Prayers for Comfort and Strength

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

Daily Prayer & Hymn Suggestion 

Friday 28th January 

Hymn:  Revival   (SofF 1176)

Prayer:

As more Covid restrictions are lifted, Lord God, and we are allowed to live more freely and able to open up our churches for worship and our activities, help us to grasp the opportunities this gives us to once more reach out, and to spread the good news of your love and of the new life you offer all through Jesus.  But in case we have become too inward-looking over the last two years, we ask, Lord, for a new infilling of your Holy Spirit to sweep through us, to reawaken us and revive us, that we may go out into our communities with a new enthusiasm, and with hearts set on fire for you.  So send us out, Lord, to all who are lost, distressed and disheartened, to be your messengers of encouragement and healing and hope. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Thursday 27th January 

Hymn: When the tears fall   (StF 632/SofF 1906)

Prayer:

Dear Lord, at this bleakest time of year we remember those who are going through times of bleakness in their lives, sometimes brought on by memories of the past, albeit from many years ago, but also those for whom grief and loss are raw and a present reality.  We don’t fully understand why there is so much suffering in our world, Lord, except that often it is caused by greed and the thirst for power, but when it hits us hard, when it is personal, it’s hard to reconcile this with a God of love and compassion.  And yet we know, Lord, that you share our pain and confusion, that you are present with us, wrapping your arms of love around us, and bidding us put our trust in you.  For you promise to bring us through our times of darkness and despair, Lord, and resting in that promise we can find hope and peace. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Wednesday 26th January 

Hymn: How great is our God (The splendour of the King)    StF 15/SofF 2065

Prayer:

We can’t even begin to imagine your glory, Lord God – it is totally above and beyond our understanding, and even the pictures we paint with our words fall far short of all that you are.  For you are greater and more wonderful than our minds can grasp, outside time, outside space, and yet intimately near to each one of us, holding our lives in your loving hands, treasuring every moment that we spend with you, every prayer that we make, every evidence of our trust. You are indeed worthy of all our love, our praise and our worship; may all we say and do and are be to your glory and honour. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Tuesday 25th January 

Hymn: Let us build a house (All are welcome)    StF 409

Prayer:

At the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity we thank you, Lord God, for the opportunity to reflect on what our oneness in Christ means to us.  So often we tend to dwell on our differences, whereas you have given us gifts within our churches which, when we share and celebrate them, both bind us together as one family, but also enable us to use our diversities, our different forms and styles of worship, our different emphases, to reach out to people more effectively.  So help us, Lord, to carry this message of unity far beyond simply one week in the year, that we may find ways to work together for the growth of your Kingdom in the neighbourhoods where you have placed us, to your praise and glory. 

Amen 

Liz Stuart 

 

Monday 24th January 

Hymn: We’ve a story to tell to the nations   (MP 744)

Prayer:

Yes, Lord God, we certainly have a story to tell, and it’s a story we want to broadcast loud and clear!  The story of the way you have acted in creation, in history, through Jesus and, indeed, are still at work in the world by your Holy Spirit – a story of love, of forgiveness, of freedom from fear; the story of life in all its fullness which goes beyond even death itself.  But, alongside this, another story, Lord, of how you have changed our lives, of how, through your Holy Spirit, you have made yourself known to us, and given us a new zest for living, with new purpose, hope and peace. So give us courage, Lord, to tell our stories, yours and ours, that others will discover for themselves the joy and fulfilment you can bring to their lives. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Sunday 23rd January 

Songs of thankfulness and praise

Prayer:

In this season of Epiphany, Lord Jesus, as we celebrate the way in which you revealed the purpose of your coming in acts of healing, of mercy and of love, we recall that this was not primarily to those who wielded power, or held positions of authority, but to the poor, the outcast, the stranger, to the un-noticed and the overlooked.  And it is to such as these, Lord, that you frequently call us to reach out, to serve, to welcome and to reveal your love in acts of generosity and grace, and to follow your example in the giving of our time and our attention.  So guide us by your Holy Spirit, Lord, to those people and into those situations where you would have us be, and to you be the praise and glory. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Saturday 22nd January 

Hymn: God will make a way   (SofF 1799)

Prayer:

At the moment, Lord God, more than ever, the world seems to be a confusing place to navigate our path.  With the changing rules on Covid, amid still high infection rates, the mixed messages coming from the government, together with all the events piling in from around the world, we sometimes don’t know which way to turn – and that’s not counting the ups and downs of our own lives!  So we’re thankful, Lord, that in all this turmoil you provide a way for us that is clear and unchanging, that is safe and secure, and moreover, a way that has already been travelled and tried by Jesus.  And it’s only as we follow his example, as we keep our eyes focussed on him and seek to follow in his footsteps that we can be certain we will not be led astray.  So help us to put our trust more firmly in Jesus both today and for the future. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Friday 21st January 

