Wondering what Jesus really came for and never known who to ask?
We would love to chat with you about the big questions in life! You can do this with a cuppa at the Crossroads Centre in Meltham and a chat in a small group (or simply come along or join online to listen) .
Alpha is an 8 week course, for everyone wanting to explore life and faith a bit more. 20 million people have done this course. It’s probably the least cheesy, most enjoyable way of thinking about the things that really matter in life.
Our next Alpha courses start in October 2021. Don’t worry if you have to miss a date or two. We’d love you to come to as many as you can anyway.
You can choose between an In-person course or an Online course.
Sign up for our Online course which starts on the 4th October 2021, every MONDAY for 8 weeks+, 8pm-9.30pm via Zoom.
Sign up for our Face to Face course in Crossroads Centre which starts on the 7th October 2021, every THURSDAY for 8 weeks, 7.30pm-9.00pm
As Harvest is a time to thank God for creation, we’d like the front cover of the October magazine to show our amazing world. If you have a photo of flowers, birds, bugs, landscapes etc please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 20th. Thanks.
Last Week was the 69th Week of our Prayer sheet. We have prayed in earnest about the Covid 19 pandemic and its effect on all the Nations and peoples of our world. Alongside we have sought to find ways of deepening our relationship with God.
The government leaders are relaxing the rules that follow lockdown seeking a new norm, whatever that might be it seems a good time to end the weekly distribution, but I urge you to continue praying with the same fervour, that we have enjoyed together over the last 70 weeks.
This ‘Issue no 70 “will be our final MCT Monday Prayer Sheet but it is hoped that we might continue praying daily for our world and our own nation in how we deal with the pandemic.
This prayer sheet No 70 contains what might be an aid for us to continue to pray, allowing the scriptures and the Holy Spirit to teach us more about prayer.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BIBLE VERSE ABOUT PRAYER? WHICH VERSE INSPIRES YOU TO A DEEPER LIFE OF PRAYER?
Prayer is not just about asking God for things you need or desire. It is about establishing a relationship with Him built on faith and trust in Him. God knows the desires of your heart long before you even think to ask, but he still loves to hear from you—whether you’re asking for guidance or giving thanks—because it draws you closer to him. The Bible is full of people who were led to pray for a multitude of things we still pray about today: fear, anger, worry. That’s why the Bible is chock-full of verses for those dark days when you’re questioning just how effective prayer really is. These Bible verses will help motivate you to get down on your knees and communicate with the Lord.
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Matthew 6:9-13
And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Luke 11:9
And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Matthew 6:7
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” Luke 18:1-8
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice! Psalm 141:2
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. James 5:13-14
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16
Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. Psalm 50:15
Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:19-20
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41
“Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!”
“Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears! For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers.”
“But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.”
“But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.”
“I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.”
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
‘The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
SILENCE 2 — DISCOVERING & EXPERIENCING THE PRESENCE OF GOD.
Sometimes we conceal our relationship with God in prayer because we are afraid that others in the church or house group are closer than we are, that someone may be further ahead. But once we have turned and are seeking a relationship with God in silence, then we most certainly will find a need for someone to talk with.
Real confrontation with love of Jesus demands the sharing the of the experience. It is through sharing that we realise that all of us, even the best, are babes in the wood. The new Archbishop of York, Stephen Cotteral, confesses to be a novice when it comes to prayer. (Novice is a learner – always something new inspired by the Holy Spirit).
The Disciples would see Jesus taking His leave from them for His Quiet Time with His Father. Luke records in his gospel (Luke 11) how one day Jesus was in a certain place praying. As He finished, one of His Disciples sought Jesus out and asked Him “Lord teach us to Pray just as John taught his Disciples”.
So it is that we have the teaching about Prayer. Jesus said,
“This is how you should Pray”.
“Father may your name be kept holy,
May your Kingdom come soon.
Give us each day the food we need, and
forgive us our sin, as we forgive those
who sin against us, and don’t lead us into temptation.”
Some versions read and keep us from being tested.
Teaching them more about prayer, Jesus uses a story which graphically speaks about the relationship between friends.
Then Jesus said to them, ‘Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread;a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.”And suppose the one inside answers, “Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.”I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
Jesus recommends persistence in Prayer. –
The scripture below and the one following are widely used to help seekers to find their relationship with both Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
“Keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.. — This scripture encourages persistence in our prayers.
