The story is recounted of a small study group which was hosted each week in a different member's home. The host would provide refreshments and also lead the opening prayer. In spite of being an incredible host and caring in all sorts of ways for the members of her group one lady was terrified at the thought of praying in front of people. Finally on one occasion she told the pastor, 'Tonight's the night, I'm going to pray.' Everyone came, they snacked and talked and when it was time to start they waited, and waited... Visibly shaking with tears in her eyes their host prayed quietly, 'Lord, help! Amen.'
What a perfect prayer it acknowledges that God reigns and remains in control (Lord); that by ourselves we cannot sort everything (help); in trust we travel believing that God is active and able to work all things for good (Amen — so be it).
In all the talk and daily briefings we encounter at the moment I find the absence of any reference to faith/prayer a glaring omission. In the history of our country when crises have been encountered those in leadership have called us to pray. For example, King George VI called for a National Day of Prayer during World War II. It took place on Sunday 26th May 1940 and saw the King together with members of the cabinet alongside millions of others gather in cathedrals and churches to join in prayer. The then Prime Minister Winston Churchill stated that maybe 20,000 to 30,000 might escape back to England. In the event, by a series of what even commentators not professing faith describe as 'miracles' over 300,000 were saved.
On Palm Sunday the crowds that accompanied Jesus on the road, and into Jerusalem called out 'Hosanna! Hosanna!' or 'Save now! Save now!' At this unique place in the history of the world might we as people of faith rise up afresh humbly acknowledging our need of help from the One who is sovereign and call out, 'Save now! Save now!' Scripture affirms that when we turn to God in our need He listens and answers (e.g. Psalm 66:19)
One visible way in which we might give expression to our prayer is to place our palm cross in a window this week. Who knows the difference it might make to those who pass by.
In all that life holds for each of you at the moment may you know the presence of the God who saves and travels with you on the way.
With love and prayers,
Worship for Sunday 5th April 2020 — click on link
(for a sheet to use with families see www.rootsontheweb.com/lectionary/2020/106-march-april-2020-a/palm-sunday/worshipathome#families)
— Live on St Ives Facebook Page — This Sunday you can find a live reflection with Nick being broadcast on St Ives Facebook Page — there will also be time to pray and to comment along if you wish.
— On Huntingdon's Facebook Page ¬- Look out for another 'Pause for Thought' from James.
Watch this space
- Is there a song or a story which is sustaining you through these days? Why not email the details to James (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can include it in future sheets.
- Would you like to give a shout-out to others — send a message via email and we'll include it.
- Keep calm, stop and pray. If you can look out on our various Twitter and Facebook pages for updated information and possibilities for connecting in a new way.
- We do hope to be able to offer an online possibilities for connecting in the coming days — more information to follow.
'The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.'
Philippians 4: 5 — 6
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