Hymn: Fairest Lord Jesus   (CMP 823)

Prayer:

Whatever we might try to compare you with, Lord Jesus, whatever beauty we see in the world around us, whatever loveliness we experience in a human personality, whatever kindness we receive in a relationship fades in its significance when placed alongside all you are to us, all you mean to us and all you have done for us.  For you love us with an everlasting love, a love poured out into our hearts through your Holy Spirit; a love which longs to reach into every part of our lives to help us to become the people you created us to be; a love which transforms us from the inside out, strengthens us in our daily living, and assures us of your presence with us at all times and in all places.  How can we respond to all of this except by offering all of ourselves to you!  

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Thursday 20th January 

Hymn: I watch the sunrise   (StF 469)

Prayer:

It doesn’t matter where we are, Lord God.  It doesn’t matter what’s going on in our lives or what we are going through, or even how distant we feel we are from you, you are always here for us, nearer to us than our breathing.  For you love us so much and you care about our well-being so much that you are intensely interested in every part of our lives, not checking up on us in a critical or judgemental way, but looking out for us and wanting the best for us, and, in your grace and goodness, trying to steer us ever so gently into a deeper relationship with you, where we can find true fullness of life.  So draw us closer to you, Lord, into your embrace of love and peace. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Wednesday 19th January 

Hymn: Love incarnate    (SofF 1627)

Prayer:

As we look back on your life on earth, Lord Jesus, at the way you went about your ministry, healing, caring, reaching out to those who were at the ‘bottom of the pile’, looked down upon by others; how you spoke out against injustice and inequality, we realise what an amazing, and what a challenging example you set us!  And then we see all you went through in your suffering and death on the Cross, and yet managing to forgive then, and still forgiving now – and all of it out of love, and all of it for us.  What can we say, how can we respond?  Only by making this our prayer: ‘Love incarnate, love divine, captivate this heart of mine, till all I do speaks of you.’ 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Tuesday 18th January 

Hymn: Jesus, be the centre  (StF 447/ SofF 1377)

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, you want to be at the centre of our lives, and this is what we really desire too.  But we know, and you know, Lord, how easily we get distracted by everything going on around us, both in the world and in our own lives.  It’s often when we are faced with some hardship, grief or difficulty – when we’re struggling with a problem that seems too big for us to handle, that we realise this has happened, how we have strayed away from you and lost our focus on the things that matter, our focus on you. Bring us back, Lord, to where we belong, to our dependence on you in all things, for only then will we discover true peace and hope, and find the strength we need for daily life. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Monday 17th January 

Hymn: It is well with my soul  (MP 757)

Prayer:

At the beginning of a new week, Lord God, as the traffic increases on the roads and people hurry to work and children to school, we bring to you all the complexities of life.  The daily balance so many have to make between work and family life, the way in which the clock so often dominates the pattern of our lives – so much to fit in, so many priorities to fulfil, so little time to spare.  And, at the other end of the spectrum, there are those for whom time hangs heavy but still exerts its control as the hands on the clock move slowly, emphasising loneliness and isolation.  But wherever and however we are, Lord, you offer us peace, that sense of inner completeness and fulfilment that we discover when we put our trust in you.  So this day we put ourselves in your hands, Lord, and whatever way we fill the hours, let us be sure to make space for you. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Sunday 16th January 

Hymn: The trumpets sound, the angels sing   (StF 35/SofF 550/MP 667)

Prayer:

We sometimes forget, Lord Jesus, how often in your life on earth you were at the centre of celebrations, that you were known as a party-goer, enjoying a good time with family, with friends and with those who many looked down on and despised.  This does not lessen the way in which you suffered, it doesn’t take away from all you went through on the Cross, but it does remind us that you lived life to the full, and that you want us to experience joy and gladness in our Christian lives.  Often, Lord, your followers are characterised as ‘kill-joys’, and your church has a negative image rather than the attractive community it should be.  Forgive us, Lord, if we have been part of this, and help us to be open and welcoming, and more important, to live out the joy you have placed in our hearts! 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Saturday 15th January 

Hymn: I cannot tell    (StF 350/H&P 238/SofF 205/MP 266)

Prayer:

When we think of your great plan for the world, for us, we cannot help but be filled with awe and wonder.  For you did not need to make such provision for us, either in providing us with the great beauty we see in creation, or, through Jesus, enabling us to get to know you, and more than this, to enter into a living and lasting relationship with you in which we can call you ‘Father’.  It’s way beyond anything we can understand, Lord, beyond anything we can ever dream of or deserve, and only possible because of your grace and great love for us – for what other reason could there possibly be?  But this we do know, Lord, that without you our lives would lose much of their purpose and hope. Thank you, Lord! 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Friday 14th January 