This scripture is an argument for the acceptance of the Holy Spirit into our lives.
Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’
THIS WEEK PRAY IN SILENCE IN THE WAY JESUS TAUGHT HIS DISCIPLES – GOD FIRST – US SECOND
ASK FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT TO LEAD YOU INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD OUR FATHER – LISTEN FOR HIS VOICE
BE PERSISTENT IN PRAYER. START WITH YOURSELF – THINK OF THE NEEDS OF THOSE CLOSEST TO YOU
SILENCE : DISCOVERING & EXPERIENCING THE PRESENCE OF GOD.
The idea of linking silence with prayer may sound like an out-and- out contradiction to many Christians. We are accustomed to thinking of the familiar forms of prayer that people use when they join to worship or ask God for something. These forms almost follow a lead given in the past. They are shaped by words set down in the Bible, particularly the psalms, or by other poetry and by the liturgy. They can vary from the words that come spontaneously in the simplest service to the most elaborate prayers that have grown up around the Eucharist and other Sacraments and may be used in private devotions. Of course, there is no question about the value and importance of this way of turning to God, but it is not the only prayer we need.
There is another, equally important way of praying in which a person becomes silent and tries to listen, instead of speaking.
My wife Christine and I made a covenant to hear the Bible in a year. We listen to a part of a Psalm or part of the Book of Proverbs followed by a reading from the New Testament and a longer reading from the Old Testament all read to us by David Suchet. It takes about twenty or so minutes per day. As you might imagine there are catch-up days. It’s better to learn how to be disciplined with the daily readings.
Having someone read to you tests out your listening skills. You will remember Jesus and his disciples who kept falling asleep at the most difficult time in his ministry. You probably like me will know how difficult it is to be silent and to concentrate for longer than a few minutes without the rush of unwanted thoughts. So, when we pray using Lectio 365 we pray “As I enter prayer now, I pause to be still; to breathe slowly; to re-centre my scattered senses upon the presence of God”.
To read whole passages of Scripture at once has the advantage over just selecting what you prefer to hear or use. So, you have to deal with the turbulence and bloodshed in the OT.
The children of Israel had their prophets who listened to Yahweh and passed on instruction to God’s own people. The big question for us today is – where do we see or hear the words of God from the lips of those who are in a relationship with both God and His people.
Silence in prayer is a discipline in which the more we pray the deeper our relationship with God, through the Holy Spirit, becomes and the more likely we are to know and experience His presence with us.
THIS WEEK PRAY WITHOUT SPEAKING – JUST WORK AT BEING COMFORTABLE & FOCUS ON JESUS FOR A WHILE, LISTENING AND GETTING TO KNOW HIS VOICE.
Over the past months, many articles have been written, numerous television programmes made, all around the subject of the Coronavirus Pandemic and this coming Friday there is a TV programme called ‘A Pandemic Poem – Where Did The World Go?’ This is based around a Poem written by Poet Laureate -Simon Armitage, a Colne Valley man who many of us will have heard of.
These are some of his thoughts about his Pandemic Poem
‘There is a message to be learnt about taking things easy and being patient and trusting the Earth and maybe coming through this slightly slower and wiser – given that one thing that’s accelerated the problem is our hectic lives and our proximities and the frantic ways we go about things. Poetry is by definition consoling because it often asks us just to focus and think and be contemplative.’
To learn more of his thoughts – Friday evening 9.0pm
The following poem is written by Gary Clayton a member of Hayes Lane Baptist Church.
As we read it, we ask that God will help us to focus on what is said
In the year of plague, in the year of COVID, Like seeking our Daily Bread day-by-day, Each day we looked to God to provide, Each day we looked to God, to survive. Each day we shopped to live, not lived to shop.
In the year of grace, in the year of COVID, We didn’t ‘Give up church’ for Lent, But learned to ‘do’ church differently, Discovered that buildings close and meetings end, But the Church – the Body, not the building, goes on.
In the year of contact, in the year of COVID, Email, phone, letters, Skype, Zoom, Messenger, WhatsApp, Microsoft Meetings, These manmade messengers came into their own, Carrying our voices, words, thoughts and prayers To the homes of those – like us – forced to endure, Stay at home, or sally forth briefly, Hoping against hope that all would be well.
