sometimes other people, easily name our faults, our failures and our weaknesses, you not only see our abilities, but with you they can become realities, for you know what is possible when we put our trust in you.  Thank you for believing in us when we find it difficult to believe in ourselves, for loving us as we are, and through your Holy Spirit, giving us the strength, the courage and the confidence to begin to grow into the people you created us to be. 

Amen

Liz Stuart

 

Sunday 6th December 

Hymn: Like a candle flame   (StF 176/SofF 891)

Prayer:

How small is a candle flame, Lord God, and yet what a difference it makes in dispelling the shadows and providing a welcome light.  This year has been a dark place for many people, Lord, as this pandemic has swept the world and devastated so many lives, and we so need the light of Jesus to guide us and to give us hope both now and for the future. But let us not forget, Lord, that we ourselves can be like a candle flame, often flickering and easily blown about by the winds of chance and change, yet nevertheless able to bring some small light into the life of someone else, through our faith in you.  In your strength may we have the courage to do this! 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Saturday 5th December 

Hymn: At your name  (SofF 2220)

Prayer:

Almighty God, if we ever had any doubt of your power, your wisdom and your goodness, we only have to look at the beauty and the wonder of the world around us, for the whole of your creation speaks of your glory.  But even more, Lord, we are amazed at the depth of your love for us that we see in Jesus, and in this season when we celebrate his coming among us, we ask for a new vision of all that this means, so that we may be the more ready to welcome him.  Move in our hearts and lives, Lord, in your Holy Spirit, and awaken in us new songs of praise and worship. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Friday 4th December

Hymn: Trust his heart  

Prayer:

Lord God, there are so many things we don’t understand, not only what’s going on in the world, but even what’s happening in our own lives.  And when things don’t work out the way we’ve hoped and planned, it often doesn’t make sense, and we struggle to find the reason why.  But you alone, Lord, know what’s best for us, and because you love us and because you have always been faithful, we know we can turn to you in our confusion.  Help us to trust you, and to be confident that in all things you are always working for our good, both now and for the future. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Thursday 3rd December 

Hymn: You are faithful 

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, you know us so well, and you are intimately interested in every part of our lives.  As we grow deeper in our faith and in relationship with you, it is a daily delight to discover more and more how faithful you are, and how confidently we can rely on your Holy Spirit to guide and uphold us in whatever life may bring.  Your love, Lord, casts out all fear and fills us with hope, because we know that your promises are sure and are for always. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Wednesday 2nd December

Hymn: Here in your presence 

Prayer:

When we are in your presence, Lord Jesus, everything looks different.  The structures in our lives that once seemed so important suddenly lose their significance, and those things that have weighed heavily upon us, our fears, our insecurities, our burdens of responsibility become lighter as we lay them before you, and find rest in your forgiveness, your love and your peace – and through this discovery find new freedom and joy.  Thank you, Jesus! 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Tuesday 1st December 

Hymn: O come, O come, Immanuel   (StF 180/H&P 85)

Prayer:

Lord God, at the beginning of Advent we look to you for light and hope, and find it in the coming of Jesus.  We remember the story of his coming long ago, stepping down into our history, and we look forward in anticipation to his final coming in glory.  But we rejoice as we celebrate his coming in so many ways in our own time, through the Holy Spirit, bringing love and joy and that light and hope into the dark places of our world and of our own lives.  Lord Jesus, we wait eagerly for you, for you are all we need, and you never let us down. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

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