Hymn: Guide me, O thou great Jehovah   (StF 465/H&P 437/SofF 148/MP 201)

Prayer:

Even with the lessening of restrictions on our lives. Lord God, we may still feel we are going through rather ‘barren’ times.  Many of the activities that we previously enjoyed are no longer happening, and it sometimes seems as if we are living in a kind of ‘limbo’ – waiting for decisions to be made, but powerless to influence them in any way.  So it’s good to know, Lord, that you are in these desert places with us, guiding us, loving us, and giving us the resources and the resilience we need to keep us going.  Help us when we feel like giving up to turn to you, for you are the source of our hope both now and for the future. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Thursday 13th January 

Hymn: Bless the Lord, O my soul   (10,000 reasons) SofF 2231

Prayer:

There are countless reasons to bless and praise you, Lord God, but often we are so bowed down with anxiety, with fears, with concerns for ourselves, for our loved ones, for the world and so on, that this becomes the whole of our focus, and occupies the whole of our attention.  Yet if we are willing and able to look up and to look past the problems we face, we would find ourselves overwhelmed by your goodness to us, by your mercy and your love, all of it poured out into our lives out of sheer generosity and grace.  And we would remember your faithfulness to us, the times when we have known your nearness, supporting and strengthening us to face whatever lies before us.  So now, today, we put our trust in you, Lord, and worship your holy Name! 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Wednesday 12th January 

Hymn: This is my Father’s world   

Prayer:

When we look at the beauty, the variety and the intricacy of all you have made, Lord God, it fills us with awe and wonder.  But this is not enough, because it is not sufficient simply to admire – we also need to care for all you have made, to cherish and protect it as something that we have from you on trust.  And this is not just so that it is preserved for future generations, vitally important though that is; not even because our own well-being is caught up in the ecosystems of all created things.  But supremely because it is your world, Lord, and the way we treat it reveals the love and the respect in which we hold its Maker.  So Lord, give us new eyes to see the whole of creation as you do, and to value it as part and parcel of our relationship with you. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Tuesday 11th January 

Hymn: Father of light

Prayer:

Our troubles always seem worse at night, when the hours of darkness and our own restless thoughts manage to magnify whatever’s on in our minds.  But you, Lord God, are faithful, and you promise to be with us in every part of our lives, supporting us whatever we are going through, and when we put our trust in you, somehow things become so much brighter in the light of your love and your presence.  Help us to hold on to this, Lord, and, with the coming of every dawn, to begin each new day with you, thanking you for bringing us safely through the night, relishing the opportunities that lie before us, and committing ourselves to including you in all that we say and do – and through this growing a stronger faith and discovering a deeper peace. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Monday 10th January 

Hymn: He knows my name  (SofF 795)

Prayer:

Sometimes Lord God, life can feel overwhelming!  The troubles in the world, fears surrounding the Covid pandemic, the rising cost of living, the unknowingness of the future, all of them things over which we have no control, and it can all make us feel very small and lost.  And so it’s amazing to know, Lord, that to you we have value, and our little lives, far from being insignificant, are important to you.  Indeed that you know us so well and so individually that you know us by name, and, even more than this, that you have a purpose for each one of us, a path carved out for us that is unique and special, and, best of all, that you walk this pathway with us.  And with you beside us, Lord, life takes on a whole new meaning, and security and purpose. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Sunday 9th January 

Hymn: When Jesus came to Jordan   (StF 233/H&P 132)

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, when you were baptised it wasn’t because you needed to turn away from sin, for you always lived a life of obedience, but because you wanted to truly become one with us in our very humanness.  And it is because of this, Lord, because you came to share everything with us, that we know we can share everything with you.  That we don’t need to hold anything back from you, our hopes, our fears, our uncertainties, our tears, and our very real need to know that we are loved.  For all of this you provide when we put our faith in you, Lord, along with the promise of your peace, and a future that is full of your promise of fullness of life both now and always.  Can we, need we, ask for anything more? 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Saturday 8th January 

Hymn: When it’s all been said and done

Prayer:

We want to follow in your way, Lord God, and you have given us the example of Jesus to guide us in the right direction, in the choices we make, and in the way we live our lives and build our relationships with other people.  But it isn’t easy, Lord, and though we make our resolutions to do better, we often let you down.  We thank you, Lord, that in your great love and mercy you see our good intentions, you understand our weakness and you forgive our failings.  So help us, Lord, in this New Year to put our trust ever more firmly in you, knowing that you will never let us down or allow us to stray far from your loving care. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Friday 7th January 

