WEDNESDAY PRAYER

WEDNESDAY PRAYER 24th March 2021 

Psalm 83
How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, God of hosts.
My soul is longing and yearning, is yearning for the courts of the Lord.
My heart and my soul ring out their joy to God, the living God.
The sparrow herself finds a home and the swallow a nest for her brood;
She lays her young by your altars, Lord of hosts, my king and my God.
They are happy who dwell in your house, forever singing your praise.
They are happy whose strength is in you,
in whose hearts are the roads to Zion.
As they go through the Bitter Valley, they make it a place of springs.
They walk with ever growing strength,
they will see the God of gods in Zion.
O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer, give ear, O God of Jacob.
Turn your eyes, O God, our shield, look on the face of your anointed.
One day within your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.
The threshold of the house of God I prefer to the dwellings of the wicked.
For the Lord God is a rampart, a shield; he will give us his favour and glory.
The Lord will not refuse any good to those who walk without blame.
Lord God of hosts, happy the one who trusts in you!
LITANY OF PRAISE:
Lord, we place all our trust in you!
SCRIPTURE READING:  John 11:25-26

Jesus said:  I am the resurrection. Anyone who believes in me, even though that person dies, will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this ?

The gospel of the Lord.
REFLECTION:  (Henri Nouwen)
Human beings are forever wanting to see signs: marvellous, extraordinary, sensational events that can distract them a little from hard reality. We would like to see something marvellous, something exceptional, something that interrupts the ordinary life of every day. That way, if only for a moment, we can play hide-and-seek. But to those who say to Jesus: ‘Master, we should like to see a sign from you,’ he replies: ‘It is an evil and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign! The only sign it will be given is the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah remained in the belly of the sea monster for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights’.

               From this one can see what the authentic sign is: not some sensational miracle but the suffering, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. The great sign, which can be understood only by those who are willing to follow Jesus, is the sign of Jonah, who also wanted to run away from reality but was summoned back by God to fulfil his arduous task to the end. To look suffering and death straight in the face and to go through them oneself in the hope of a new God-given life: that is the sign of Jesus and of every human being who wishes to lead a spiritual life in imitation of him. It is the sign of the cross: the sign of suffering and death, but also of the hope for total renewal.

                The core message of Jesus is that real joy and peace can never be reached while bypassing suffering and death, but only by going right through them. We could say: We really have no choice. Indeed, who escapes suffering and death? Yet there is still a choice. We can deny the reality of life, or we can face it.  Jesus lived his life with the trust that God’s love is stronger than death and that death, therefore, does not have the last word. He invites us to face the painful reality of our existence with the same trust. This is what Lent is all about.

INTERCESSIONS:   Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer

CLOSING PRAYER:

You have the words of eternal life, Lord. You are the food and drink, you are the Way, the Truth and the Life. You are the light that shines in the darkness, the lamp on the lampstand, the house on the hilltop. You are the perfect Icon of God. In and through you, I can see the Heavenly Father, and with you, I can find my way to him.  Be my Lord, my Saviour, my Redeemer, my Guide, my Consoler, my Comforter, my Hope, my Joy and my Peace. To you I want to give all that I am. Let me give you all – all I have, do and feel. It is yours, O Lord. Please accept it and make it fully your own.  Amen.

WEDNESDAY PRAYER: 3RD MARCH 2021

Psalm 144
I will give you glory, O God my King, I will bless your name for ever.
I will bless you day after day and praise your name for ever.
The Lord is great, highly to be praised, his greatness cannot be measured.
Age to age shall proclaim your great works,
shall declare your mighty deeds, shall speak of your splendour and glory, tell the tale of your wonderful works.
They will speak of your terrible deeds, recount your greatness and might. They will recall your abundant goodness; age to age shall ring out your justice.
The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in love. How good is the Lord to all, compassionate to all his creatures.
All your creatures shall thank you, O Lord, and your friends shall repeat their blessing.
They shall speak of the glory of your reign and declare your might, O God.
LITANY OF PRAISE:
The response to our prayers of praise and thanks is:
Glory to you, O God my King!
SCRIPTURE READING:  John 5:39-44
You pore over the scriptures, believing that in them you can find eternal life; it is these scriptures that testify to me, and yet you refuse to come to me to receive life! Human glory means nothing to me. Besides, I know you too well: you have no love of God in you. I have come in the name of my Father and you refuse to accept me; if someone else should come in his own name you would accept him. How can you believe, since you look to each other for glory and are not concerned with the glory that comes from the one God?  The Gospel of the Lord
REFLECTION: (Henri Nouwen)
I have gradually become aware how central this word – glory – is in John’s Gospel. There is God’s glory, the right glory that leads to life. And there is human glory, the vain glory that leads to death. All through his Gospel John shows how we are tempted to prefer vain glory over the glory that comes from God. Human glory is always connected with some form of competition. Human glory is the result of being considered better, faster, more beautiful, more powerful or more successful than others. Glory conferred by people is glory which results from being favourably compared to other people. The better our scores on the scoreboard of life, the more glory we receive. This glory comes with upward mobility. The higher we climb the ladder of success, the more glory we collect. But this same glory also creates our darkness. Human glory, based on competition, leads to rivalry; rivalry carries within it the beginning of violence; and violence is the way to death. Thus, human glory proves to be vain glory, false glory, mortal glory.
How then do we come to see and receive God’s glory?  In his Gospel, John shows that God chose to reveal his glory to us in his humiliation. That is the good, but also disturbing, news. God, in his infinite wisdom, chose to reveal his divinity to us not through competition, but through compassion, that is, through suffering with us. God chose the way of downward mobility. Every time Jesus speaks about being glorified and giving glory, he always refers to his humiliation and death. It is through the way of the cross that Jesus gives glory to God, receives glory from God, and makes God’s glory known to us. The glory of the resurrection can never be separated from the glory of the cross. The risen Lord always shows us his wounds.

