Persistence in prayer

Preached on: Sunday 4th October 2020
There is no sermon text or Powerpoint pdfs available for this sermon.
Bible references: Luke 18:1-8
Location: Brightons Parish Church

Prayer as relationship

Preached on: Sunday 27th September 2020
The sermon text is given below or can be download by clicking on the “PDF” button above. Additionally, you can download the PowerPoint PDF by clicking here 20-09-27-Message-PPT-slides.
Bible references: Psalm 27:1-8, 13-14
Location: Brightons Parish Church

Text: Psalm 27:1-8, 13-14
Sunday 27th September 2020
Brightons Parish ChurchMessage
Let us take a moment to pray before we think about God’s Word.

May the words of my mouth, and the meditation of all our hearts, be pure and pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, our strength and our redeemer. Amen.

I wonder how you responded to the news this week about the extra restrictions? I wonder how you felt as we awaited that news being released? I suspect there’s a broad range of reaction and feeling associated with what we’ve heard, and many of us may have a sense that the crisis continues, that these unprecedented days have carried now beyond six months and their end…well, we just don’t know when that will be.
In this midst of it all, we might be asking “where is God? What’s He up to?” These are questions and emotions that the people of God across the ages have felt and asked. Indeed, David, who wrote the psalm we read today, he was in a crisis, for he faced people who were bent on doing evil towards him, ready to go to war, ready to show savagery and devour him, like a pack of wild beasts ready to pounce and bring him low. David faces his own crisis, and we face ours, each just as life threatening, each just as potentially unsettling. Yet I’m struck by David’s posture, his reaction, the emotions that flow through him, for twice he speaks of his confidence, he says:
‘…though war break out against me, even then I will be confident… I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.’ (v3, 13)

In the midst of his crisis, David still has a confidence, a feeling of security. I wonder if we do? I wonder where, or to whom, we go when life seems too much to handle? Is it a spouse or a close friend, a trusted advisor, or parents? I’m sure David was surrounded by all such people, yet his confidence comes from another source, his confidence comes from another relationship, it comes from his intimate relationship with God, the Lord.

Notice what David says in verse 1: ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?’ (v1) David knows God, but in a very relational way – this is not simply head knowledge, information about God, but rather it is a reality that David knows for himself. ‘The Lord is MY light and MY salvation…the Lord is the stronghold of MY life.’ At the heart of biblical faith, is not a list of rules, nor expectation of duty, but a relationship with the living God and David draws upon what he knows of God as he faces his crisis.

So he says, ‘the Lord is my light’ – the Lord dispels the darkness of fear, the Lord lights the way ahead, and in the light of His presence and love…life, hope, faith is revived and helped to flourish.

But the Lord is also ‘my salvation’ – the One who can deliver me and rescue me – and the Lord is also his ‘stronghold’, ‘the stronghold of [his] life’, that place of security. In the Lord then, David receives protective presence and care, and it this very relationship which allows David to maintain a confidence, without fear, but also without minimising the realities either.

I wonder, do you have that confidence? In the midst of our crisis, in the midst of whatever crisis you may be individually facing, is there a quiet confidence in who God is? God doesn’t promise to fix all our problems now, and yet the Lord’s people over the centuries have affirmed His unchanging nature, that in Him they have found light and salvation and a place of refuge, a stronghold, even in the greatest and darkest of times. I wonder, do you share in that? Or, do you want to share in that?

C. S. Lewis tells of his experience standing in a dark shed on a sunny day. Through a chink in the wall a sunbeam probed its way into the dark interior of the shed and Lewis suggests it is two quite different things to look at the beam of light and how it interacts with the dark, illuminating only a small part of the shed, or to step into the light and look along the beam to its source. If you want to share in the confidence of David, you need to come into the light, the light that comes from a relationship with God, a relationship that we pursue and invest time in, a relationship that is personal to you, and not confined to four walls on a Sunday morning. Because when we step into the light and seek the Lord, although it may be dark within the walls of our shed, although our very lives may be dark, there is still light and it bathes our whole perspective when we look to its source.
I wonder, are you someone who is looking in from the side? Do you see a beam of light, but you’re simply looking on? Maybe you see it in another’s life, maybe you see it in the Scriptures, but this relationship with God, this knowledge of God, is external to you, it’s not your experience. If that’s you, how can we change that reality? How can we step into the light? Well, let’s turn to David’s example once more.

