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These prayers are taken from the famous passage of Isaiah 40 which promising deliverance and restoration for Israel. May our own prayers echo Isaiah in crying out to and glorifying the Lord.
‘A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”’ Verses 3-5
- Lord – we cry out over the death of George Floyd in police custody, and the countless others who have suffered at the hands of authorities as a result of ethnicity. We ask for your justice to prevail and make the way for peace and reconciliation.
- We ask that you would support those seeking to right the systematic unfairness in our societies. At this unique time of re-evaluation – please challenge all as to how we can change society to be fairer.
- You know our hearts better than ourselves – we ask that you would challenge us on prejudices we may harbour for anybody. Teach us to love all, the way you have loved us.
Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.
- With regards to Covid-19, we thank you for the gradual lowering we are seeing in numbers of cases – may we continue to see a downward trend of those infected.
- We ask for your protection over our NHS and care services. For ongoing strength, patience and resilience for their staff.
- We pray that you would help to protect people’s jobs as we face economic downturn. For those already dealing with job losses – bring comfort and new means of provision.
- Please strength charities both within and outside the church who are dealing with those worst hit by the economic crisis.
“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel?”
- We praise you for your might, your wisdom and your mercy upon us. Thank you that, even in the midst of the confusion and uncertainty – you reign over all.
- Give us wisdom as the rules of lockdown gradually ease – may we all do our part to stem the spread of the virus and consider the needs of others.
- We see so much devastation of our planet – your creation. We pray that many people would mobilise to do their part in reducing their impact on emissions and waste. We ask that you would speak to those in positions of power and challenge them to protect the environment.
“Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.”
- We lift up the nations – over which you are the true ruler.
- We pray for your will to be done over the government of Hong Kong and that you would give wisdom and courage to your church there.
- We pray for America at this time of division – we pray that you would unite and strengthen the church there to be a powerful voice of love and truth.
- Please assist Brazil in fighting this disease as its death toll increases. May their leaders do what is right to address the challenges of fighting the virus.
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.Even youths shall faint and be weary and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
- We thank you for the way you are speaking to your people at this time. We continue to seek your will for the church in the UK.
- We ask that many would be drawn to Christ at this time – may we proclaim the gospel message with our actions and words each and every day.
- Strengthen each of us, O Lord – that we would rely on you instead of ourselves and that you use your servants to increase your kingdom.
As we are part of the Open Heaven initiative and prayer walking around the local streets in our City, this may also help us.
For some, prayer seems like second nature, and for others, particularly new Christians, prayer might feel like a completely foreign concept. How do you pray? What should you pray? Well, a comforting reminder is found in Matthew 6:8 “…your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” In other words, if we lean into the spirit and pray according to His will, we can’t go far wrong.
How can I pray?
‘To pray is to open your heart to Jesus’ – O Hallesby
For some of Jesus teaching on prayer, read Matthew 6:5-14.
Jesus said in John 14:23, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him.’
PACTS prayer framework
Meditatively use the headings below each day and let the Holy Spirit guide you through your prayers.
Choose a scripture to study, focus and meditate on during each week for your time of prayer – one idea is to use the bible reading from your Sunday church service for that week.
Prayers do not need to be long – speak from your heart as the Holy Spirit leads you. Try and be open to God meeting with you as you pray.
P: presence – to prepare for prayer, sit quietly and become aware of God’s presence. It can be helpful to slowly repeat something called the Jesus prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”.
A: adoration – praise God – use worship songs that are about Him or read a psalm out loud. Speak out your own praise if you feel led.
C: confession – reflect on the past day and tell God about sins that come to mind. Then know yourself to be forgiven and cleansed by the death and resurrection of Christ and the blood that was shed.
T: thanksgiving – for all that life brings both you and others.
S: supplication – intercede (ask God to help/bless/heal) for those close to you and known to you; for your local church family; for the global Church; for local, national and international institutions; for those suffering from poverty, hunger, illness, war and persecution. Share your own needs with God.
The Old Testament journey in 3 ½ minutes is a free video resource giving you a snapshot of Israel’s journey through the Old Testament in – yes you’ve guessed it – 3 ½ minutes!
Let me tell you about a neighbour, Sam. He lives six doors up from me. I still have never met Sam but I know that he lives there. He moved in over a year ago and I think I saw him once or twice from a distance, but I’m not sure if that was him. The other neighbours have said lots of nice things about him. Ken admired how he made sure that his garden was perfect to look after the wildlife. Frank says that he has an important job, but always finds time to help anybody who needs it. Mark says that he’s great to talk to. I sometimes wonder if I should knock his door to meet him? It’s a bit awkward now though as it has been so long. What will he think of me? Anxiety takes over… he might judge me. 😨 It would be nice to meet Sam though. The neighbours said that he’s so kind, and there are always times that you need someone to turn to. But I’m shy/ busy/ socially full so I’ll leave it until another day.
Getting to know a neighbour is the same as getting to know Jesus. People can tell you all about Jesus; that he cares for everyone and that can bring so much to your lives… but unless you actually start talking to him, you will never know what He’s like. You need to strike up a conversation with Christ. It might be awkward the first couple of times but when you persevere and really get to know Him, then you find that you have met the best neighbour ever!
Open Heaven is an initiative in the city of Coventry, uniting churches from every denomination, network and stream, to prayer-walk every street during the month of June 2020. As we unite together in prayer, we believe we will see God move here for His glory. Please join us as Allesley Park Evangelical Church walk the streets in prayer in our local neighbourhood. Please email email@example.com with the streets that you will pray for during the month of June 2020 and confirm when this is completed so we can ensure every street is prayed for.
