“They left for their own country by another road” (Mt 2:12)
Beyond the familiar routes of separation to God’s new paths
God of the good path: be my guide today, I pray. There are people I know from whom I pray also – show them the way too, I ask. And in the world around, I pray for the Ukraine and the rising tensions and threat of battle. For the people of Ukraine I pray: may they not be threatened by the powers that be, and be given peace as must as possible. This I plead, Guiding Spirit.
Gracious God, when we only know one way and we think we must return to it, and when we think that all roads are blocked, and we fall into despair, we always find you there. You are the God of renewed promises. We find you creating a new path before us, one that we did not expect. We thank you because you exceed our expectations. We thank you for your wisdom that surpasses our understanding. We thank you because your creative paths open up unforeseen possibilities. If we search our maps and find no route, nonetheless we always find you, who lead us by a yet more excellent way. We pray through Jesus Christ our Lord, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, that you will always lead us back to you. Amen.
“Ahead of them went the star that they had seen at its rising” (Mt 2:9)
Guided by the one Lord
O Faithful Guide, I give thanks today for the help I have gotten to show me the way. I am grateful for the ways I have learned to find true guidance from You, in prayer and thought, in the written Word, in the things happening around me each day, and from the experience and teachings of history. I pray today for Your good, strong guidance in the lives of others. This weekend, may Your will and Your way be made know to the folks of the Clementsvale Baptist Church: bless them on their path of faith.
O Lord God our Father, you sent the star to lead the Magi to your only begotten Son. Increase our hope in you and let us know at all times that you are walking with us, watching over your people. Teach us to follow the guidance of your Holy Spirit, however strange the path may seem, so that we may be led to our unity in Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Open our eyes to your Spirit, and encourage us in our faith, so that we may confess that Jesus is Lord, and worship and rejoice in him as the Magi did in Bethlehem. We ask you these blessings in the name of your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
“And you, Bethlehem … are by no means least” (Mt 2:6)
Though small and suffering, we lack nothing
Jesus, our One Master, I have heard from time to time about how many thousands of Christian denominations there are. I hear in the news about cruelty and abuse done by churches and leaders all over the world. I read of the decline of Christianity in Canada every year. What is going on, Jesus? Where can I see the wonderful work You are doing to reconcile the world to Yourself? Sometimes, Master, I am discouraged.
Good Shepherd, the fragmentation of the little flock grieves your Holy Spirit. Forgive our weak efforts and slowness in the pursuit of your will. Give us wise shepherds after your own heart who recognise the sin of division, and who will lead the churches with righteousness and holiness, to unity in you. We ask you, Lord, to hear our prayer. Amen.
“When king Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him” (Mt 2:3)
The presence of Christ, turning the world upside down
King Jesus, I can see every week the many human forces and their attempts at control. I know about so much criticism of leaders in politics, in religion, in communities, in healthcare, and so on. I want to be a good citizen, but also a wise one. Help me encourage those who are doing well. Help me also not be overwhelmed by the troubles of the world and the huge challenges of making things better.
O Lord, you have guided us out of darkness to Jesus. You have illumined the star of hope in our lives. Help us to be united in our commitment to bring about your Reign of love, justice and peace and so to be the light of hope to all those living in the darkness of despair and disillusionment. Take our hand, Lord, so we can see you in our daily lives. As we follow you, remove our fear and anxiety. Shine your light upon us and set our hearts on fire so that your love surrounds us with warmth. Lift us up to you, you who have emptied yourself for our sake, so that our lives may glorify you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
“Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2)
Humble leadership breaks down walls and builds up with love
Jesus, my King and my God, I bow to You in prayer today, adoring and honouring You. ‘Lead me, Lord, lead me in Your righteousness; make Your way plain before my face.’ Our Church is closed in so many ways, right now. Our own Annual Meeting is likely postponed for a while. Help the leaders carry on on behalf of the whole congregation, in creative ways, and help me do my part in the body of Christ here.
God, our only refuge and strength, we glorify you for you are a just and righteous God. We confess before you that we often covet worldly models of leadership. Help us to seek our Lord Jesus Christ not in the palaces of the powerful but in the humble manger and to emulate him in his meekness. Encourage us to empty ourselves as we serve each other in obedience to you.
We pray in the name of Christ who with you and with the Holy Spirit reigns forever in glory. Amen.
“We observed his star in the East” (Matthew 2:2)
Raise us up and draw us to your perfect light
Three in One God: Abba, Jesus, Spirit – the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins today, so with millions around the world I pray today. The prayers and thoughts for this week were prepared in the Middle East, in Beirut, so I pray for the believers there, that they may be strengthened and inspired in this week, amid the troubles they face.
Lord God, illumine our path by the light of Christ who moves before us and leads us. Enlighten us and dwell within us. Guide us to discover a small manger in our hearts where a great light still sleeps. Creator of light, we thank you for the gift of that unfading Star, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. May he be a beacon for our pilgrimage. Heal our divisions and
draw us closer to the Light that we may find our unity in him. Amen.