He writes: ‘One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple…
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.’ (v4, 14)

In these verses of his psalm, David gives us a window into how he pursues this relationship with God, and we see there a prayerful waiting, a prayerful seeking, of the Lord. David does this by spending time in the presence of God, which for him, at his particular point in history, meant going to the central place of worship, the tabernacle. So, David would seek the presence of God, in a prayerful way, by giving time to this.

But in that time, David would also ‘gaze on the beauty of the Lord’ – and this is language which speaks of a steady, sustained focus, rather than a one-time glimpse, and during this time instead of asking the Lord for things, David is praising and admiring and enjoying God, for who God is. David finds God captivating, not just useful for getting stuff. In spending time with the Lord in prayer, resting in His presence and appreciating who He is, David cultivates confidence, a contentment which carried him through many a crisis.

Again, I wonder, does this describe us? Is this part of our prayer life? Do we know how to slow down and wait in the presence of God, wait in such a manner that we enjoy Him? It could be argued, based on the Lord’s Prayer, that this is where we should start, for Jesus said to pray, ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.’ In one line, Jesus echoes David, for in these familiar words, which we often rush past, we call to mind who God is and we hallow Him, we admire, we enjoy, we praise Him.

But unlike David, we don’t need a temple or a sacred place, because Jesus in His death made a way for us to come directly to God, and in the sending of the Holy
Spirit, we are enabled to know God and meet with God. Indeed, Jesus would say, ‘I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you for ever – the Spirit of truth…you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.’ (John 14:16-17) At the heart of biblical faith, is a direct, immediate relationship with God, where you can relate to Him as the perfect Father, and so share in the confidence of David.

I want to give you now the prayer for this week, a prayer that my own minister, Kenny Borthwick, shared in a parish magazine some 8 years ago, yet it has stuck with me ever since and I keep turning to it, especially in the hard times, and I can do that because it’s only one line. It reads: ‘Abba, beloved Father, I belong to You, I am Your son, and I bring You great joy.’

My encouragement to you this week, is to take 5 minutes each day, and pray this line. Talk with God about each word, talk with Him about the words you find hard, talk with Him about the wonderful reality that is captured in these words. Also, can I encourage you to pray it out loud? In our psalm, David said, ‘Hear my voice when I call, Lord.’ David spoke out and there is something powerful, life-giving when we pray directly to God and speak out. I’m not asking you to do it in front of people, but the things we believe and hold dear, are the things we put into words, and same is true in our relationship with God.
So, I encourage you to speak out this prayer this week.
Why don’t we take a moment to pray this together, and I’m going to move into a more comfortable seat.
(PAUSE)

Here we are in my livingroom, in the seat I sit in each morning to spend time with God, and from time to time I’ll use that line. But I’ll also use it when I’m out walking Hector in the woods and fields. Use it where you see fit, use it where you need and want to connect with God, but let us pray it now. Let us pray.
(SHORT PRAYER)

Prayer for one another

Preached on: Sunday 20th September 2020
The sermon text is given below or can be download by clicking on the “PDF” button above. Additionally, you can download the PowerPoint PDF by clicking here 20-09-20-Message-PPT-slides.
Bible references: Ephesians 1:1-18, 15-17
Location: Brightons Parish Church

Text: Ephesians 1:1-18, 15-17
Sunday 20th September 2020
Brightons Parish Church
Message
Let us take a moment to pray before we think about God’s Word.