We’ve got the arrival of the Holy Spirit, Pete sharing the story of Jesus and Paul doing one of the biggest U-turns imaginable, from enemy of Jesus to biggest champion of Jesus. The good news is the Church didn’t finish in Acts, it continues. And just like the heroes of the faith we read about, we find out how we get to be part of the journey too.
1 Peter 3:15-16 (NIV) Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience…
Preparing your testimony
This is the account of how God entered your story when you were led to become a committed follower of Jesus Christ.
The aim is to create a framework that you can use in different situations when the opportunity arises to share about your faith. Be sensitive to those you talk with and consider what their previous experience of Christians and church, if any, has been. The most important thing is to ask God for opportunities to tell your story and to be sensitive to the person at that time – listen for guidance from the Holy Spirit as you speak. Don’t worry if you cannot share your whole testimony in one go – it may be that just a part of it will be relevant at a given point.
Read Pauls testimony in Acts 2:1-15 and Acts 26:9-20 for inspiration
Framework for writing your testimony
WARNING!!! – You may find this is quite a challenge in some areas of your life as a Christian – embrace it all and use it as a prompt for prayer and spiritual growth!
Writing your testimony carefully will take some time! Pray before you start and consider working on your testimony together with a friend for encouragement and feedback.
This is an outline of how you might put your story – your testimony – together:
- My life and attitudes before I followed Christ
- How I realised that God was real and / or speaking to me
- How I became a Christian
- What being a Christian means to me
- It can then be good to have some questions ready to follow up with after you have shared your testimony – questions like:
- Has anything like this happened to you?
- Does it make sense to you?
- Have you ever thought you would like to have a peace like this?
- Do you know for certain that you have life for ever and will go to heaven when you die?
- It’s not a sermon – yawn!
- Keep your testimony short! – it should take a maximum of 3-5 minutes to tell
- Try and avoid churchy or theological jargon – for example, instead of a using a word like ‘righteous’ maybe use a phrase like ‘right with God’
- Make no negative or critical remarks about others – keep everything focused on your experience
- Put yourself in the listener’s place – what would be interesting or meaningful to them?
- Practice telling your story
- Be real – don’t give the impression that becoming a Christian makes life perfect!
- Adhering to a timeline can help people understand and follow you – maybe use a ‘before, during, after and now’ model
- Alternative approach – use a theme, need or problem as a starting point and show how things changed
- Be honest! We still struggle! Temptations and doubts continue…
- Write stand-alone sections – ‘pick’n’mix’ – this can help clarify your experience and make it easier to share elements when it is not appropriate or possible to share the full story
- In everything you write, ask the Lord to help you so it tells ‘His story’ in your ‘history’
- Acknowledge Him and that it all happened because of Him
- Remember, the greatest testimony of all is found in the Bible – your story does not need to achieve everything in one go, it only needs to encourage people to engage more with God’s big story
Guidance for writing different sections
Below are a list of suggested sections your testimony could be broken down into, each able to be shared alone. With each suggested section, there is a list of prompts that will help you reflect on what you might like to include – not every prompt will be relevant to your story.
- My life and attitude before I followed Christ:
Good and bad things
Where you lived
What you did
Interests and hobbies
Explain your need for greater meaning or purpose
Share an inability to overcome failings – but remember, this is a story, not a confession!
- How I realised God was speaking to me
How, when and where did God first get through to you?
Which people, books, social media, films, scriptures, TV, etc did He use?
Did you become aware of His presence in a particular place or at a particular time?
- How I became a Christian
Include the process of how you received salvation and made a commitment
See below for some of the stages you came through, even if at the time you could not have put everything into words like this
(NB if you aren’t sure you have been through these steps yet, then please go to the How to become a Christian section below)
- A) Sin – my life was controlled by what I wanted instead of God
- B) Sin’s penalty – as a result of sin, I was separated from God for eternity
- c) Christ paid – penalty for my sin was paid by Christ on my behalf when He took my sin to the cross, accepted the judgement and made it possible for me to be accepted as an adopted child of Father God
- d) Receiving Christ – accepting the above three statements as true – wanting to change your life from being controlled by what you wanted to what God wants, being sorry about the past and accepting what Jesus did for me, receiving Him as Saviour and Lord
Sensitivity needed here – don’t use churchy jargon – check in with people in case they have had a bad experience of church
- What being a Christian means to me
What lifestyle changes have you made since becoming a Christian?
How are your relationships with family, friends and work colleagues different?
How do you now use your money in different ways?
What do you live for now?
How do you view death?
Do you experience new depths of friendship with Christian brothers and sisters?
How you deal with problems – frustration, failure, stress, illness, etc
How to become a Christian
Romans 10:13 Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved
If you want to talk over some questions about Christian faith speak to one of the Elders at the Church or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are ready to make a serious lifelong commitment to follow Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, then this is a simple prayer to follow:
“Dear Jesus, I believe in You. I believe You are the Son of God, that You died for my sins, and that You were buried and rose again as written in the Bible. I’m sorry for the things I’ve done that hurt You. Forgive me for all my sins. Come into my heart, take charge of my life and make me the way You want me to be. With Your ever-present help, I renounce all my sinful practices of the past. Cleanse my heart with Your precious blood. Write my name in Your Book of Life. I confess You now as my Lord and Saviour. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Thank You, Jesus! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”