News & Notes Vol 13 No. 13

Of Prayer and Many Other Things

Dear friends,
I had two very exciting experiences of public prayer in the last two weeks.  They were so poignant and meaningful to me that I thought I would share them.
The first was at the Provincial Leadership Prayer Breakfast in British Columbia.  I have experienced several Prayer Breakfasts in the past; the first at the age of 20 at the American National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC.  I’ve been to Ottawa at the National Prayer Breakfast in Canada and in Calgary at that Prayer Breakfast and this one in Vancouver.  The quite unplanned and seemingly spontaneous or spirit prompted (which might be more appropriate) theme of the Provincial Prayer Breakfast in Vancouver was that of hope and hopefulness. Many of the speakers spoke of being in desperate need to call out to God in times of personal need or comfort.  The theme was quite powerfully engaged.  It ran the gamut of people speaking of their conversion story of coming to Christ for the first time, and also of praying for the sick and the wounded, or the faraway, or just in moments, vocationally or personally, in which they were extremely anxious and worried.
There is a particular prayer that is used at the National Prayer Breakfast in Ottawa, and at other Breakfasts including the recent one in Vancouver.  It speaks of the “spirit of Jesus” but is not explicitly, or in a way I would prefer, clearly Christian yet, it is placed in the spirit of Jesus and the context of the Christian faith.  Regardless of that it is a powerful prayer in so many ways.  As a Christian I, both at the beginning and end of it, silently pray to myself these things in Christ’s name.  The first is that prayer.
The second prayer is one that was spoken by a young woman at Southwest Community Church in Kamloops which I found particularly gripping, relevant, and personally encouraging.  I thank Libby for her willingness to allow me to share this with you.
The final prayer is taken out of the “Gathering for Worship” book.  It talks about Christ coming to make things new.  I pray that as we continue in the Lenten series and season and as we pray for those who do not yet know Christ we will in fact be called to see that Christ is making all things new.
In Christ,
A Prayer for the Province (BC Leadership Prayer Breakfast):
Almighty God, we once before you in prayer, in the spirit of Jesus, for the leadership of British Columbia and Canada.  We declare our need of you and pause this morning to give you thanks.
We thank you for blessing us with a free country, a rich diversity of people, abundant natural resources and a beautiful environment.  We pray that as leaders we will be wise managers and good stewards of all that your hands have provided.
We pray for our nation and our world.  Lord, where there is division, conflict, bitterness and hatred, both in this country and abroad, may you bring your wisdom, justice and healing.  Where we have been party to this division, conflict, bitterness, and hatred, we ask for your forgiveness and reconciliation.
We pray that you might give wisdom and discernment to all those who govern and administer our country, our province, our towns and cities.  Give wisdom and discernment also to those who are in Opposition.  We pray that all may be men and women who, themselves, are led by you; who do not seek prestige but service, and set the good of the community above the good of any individual or group.
We pray for all people who work, study or volunteer in this province.  We pray that we might use our faith, skills and resources to correct iniquities, bring hope, and work toward justice and righteousness.
Help us to be worthy of the inheritance that we have received from you through our First Nations and ancestors.  May we protect all that we share, so that we may pass on an even finer province to those who will inherit it from us.
May we lay aside all private interests and prejudices.  Unite us in all our diversity under your sovereign rule, to love you and to love others.  May all who are called to serve as leaders throughout British Columbia have the courage to lead us in truth, peace, and humility.  Strengthen us all, we pray in the name of our Blessed Creator, Provider, and Sustainer.  Amen.
This is the prayer spoken at Southwest Community Church Sunday morning service on March 26th:
Beloved Lord and Saviour,
We bow our hearts to you, the one who is seated far above the rest, you are worthy of the praises we sing today and for the rest of eternity. Messiah, we want your kingdom come, we pray in earnest that your rule would be over all situations around the world. We lift up the attacks in the UK, may your peace be a healing and soothing balm over the many wounds, may your sovereignty reign in all forms of government and leadership, and may your sense of justice prevail over our own. It’s easy to see where your reign is necessary around the world, yet in our own hearts, we find it difficult to relinquish power, claiming we do a good enough job as leader of our lives. We have a prepared list of reasons why we’re good at being in control. We can be like the Israelites, wanting to go back to Egypt even after witnessing your divine guidance through the Red Sea. Father, you have shown us your worthiness, may we put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature since we have taken off the old self with its practices and put on a new self which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its creator. Jesus, you are described as the one who fulfills everything in everyway, and may we honour you as such, may we obey your teachings, and love our brothers and sisters. May we hold our control in open and joyful hands. We invite your will to be done, and we do so with hopeful hearts, knowing that you are the Good Shepard and will not lead us astray. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever. Amen. 
Gathering for Worship: Opening Sentences for the Lord’s Supper:
Among the poor,
among the proud,
among the persecuted,
among the privileged,
Christ is coming to make all things new.
In the private house,
in the public place,
in the wedding feast,
in the judgement hall,
Christ is coming to make all things new.
With a gentle touch,
with an angry word,
with a clear conscience,
with burning love,
Christ is coming to make all things new.
That the kingdom might come,
that the world might believe,
that the powerful might stumble,
that the hidden might be seen,
Christ is coming to make all things new.
Within us, without us,
behind us, before us,
in this place, in every place,
for this time, for all time,
Christ is coming to make all things new.