May the words of my mouth, and the meditation of all our hearts, be pure and pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, our strength and our redeemer. Amen.

We’re halfway through our series on prayer, responding to this call from the Lord to grow as a people of prayer, that His purpose for us – to ‘invite, encourage and enable people to follow Jesus’ – might be realised in our day and in our community. We’ve seen the importance and value of the Lord’s Prayer, how it can shape us and help us know what to pray.

Then on Tuesday night of last week, I put into practice what I’d preached on, taking to the streets of Brightons and prayer walking, for about half an hour, as a means of praying for others If you missed the live event, you can still watch the recording on our YouTube channel, and it might give you ideas, or a flavour, of what prayer walking can be like.

In that time of prayer, it was my privilege to pray for the wider community, but I also got to pray for our church family, for people who identify with Brightons, who say this is their spiritual home This call from the Lord to pray, is also a call to pray for one another and that’s the focus of our reflections this morning.

In the letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul mentions “Father” and “prayer” more times than in any of his other letters. It seems that having God as our Father, and belonging to His family, should result in prayer. Later in the letter, Paul says: ‘…be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.’ (Eph. 6:18)

Part of the reason why Paul will again and again weave together having God as our Father with prayer for the family of God is because of what Father God was doing through His Son Jesus. Paul writes: ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ…’ (Eph. 1:3-5)

Paul is saying that it is in the nature of God to draw people into relationship, into His family Before the creation of the world, there was Father, Son and Holy Spirit existing in perfect community and from the overflow of their love they sought to extend that community, to have a family, a people that were their own. And so, God made choices, God made a plan, God acted intentionally, with purpose, exerting His will so that one day you might have the invitation to come into the family of God.

Friends, in this passage, in the Scriptures as a whole, the goodness of God is revealed, for we have a heavenly Father who seeks us and pursues us. He is not distant, He is not cold or austere, but rather He delights in you, He loves you so greatly that His Son died for you. I wonder, do you have this relationship with God? Have you responded to God’s invitation?

If you have, you’re now part of the family of God, bought at a price, dear and precious to the Father, and so, we should treat each other that way as well. Often, we can misunderstand church thinking it’s just another club or a group to belong to. Because of that it’s easy to take one another for granted, or just to be surface level in our care for each other. But Paul models something different: Paul earnestly gives himself away for the church – Paul gives his time, Paul serves, Paul encourages and underpinning it all Paul prays for the family of God.
So, here’s the invitation for this week of prayer. Remember, I said each week we’d have something to pray or do. Well, this week I invite you to turn to Ephesians and use one of Paul’s prayers. You can find them in Ephesians chapter 1 verses 15-17, and Ephesians chapter 3 verses 16-19.

Take one or both of these prayers and pray them for our congregation and for our organisations. Pray them for your Pastoral Grouping. Pray them for our Boys and Girls Brigades, as well as our Sunday School groups. Because we are family, we are part. of the family of God because of Jesus, because of the love of Father God, and so He calls us all to reflect His love to one another, by caring enough to pray. May it be so. Amen.

Prayer for neighbour

Preached on: Sunday 13th September 2020
The sermon text is given below or can be download by clicking on the “PDF” button above. Additionally, you can download the PowerPoint PDF by clicking here 20200913powerpoint.
Bible references: Jeremiah 29:1-14
Location: Brightons Parish Church

Text: Jeremiah 29:1-14
Sunday 13th September 2020
Brightons Parish Church
Message
Let us take a moment to pray before we think about God’s Word. May the words of my mouth, and the meditation of all our hearts, be pure and pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, our strength and our redeemer. Amen.

Last week we began a new series on prayer, because the Lord is calling us to grow as a people of prayer. We need to lean into this because our purpose – to ‘invite, encourage and enable people to follow Jesus’ – is beyond our ability, and so we need to go to God and receive from Him strength, truth, wisdom, peace, insight, love, forgiveness and power. All this and more, is available to us through prayer if we will relate directly and regularly to God.
I suspect that most of us, when think of prayer, we think of praying for others, praying for their help, their benefit, and that is what we’re going to reflect upon this morning, since today is Guild Sunday and much of their labour is done for the benefit of others.

