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Prayer Prompt for London
.... for moments like these

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...around the table
The Churches of London Series
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Register Now!
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An Update from The London Child & Youth Network
I’m Drawing God! (HUMOUR)

Published April 2020

Submitted by CCNL (Christian Churches Network of London)

Let's be honest with each other. It has been a really scary few weeks- somewhat like being on a roller coaster that we cannot get off. Our personal lives, our city, our world have been turned upside down. Each day, more new information. Each hour, more changing expectations. Each moment, more new decisions to make in unknown territory. For many of us, we have not experienced anything comparable in our lifetime. We encourage you to keep praying together for fellow Londoners, as many of you did last Wednesday on the day of prayer for London, and hopefully will continue to do every single day, many times a day.

Shane Claiborne (who was to have spoken at the CCNL Citywide Prayer Breakfast this past week) has a beautiful image of praying in one of his books about prayer:

"A wise elder said prayer is like a young child playing at the feet of her grandma. She doesn't have to say or do anything to please her grandma, who is quite content to watch her play. And the most beautiful moment is when the child starts to grow tired - she just crawls into grandma's lap to be rocked, to hear a lullaby, to feel a kiss on the forehead and the warm embrace of love. We love these images of prayer as a deep, intimate relationship with God. When we sit back and think about prayer in quiet moments, this is the sort of experience we long for. But it is hard to remember these images - harder still to imagine what they look like, in the face of urgent needs and tragic loss."

Let's just pause and rest in that image for a minute or two..... and welcome the love of God to fill our hearts and minds. We likely will need to hold on to that closeness and comfort at times in some difficult days to come.

Lord God, we pray together for London in these challenging moments.
In moments like these, it is healthy to practice the discipline of gratitude.
  • Philippians 4:6-7 tells us " Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."

  • We thank you God for both our city's and our country's leaders - in governments, in businesses, in healthcare, in education, in social services, in ministries and in churches - all have had to make hard, rapid fire decisions every single day. We thank you for their steadfast vigilance day after day, trying to comprehend both possible short-term and long-term implications of every choice that is made. We commend them to your sovereign care - let us not be critical - please guard our words. Give each leader much strength, courage, renewed energy, imagination - physically, intellectually, and emotionally. Give them wise counselors, sharp minds, and much perseverance.

  • We thank you, God, especially for our medical and healthcare personnel at all levels. We depend on them because they willingly give themselves to our care - doctors, nurses, PSWs, paramedics, technicians, lab workers, researchers, HR schedulers, cleaners, and the thousands of "in between" workers that make it all happen. Protect them from harm. Protect their families. God, when we are anxious and afraid, we know that we can become easily impatient or demanding, willing to lay blame. Guard those in healthcare from discouraged spirits when this happens. Give us encouraging, kind, thoughtful words to share. For those healthcare workers that we know personally - neighbors, friends, or family - let us find ways to support them well in both in words and in actions and ask how we can help best.

  • We thank you, God, for the many grocery store and drug store workers that have become essential front line services for us all. In this crazy week, as we all entered unexpected new realities, they too have worked long hours, faced anxious customers, met multitudes of needs. They also need rest, protection, and encouragement.

  • We thank you for those who are working from home and juggling family life/work life in new ways. Give them patience and focus to try to figure it all out. Not easy, God....truly not a vacation, as for many it will require brand new ways of looking at how they do their jobs effectively in times like these.

  • We thank you for the many others, God, that we do not see or think to appreciate, but whose work is essential to the functioning of our world: the truck drivers and delivery systems; the legal profession with looming deadlines, whether it is closing house sales, or contractual agreements; our financial institutions; our technology experts and media communicators that keep us connected and informed; our safety and security personnel like police and firefighters who cannot possibly work from home. Thank you for them all.

  • We thank you for the many levels of employers, who bear the immediate brunt of financial risks in this uncertainty, who care for their employees, and have to sort out what to do or not to do and discern what they could do in the future - such complexities of decisions. Please God, give them wisdom.

