Month of Prayer

The Archbishops of the Church of England are encouraging people to pray during the month of February and lift the nation and the world in prayer. People are encouraged to pray in the comfort of their own home at a time that suits them, but the Archbishops will be praying each day at 6 pm.

As a Benefice, we will be joining in with private prayer at 6 pm, but also continuing with our daily Night Prayer services on YouTube, incorporating continued prayers for the nation at that time. If you would find it more helpful to join in with a ‘led’ service, that might be a better option. You can watch at any time on the Cinderford Churches YouTube Channel or watch live at 9 pm each evening (and Morning Prayer at 9 am, Monday to Friday).

Richard and Linda Blagg have put together these prayers that may help guide your personal prayer time.

Prayers and Readings for these difficult times
The Lord said I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt… and I am concerned about their suffering. Exodus 3:7

Crying out to God in this time of trouble
Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.
Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our ancestors trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried, and were saved;
in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.
But I am a worm, and not human;
scorned by others, and despised by the people. All who see me mock at me;
they make mouths at me, they shake their heads; “Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver—
let him rescue the one in whom he delights!”
Yet it was you who took me from the womb;
you kept me safe on my mother’s breast.
On you I was cast from my birth,
and since my mother bore me you have been my God.
Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.

Coming in to God’s presence – seeking forgiveness
Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your disciples, ‘I am with you always’.
Be with me today, as I offer myself to you.
Hear my prayers for others and for myself, and keep me in your care.

Psalm 130
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning
more than those who watch for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.
It is he who will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities.

Prayer suggestion
Almighty God, I confess that I have often misused and ill-treated your creation:
hear me, and in your mercy save and help me.

For every act of carelessness that has treated the world merely as a playground:
Father, forgive.

For every act of wastefulness that forgets the crying of the needy:
Father, forgive.

For every act of selfishness that defies your just rule over our lives:
Father forgive.

Cleanse me from my sins through the love of Christ, and set me free for your service through
the power of the Spirit; for the glory of your name. Amen.

Your own prayers ….

God’s reassurance
Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.

He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil;
for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.

Prayer suggestion
We are not people of fear:
we are people of courage.
We are not people who protect our own safety: we are people who protect our neighbours’ safety. We are not people of greed:
we are people of generosity.
We are your people God,
giving and loving,
wherever we are,
whatever it costs.
For as long as it takes
wherever you call us.

Your own prayers …

Our Neighbours
Psalm 24:1

The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;

Luke 10:25-28
Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”

Prayer suggestion
Lord Jesus Christ,
you taught us to love our neighbour,
and to care for those in need
as if we were caring for you.
In this time of anxiety, give us strength
to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick,
and to assure the isolated and housebound, of our love, and your love.

Your own prayers…

NHS staff and carers
Jeremiah 32:17

Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.”

Psalm 91
You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.

Prayer suggestion
God who heals, we pray for all medical professionals and support staff dealing daily with the intense pressures of this crisis. Grant them resilience in weariness, discernment in decision making, and compassion upon compassion as they care.
We thank you for the army of researchers continuing to develop and manufacture vaccines – give them clarity in their work. Would you rise above this present darkness as the Sun of Righteousness with healing in your rays.

Your own prayers…

Local Community
Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.

The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Come, behold the works of the Lord;
see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.

“Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Prayer suggestions
Gracious Lord in this time of change and anxiety,
we ask that neighbourhoods may be places of trust and friendship.
Places where all are known and cared for.
That we would know your presence around us prompting us in caring for others and helping with their needs.
We ask your blessing on our local community.
On all who have lost their employment,
and all who are struggling to keep their businesses going.
In their darkness, be their light;
in their anxiety, be their hope.

Heavenly Father we bring before you all who provide local services in this community.
Those who remove our rubbish and clean our streets,
all shop keepers, postal workers and those in the hospitality industry.
Those who provide delivery services and those providing for our medical, mental and wellbeing needs
Those in the Fire Service, paramedics, and first responders and all those in the Ambulance and Police Service.
We thank you for their skill and dedication and for being prepared to risk their own safety for others.

We think of those elected members of local councils, those holding a particular office
and community leaders in County, District, and town councils.
May they always seek to serve well the people in each of their communities.

Your own prayers…

Ephesians 6:18
Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.

Psalm 139:1-7
O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.
Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?

Psalm 145
I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you,
and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable.

Prayer suggestion
Lord, you call us to speak to you in prayer– even when the places we would usually go to are not available. Help us to know your Spirit’s presence wherever we pray.
We ask for your guidance for your church, the body of Christ, at this difficult time, when people are unable to meet together in communion and fellowship.
We lift to you church leaders and ourselves;
Give them and us wisdom, vision, and knowledge to overcome these difficulties enabling us to meet and share together in different and meaningful ways.

Your own prayers…

Ecclesiastes 12:9-10

Besides being wise, the Teacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs. The Teacher sought to find pleasing words, and he wrote words of truth plainly.

Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Prayer suggestion
We lift to you Lord, children and young people who are struggling to adapt to ways of learning at the moment. Teachers, lecturers and all school, college and university staff who are trying to stay safe and look after those in their care.
We think of all who continue to teach their children at home, for mums and dads who have become teacher, help and guide them through this stressful time.
May they all seek you and know your peace.

Your own prayers…

Friends and Family
Psalm 127:1,2

Unless the Lord builds a house,
the work of the builders is wasted.
Unless the Lord protects a city,
guarding it with sentries will do no good.
It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night,
anxiously working for food to eat;
for God gives rest to his loved ones.

Mark 10:13-16
People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

Prayer suggestion
Lord, we thank you that you so designed our lives that we should reflect your love, care and compassion;
for the sense of wholeness that you bring to our lives and for the realisation that dawns upon us, that without you there is no life that is complete.
You are the source of all that is good and true and wholesome in the lives of our friends and family.
We thank you for the strength you give when times are hard and for the encouragement we receive when we are facing times of distress and despair.
We thank you for those who support us through good times and bad, and for those who remain faithful to each other no matter the cost.
We praise you Lord, for sharing our sadness and our sorrow and for understanding us when we are at the point of breaking. We ask that you will fill us with the joy and the sense of anticipation of being members of your family, with whom, we will worship you through all eternity.

Your own prayers…

The ill and suffering
Psalm 139:7-14

Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.

Jeremiah 32:17
Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and
outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.

Prayer suggestion
We think of all those we know who are ill;
those who will never recover;
those who wait with them;
those who are overwhelmed by the burden of caring for sick or elderly relatives; those seeking healing of the body and those in need of the healing of their minds; those who have lost their memory and live out of touch with real life.
May they know your healing power and peace. Amen.

Heavenly Father,
as the church of Jesus Christ, may we become channels of your healing grace.
Touch our lives with your Holy Spirit so that our healing will bring hope to others.
We ask that you Lord, will make us whole people, heal our brokenness and transform our relationship with you and each other. Amen.

Your own prayers…

Giving thanks and praise to God
2 Corinthians 1:10
He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.

Psalm 66:20
Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me.

Prayer suggestion
How generous is your goodness, O God, how great is your salvation, how faithful is your love; help us to trust you in trial and praise you in deliverance; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Your own prayers…