INTERCESSIONS:

Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer

CLOSING PRAYER:  (Henri Nouwen)

Lord, how often have I lived through these weeks of Lent without paying much attention to penance, fasting and prayer? How can I really celebrate Easter without observing Lent? How can I rejoice fully in your resurrection when I have avoided participating in your death?  Yes, Lord, I have to die – with you, through you, and in you – and thus become ready to recognise you when you appear to me in your resurrection. I see clearly how little I have died with you, really gone your way and been faithful to it. O Lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find you again. Amen.

WEDNESDAY PRAYER

21st October, 2020   

Psalm 85:  (From ‘Psalms Now’)
O God, you have indeed been good to us.
You have prospered our land. You have opened your heart to us in love.
You have forgiven our sins and adopted us as your children.
But now our country is in turmoil.
We no longer have confidence in our leaders. Our citizens are in revolt.
People are turning away from you and are being ensnared
by strange doctrines and godless philosophies.
We know that you have not turned away from us.
You touch with joy and peace the hearts that are open to you.
You stand ready to show your salvation to all who will trust in you.
As we speak to you in faith, you respond in loving concern.
You will give us what is good
and will prosper us with gifts from your hand.
You are holy and just. You love your children and will guide them
in your course for their lives.
Renew our faith, O God.
Forgive us our many failures and infidelities.
May our land continue to be a place where we can be free to love and serve you.
LITANY OF PRAISE:
Response to our prayers of praise and thanks is:
Lord, you are holy and just.
SCRIPTURE READINGPhilippians 4:4-9
Always be joyful in the Lord; I repeat, be joyful. Let your good sense be obvious to everybody.  The Lord is near. Never worry about anything; but tell God all your desires of every kind in prayer and petitions shot through with gratitude, and the peace of God which is beyond our understanding will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. Finally, let your minds be filled with everything that is true, everything that is honourable, everything that is upright and pure, everything that we love and admire – with whatever is good and praiseworthy.  Keep doing everything you learnt from me and were told by me and have heard or seen me doing.  Then the God of peace will be with you.
The word of the Lord.

REFLECTION:  (Henri Nouwen)
To pray means to open your hands before God. It means slowly relaxing the tension which squeezes your hands together and accepting your existence with an increasing readiness, not as a possession to defend, but as a gift to receive. Above all, prayer is a way of life which allows you to find a stillness in the midst of the world where you open your hands to God’s promises and find hope for yourself, your neighbour and your world.  In prayer, you encounter God not only in the small voice and  the soft breeze, but also in the midst of the turmoil of the world, in the distress and joy of your neighbour and in the loneliness of your own heart. Prayer leads you to see new paths and to hear new melodies in the air. Prayer is the breath of your life which gives you freedom to go and to stay where you wish and to find the many signs which point out the way to a new land. Praying is not some necessary compartment in the daily schedule of a Christian or a source of support in time of need, nor is it restricted to Sunday mornings or mealtimes.  Praying is living. It is eating and drinking, action and rest, teaching and learning, playing and working.  Praying pervades every aspect of our lives. It is the unceasing recognition that God is wherever we are, always inviting us to come closer and to celebrate the divine gift of being alive.
In the end, a life of prayer is a life with open hands where we are not ashamed of our weakness but realise that it is more perfect for us to be led by the Other than to try to hold everything in our own hands.
INTERCESSIONS: Lord in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
CLOSING PRAYER:
Dear Lord, I do not know where you are leading me.
I do not even know what my next day,
my next week or my next year will look like.
As I try to keep my hands open,
I trust that you will put your hand in mine and bring me home.
Thank you, Lord, for your love.  Thank you.  Amen.

UNIVERSAL PRAYER – 30th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Let us ask the help of God our Father, for He is our rock, our refuge and our mighty stronghold.
For Pope Francis, the Vicar of Christ here on earth, that, through the power of the Spirit, the Lord will give him the strength and the courage to complete the reforms he has already begun and reward him for his deeds of merciful love: we pray to the Lord.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
For the negotiators from our government and from the European Community, that the present Brexit talks may lead to a restoration of trust between the nations and a deep resolve to find solutions to the differences that threaten our future lives: we pray to the Lord.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
For the rising number of Coronavirus victims, both young and old, that the dead will be at peace and the survivors helped to recover through the skill and compassion of their doctors and carers: we pray to the Lord.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
For the families unable to meet together because of the severe COVID restrictions, that their loneliness and anxiety will be softened by the constant and loving concern of relatives, friends and neighbours: we pray to the Lord.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
For all God’s children, that we may set aside our fears and grow in our understanding of the love of the Father who created us, the love of the Son who died for us and the love of the Spirit who dwells in our hearts: we pray to the Lord.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
For Fr.Emeka and all the members of our parish community, that we may all be alive and alert to the needs of others and respond with generous hearts, loving words and practical help: we pray to the Lord.
Lord, in our mercy . . . Hear our prayer
Let us ask for the help and guidance of our Mother, Mary: Hail Mary . . .
Let us make our own prayers for all whom we know to be in special need of God’s healing love today.

God our Father, listen to our prayers and give us the courage and the enthusiasm to work together for the coming of Your Kingdom of truth and life, holiness and grace, justice, love and peace. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.