I was talking to a friend recently and he shared a story about prayer and its impact. He lives in another town in Scotland and he and a group of friends decided to pray for their local area, doing so by walking around the local streets and praying for the things they saw around them. After a number of weeks praying in this manner, two things happened. Firstly, a shop closed, a shop which was selling items that were not good for the well-being of the community. Secondly, a run-down disused factory was taken over and redevelopment work for it…
was announced, bringing a sense of renewed hope and life to the community. As these people prayed for the well-being of their community, things changed.

In our passage today, the Lord, through the prophet Jeremiah, called His people to: ‘…seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile [and] Pray to the Lord for it…’ (v7) In these words are echoes of an earlier promise and calling given by the Lord to His people. In the book the Genesis, we read that the Lord said to Abram: ‘…I will bless you…and all people on earth will be blessed through you.’ (Gen. 12:2-3) Within the plan of God, there has always been this balance: of receiving His blessing – His goodness, His life and purpose – but then to be the means through which others can share in God’s blessing as well…
The prophet Isaiah reminds God’s people that they were to be ‘…a light to the nations’ (Isa. 51:4) and in our last series, we saw that Jesus calls us to share the love of God in word and deed, not to just keep it to ourselves.

So, it shouldn’t really be a surprise when Jeremiah says, ‘…seek the peace and prosperity of the city…[and] Pray to the Lord for it…’ Yet it probably would have been a surprise to God’s people, because this city, whom they are to seek its well-being and pray for, this city is home to the very people who invaded their land and took them 800 miles away from everything they’d known and valued. To many an Israelite, Babylon was the enemy and all they wanted was to get home to the place where they belonged. But they are in exile, they are foreigners and strangers, surrounded by oppressors, and yet God…
calls His people to seek the ‘peace and prosperity’, the well-being, the shalom, of that place and to pray for it.

I wonder, does this at first seem a bit disconnected from our time and our place? Well, in the New Testament, we’re reminded of some important truths: ‘you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession…Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God…Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to…Live such good lives…’ (1 Peter 2:9-12) We might not be surrounded by invaders, but brothers and sisters, we too are foreigners and exiles, as the apostle Paul will say, ‘our citizenship is in heaven’. So we are pilgrims, with our true home, not being here on earth, but elsewhere, in that new heaven and new earth which we will experience fully when Jesus returns.
And so, the words of Jeremiah echo a truth for the people of God found throughout Scripture: we are to ‘…seek the peace and prosperity of [where we live and] Pray to the Lord for it…’ As we do so, especially as we pray for our locality, things change – both around us, as my friend’s story showed, but also in us.

The people of Israel, when they were called to pray for Babylon, they are praying for their enemy, the oppressor, people they didn’t like. But as they prayed, a number of things would change. Firstly, they’d begin to see their situation in light of God and His purposes; He reminds them in verse 11 that ‘…I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ As they pray, as they talk with God, remembering who He is and what He has promised, they will get a greater perspective of Him and instead of focusing on their plight, they will begin to focus on the Lord instead and hope will arise, expectation will build, clarity will come, and they will be set free from self-pity and a victim mentality.

Friends, what are the situations you need to pray about? Where do you need to turn to God, and know His presence, His promise and His provision? As we lean into God, talking with Him, finding our shelter in Him, knowing Him near, especially in the difficult circumstances of life or the uncertainties of the future, it is as we pray that we are changed, and so we are then enabled to fulfil the purpose God has for us.

But as we pray for others, another change comes as well. If we deliberately, intentionally, begin to pray for the well-being of others, as the Lord commanded through Jeremiah, then love for neighbour will also arise within us. It really is impossible, I think, to pray for the wellbeing of another and yet harbour hate, bitterness, hurt or jealousy in your heart towards that person. And so, as you pray for them, your love for them grows, and so within you grows an even greater desire to make known the love of God to them, both in word and in action, to be the conduit by which they experience the blessing of God.