    In moments like these, it is healthy to clarify our own roles of caring for others in our city and in our families, by working together, becoming part of your answers to prayer in our community of London:

  • We pray for the children. They look to us as adults in their worlds to help them sort out what is happening. Routines have changed. Global pandemics are difficult enough for us as adults to comprehend let alone for children. Keep fear away. Give parents such extra sensitivity to the unspoken anxiety of children who cannot verbalize their fears well. Give parents extra patience as day are long and boundaries are not easy. Help them to rest in the uncertainty of the world not being "normal' in coming months. We pray for our teenagers as well - it is an uncertain period of life at the best of times. Now, when their future hopes, their schooling, their emotional independence, their need for social interdependence is greatest - it must all seem muddled and hazy and threatened, please guard their heart and minds, God. Lord, we pray too for protection of children with reduced immune systems or special health needs. And for those kids who need extra care in difficult home situations - for workers at the Children's Aid Society and other agencies/ people that seek to provide support, resources, and protection in times of need - now more than ever, families are under pressure.

  • We pray for those who are older and/or medically vulnerable that seem to be most at risk in all of this. For those who live alone God, give them thoughtful neighbours and/or family who act a support system watching over them and meeting their needs. For those in long-term care and retirement homes who are separated for now from family, please fill their lonely moments. We pray for their caregivers who need extra strength and protection in giving diligent care. Spur us to make sure we call, help with groceries, drop off care packages, provide connection however we can and still be wise and cautious in the process.

  • We pray for the homeless and economically and/or emotionally vulnerable due to addictions and mental health. Hard lives, experiencing more difficult circumstances, without adequate resources or social supports. Many already experience much anxiety and are "socially distanced" from those who can help. Father, may safe places be found for them to stay lost sheep who need the protection of good equipped shepherds in time of danger. We pray for those agencies and ministries who are working at capacity and beyond - that we, as a community will now, more than ever, financially support them abundantly as they step into this crisis. They need our help and they need our prayers and they need to fund it all.

  • We pray for those who are new Canadians without strong networks or supports here, and already feel somewhat isolated because of language and differing cultures. Many of them have experienced much trauma in their past already - war, poverty, loss of home and family connections. Honor their concerns for loved ones still "back home" who may be even more vulnerable now. Provoke us, God, to reach out to these precious people, especially as xenophobia rises in parts of the world . We may not be able to share a coffee right now - but can we offer phone conversations, compassion, assistance, concern in new ways? We don't know what to do in these difficult days and ask for your help God to lead us.

  • We pray for pastors, ministry leaders, and staff members in our faith communities who are trying to figure out how to still be "at the table together" in spiritual community while not gathered physically in one place. The learning curve in technology is steep and they are being stretched. Connect people with skills and knowledge with those who need the skills, please God to facilitate furthering of your Kingdom in new ways.

  • We pray for those who face potential job loss and lack of income to meet their financial needs in coming weeks and months. None of us know what this is going to look like. Make all of us aware of these concerns and realities. Now more than ever, a community will need to rise to care for one another.

    In moments like these, we need to quieten our hearts and minds and turn to our God. We invite you to pray through this section like a conversation with God, because that is what prayer actually is! Listen carefully to some of God's answers back to us from Scripture.

  • Isaiah 40:28-31 says " Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." God, we praise you that you do know what is happening in our world, and that you see and understand our weakness and fear. We do indeed feel somewhat powerless in all of this and ask that you will help us to be both responsive and responsible, trusting you through it all. Give us new strength.

  • Fear is an unreliable emotion. Help us God to acknowledge our fears and worries, and bring them to you hourly, daily.Matthew 6:34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today." That certainly seems true right now! God knows that. Isaiah 41:10 says this: "Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you." There may be days ahead when we do not feel this way - physically, financially, emotionally, or socially - when we do not feel strong, when we will feel lost and confused, when we are definitely unsteady. May we turn back to you in those times, like the young child curled up in the safety of a grandmother's lap, needing your reassurance that, despite the storm around us, it is well with our souls in your care.

  • We pray that you will continue to work in us to grow us into becoming all you created us to be you, God, even in the midst of a pandemic. Romans 5: 3-5 says: There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

  • We thank you Lord, for the hope of Easter - let us not forget the power of a Risen Christ. Romans 5 goes on to say: "Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!"

    Shout out your thanks to God.

Lord, hear our prayers for this city of London . Thanks for praying with us.