In the year of trial, in the year of COVID, Some comfort ate, and some got fit, Some went for a walk – or a run. Some sofa-surfed on crisp-strewn couches, Some grew their hair, while others grew apart.
In the year of fear, in the year of COVID, We saw far fewer cars, and even less people, Covered our noses and concealed our mouths. Felt dread when we coughed, Our eyes watered, or we felt unwell.
In the year, in the year, in the year 2020, We lost friends. Lost family. Lost contact, But gained something too. But when the time’s ended, And when the plague, the epidemic, the pandemic, The outbreak ends – will we have learned? Will we have changed? Or will we just… go back to normal?
Let us continue to pray that God will give wisdom to each one of us, to the churches, to our nation and to the world that we can all learn from the experience of this pandemic and that we can go into the future seeing things in a new way and much more from God’s perspective.
Unconditional Acceptance – Pete Greig – leading a short reflection on the App – Lectio 365
This week I am consciously making space for the Holy Spirit to challenge my lifestyle… … and shape my attitude towards the great biblical priority of hospitality.
As I enter prayer now, I pause to be still; to breathe slowly; to re-centre my scattered senses upon the presence of God.
Pause and pray
Prayer of Approach A prayer from the fifth century AD by Augustine of Hippo: Grant me, even me, my dearest Lord, to know you, and love you, and rejoice in you… Let the love of you grow every day more and more in me, that my joy may be full in you.*
Rejoice and Reflect I choose to rejoice today in the place God has planted me in, and the faith he has planted in me, joining with the ancient praise of all God’s people in the words of Psalm 52: I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love. I will praise you forever, O God, for what you have done. I will trust in your good name in the presence of your faithful people.
Pause and pray
Today’s reading opens a new vista, calling me to cultivate an equally accommodating attitude towards my brothers and sisters in Christ…. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Romans 15:5-7 In this beautiful benediction, the apostle Paul prays that my attitude towards other Christians would be as accepting as Christ’s attitude towards me. This is an extraordinarily low bar! Our unity is not to be based on believing precisely the same things; that would make us a sect; nor on behaving in precisely the same ways; that would make us a cult; but rather on belonging to the same Father through the unconditional acceptance of his son Jesus Christ: that is what makes us a family. As Nicky Gumbel says, ‘I used to look at other types of Christians and ask “What’s wrong with them?” But these days I ask “What’s right with them?” What can I learn from them? What do they have that I need?’ Why is it that I sometimes have more grace for non-Christians than I do for my brothers and sisters in Christ? Thinking now of a Christian who annoys me, I ask You Lord to give me eyes to see them the way You see them, and an ability to accept them the way You do too.
Pause and pray I thank God now for a church or a denomination other than my own, asking the Father to bless them, and enjoying the smile on His face as I do so. These days I ask “What’s right with them?” What can I learn from them? What do they have that I need?’
Yield As I return to the passage, I open my ears to hear Your Word, and my heart to yield to Your will once again. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Romans 15:5-7 It’s easy to miss the two key hinge phrases in this passage: ‘so that’ and ‘in order to’. Paul prays for unity ‘so that’ with one mind and voice we may glorify God and ‘in order to’ bring him praise. Whenever we acknowledge that there are indeed other rooms in the House of God, and other branches in his family tree, the result is praise and glory to the Lord. As the apostle John puts it, ‘If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.’
(1 John 4:12)
Pause and pray
Yielding Prayer Father, I give my front door key to You. My house is Your home. Bring whoever You want, whenever You want into my private space this week. Jesus, I relinquish my schedule to You. My days are in Your hands. Help me to welcome interruptions this week as gifts from You. Spirit, I surrender my possessions to You. All my stuff belongs to You. Help me this week to ‘share with the Lord’s people who are in need.’ (Rom. 12:13)
Yielding Promise And now, as I prepare to take this time of prayer into the coming day, the Lord who loves me speaks to me saying: Trust in me with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to me, and I will make your paths straight.
Closing Prayer Father, help me to live this day to the full, being true to You, in every way. Jesus, help me to give myself away to others, being kind to everyone I meet. Spirit, help me to love the lost, proclaiming Christ in all I do and say. Amen.
* Freely modified from Prayers of the Early Church, ed. J. Manning Potts, 1953