So friends, who are you praying for? Who are the people that get under your skin? Who’s the neighbour you try to avoid, or wish would move? Who’s the person in church that irks you? Well, pray for them. Pray for their wellbeing. Pray for God’s blessing to be known in their life. Because if you do that, good will come for them and good will come for you, because you’ll know a greater peace and joy, and you’ll know a greater love for them, and they might get to know the love of God as well.

So, prayer does change us – it gives us a renewed perspective of God and of our situation – and prayer for others also changes us by increasing our love for others. But prayer, and prayer for others, does change the world around us as well. In the book of James, we’re reminded that ‘Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father …’ (James 1:17) Every good thing in your life, every good thing in your community, every good thing in our world is a gift of God, and if we want to see our community or our world flourish, it will be a gift of God, a gift of His grace and love and power.

When the Lord called His people to pray for Babylon, He was showing His international concern, His concern for the world, not just for His people or where His people lived, but also for the nations of the world, and even the nations that had turned away from Him. He wants their good and He calls His people, then and now, to pray. So, let’s be a people of prayer on behalf of our communities, and for the nations of the world. Let’s ask God for great and good things to happen. Let’s ask for God’s power and glory to be seen. Because as God’s people, as His representatives, a holy priesthood, we should show the same concern as God for the brokenness of His world, sharing His love in word and deed and prayer.

So, what’s that going to look like this week? Remember, I said each week we’d have something to pray or do….
Well, for this week I invite you to get a copy of this prayer resource, called ‘Taking it to the Streets’. It’s a resource that gives you some explanation and some examples of praying for your local area and especially praying as you walk around your locality. You can get a copy from the website and it will also be on our Facebook page this afternoon. A copy is being posted to those who receive a CD, DVD or our 6-week printed material, but if you would like a printed copy then do just let us know.

And the invitation this week is to go out, if you are able, and do a prayer walk with this resource. It gives you four basic prayer points to get you started, as well as a prayer of blessing you might pray for your street or your neighbour. And if you are unable to get out, you can still use the prayer resource and what’s written there.
Additionally, this Tuesday evening I’ll be doing a live prayer walk via our YouTube channel, so join me then if you’re able and contribute your prayers to mine in that time. See the notices for more information.

The Lord is calling us to a season of prayer that we might fix our eyes on Him and be a conduit of His blessing to neighbour, both near and far. May we respond to His call, and in so doing share the love of God in the Braes and to nations across the world. May it be so. Amen.

Why pray?

Preached on: Sunday 6th September 2020
The sermon text is given below or can be download by clicking on the “PDF” button above. Additionally, you can download the PowerPoint PDF by clicking here 20-09-06-Message-PPT-slides.
Bible references: Luke 11:1-10
Location: Brightons Parish Church

Text: Luke 11:1-10
Sunday 6th September 2020
Brightons Parish Church

Introduction to reading
In our last teaching series, we explored in the book of Matthew the calling of Jesus to His disciples, both then and for us now. We saw that we are all called into a relationship with Jesus, and with that comes an invitation, a command even, to give our lives away for His purposes, as part of the family of God, such that we share the love of God and we mature in the character of God.

Back on the 15th of July I was praying and asking the Lord for guidance, and I believe He shared a number of things to help us enter into His purposes, His freedom, and the life He has for us. I noted these down in my journal and one prompting was a call to prayer, to grow in prayer, to become a more prayerful people, and this is as much for me because I know that I need to grow in prayer.
So, beginning today and through to the October break, we are going to look at some teaching on prayer and each week have a particular prayer or activity to use in helping us to pray. Because it’s all well and good having a clear purpose and a sense of what Jesus has called us to, but without being a people of prayer, we won’t change, and this world will not change either.