Hymn: Thorns in the straw

Prayer:

As we take one last fleeting look back at Christmas and at your birth, Lord Jesus, we remember that this was just the beginning of a life that would be a mixture of joy and pain, of light and darkness, of affirmation and betrayal, but that out of it all, and through it all, your love would shine, be known and become real.  And that is what our lives are like too, Lord, but as we experience the ups and downs of living in a world where things are far from perfect, we know that you not only went before us, but you go before us and are with us now, in your Holy Spirit.  And because of this, in your strength, and upheld by your love, we too can face the future with confidence, and we thank you, Lord. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Thursday 6th January 

Hymn: Hail to the Lord’s anointed   (StF 228/H&P 125/SofF 150/ MP 204)

Prayer:

It was all planned, Lord Jesus, it was all prophesied, and yet when you came it was in an unexpected way and place, and it took outsiders and strangers to recognise the importance of what was happening, who were the first to bow down in worship and to offer you gifts.  We know the story, Lord, how your life on earth began and how it finished, and we know too that it was all out of love, love for the world, love for us.  And yet, of course, this is not the end of the story, for we wait for your coming again, when all will acknowledge you as Lord and King.  And in the meantime, with those wise men, let us worship and bring our gifts to you – the gifts of our love and of our lives, asking that you will use them for your glory and the extension of your kingdom.  

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Wednesday 5th January 

Hymn: When we seek him

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, The wise men travelled many miles to find you, and although they did not know what to expect, they trusted that the star would lead them to where they needed to be.  Lord, there are so many ‘stars’ in our world, things, people even, that invite us to put our trust in them but do not give us the happiness or the fulfilment that we seek, for that can only be found through putting our faith in you.  We thank you, Lord, that you are always here for us, wherever we are, and that whatever circumstances we are facing we can always turn to you for help and hope.  So shine in our hearts, Lord Jesus, and be the guiding light in our lives this Christmas season and throughout the coming year. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Tuesday 4th January 

Hymn: Wise men, seeking Jesus   (H&P 128)

Prayer:

When they set out, Lord Jesus, those wise men had no idea where they were going, or what they would find at the end of their journey.  They set out in faith, faith in a mystery, perhaps in a power that was greater than they could understand, but knowing that the bright star that had appeared showed that something was happening, someone was being born, and that it was so significant that it was worth travelling many uncomfortable miles to discover what it all meant. Whatever our journey to you, and wherever we find you, Jesus, it will be as life-changing as it was for those who first saw and followed that star, so keep us travelling, Lord, and keep us seeking you, as we set out into the unknown of what this New Year may bring. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Monday 3rd January 

Hymn:   Come be born again  

Prayer:

It’s ironic really, Lord Jesus!  You who actually possessed everything, you who were present at Creation, you who gave up the glory of heaven to come to earth were carried in a borrowed womb, born in a borrowed stable, and throughout your ministry had nowhere to really call home.  But was that, perhaps, the point of it all, Lord?  For you didn’t come to settle here in one time or in one geographical location, but to be with us for all time, in all situations, indeed everywhere – for the only place you really want to remain and dwell is in our hearts.  So let us not let this Christmas come and go without inviting you, maybe for the very first time, to be born in us, so that we might be born again, as you make your home in the centre of our lives. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Sunday 2nd January 

Hymn:  Who would think that what was needed   (StF 222)

Prayer:

Your ways and your thoughts are so very different from ours, Lord God!  Our world is ordered by those who wield power through wealth or position and, sadly, often through oppression or military might, while yours are ways of seeming powerlessness and poverty, conquering the power of sin and death through sacrifice, service and love.  And it is because of this, Lord, that the Baby in the manger, born to transform our lives, still has the power to fill us with wonder and cause us to catch our breath at the sheer mystery of it all.  So help us, Lord, never to become so infatuated with the things of this world that we close our minds to the small and the unexpected, and miss the surprises you have still to reveal. 

Amen

Liz Stuart 

 

Saturday 1st January 

Hymn: This, this is the God we adore   (StF 67/H&P 277)

Prayer:

As we look back on the last year, Lord God, amid the hardships, the anxieties, the pain and the grief, we have also been aware of the many blessings we have received, for you have been with us throughout it all.  Through the beauty of nature, through the kindness and sensitivity of friends, through moments of stillness when we have sensed your nearness, in all of these you have held and healed us, lifting us up and keeping us strong.  And now as we begin a new year, with all its unknowing and all its opportunities stretching before us, it is you who we turn to, Lord, for you are unchanging in your faithfulness and your love, and because of this we know we can ‘trust you for all that is to come.’ 

Amen

Liz Stuart