During my recent holiday I read a little on the issue of justice, and the concluding words focused on prayer. In particular, this portion caught my attention: ‘we must [empower the pursuit of justice] with prayer. If we [rely on] willpower, hard work, protest and activism alone, we will become exhausted. Prayer gives the battle over to Jesus. Prayer fuels our action. Through prayer, Jesus will give us strength, truth, wisdom, peace, insight, love, forgiveness and power. Through prayer, God wins the main battleground – the human heart.’
(Ben Lindsay, We Need To Talk About Race)

Whether it be the issue of justice, or the calling to ‘invite, encourage and enable people to follow Jesus’, we need to be a people of prayer, because our own finite resources are just not enough. So today, we begin a new series on prayer, and hear now our first reading from the Scriptures.
(PAUSE)

Message
Let us take a moment to pray before we think about God’s Word. May the words of my mouth, and the meditation of all our hearts, be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, our strength and our redeemer. Amen.

Prayer is one of those parts of life, parts of faith, which we know we should do, but often don’t. That can be for any number of reasons: we don’t know what words to use; we fear getting it wrong; we maybe don’t think it does anything. There can also be other reasons, such as simple laziness or apathy.

This past week, Gill and I celebrated 15 years of marriage, and if I told you that we rarely talk, don’t listen to each other, and generally get on with our separate lives, it wouldn’t matter than we lived in the same house, or had our marriage certificate, or shared our financial resources, you would still be thinking that the quality of our marriage was quite poor, even worrying. Thankfully, none of those things actually apply!

Yet, the same is true with our relationship with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You might come to church, you might have a baptism certificate or something that marks when you became a member or an elder, and you might give generously in finances or in time to the work of God’s church. But if you are not praying, not relating personally and directly to God on a regular basis, then I would wonder about the quality of your relationship with Him.

In our day there is a prayer movement called ‘24-7 Prayer’, and a number of years ago they produced a video which summaries ‘why’ we might pray, and I would like to play that for you, just now.
(PAUSE – play video)

I wonder what jumped out for you – do feel free to share it in the live chat just now. I was struck by the idea that prayer may be the most powerful thing we do to change our world, to change ourselves, because when we pray we are connecting with the living God, engaging in a twoway relationship, and as we do so, what we pray echoes into eternity. So, prayer is key, it is powerful, and sometimes the best way to learn to pray is simply to pray.

Nonetheless, one day the disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray…’ (v1) Clearly, they saw something – something in the way He prayed, or in what He prayed, something different. Or maybe they saw how Jesus had prayer underpinning all of life because again and again He would go off to pray. And so, the one and only thing they ever ask to be taught, is to pray.

In response, Jesus shares with them what we now call the Lord’s Prayer, which is probably the most famous prayer in history. Martin Luther said: “To this day I am still nursing myself on the Lord’s Prayer like a child, and I am still eating and drinking of it like an old man without getting bored of it.” Christian writer, Timothy Jones, also argued: “To cultivate a deeper prayer life all you have to do is say the Lord’s Prayer, but take an hour to do it.”
We know from history, that it was traditional for rabbis of the time to have their own unique prayer which brought together their foundational teaching. John the Baptist’s followers likely had such a prayer because in our passage today the disciples said, ‘“Lord teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”’ (Luke 11:1)

It’s unlikely they were just asking Jesus for a few good prayer tips. They were saying: ‘We need know what You are about, we need a statement of faith!’ As such, the Lord’s Prayer is maybe our primary foundation for understanding life and faith, giving shape to everything else. In this way, the Lord’s Prayer is like a model prayer: knowing what to pray and so we might simply repeat the words as given, because repeating it regularly can help its central truths to slowly shape our hearts and our minds.
But the Lord’s Prayer can also be like a map: teaching us the way of prayer, the route to take. Many of us find prayer difficult, don’t we? We get distracted or struggle to know what to say. But praying each phrase, even a few words of the prayer, can spark ideas of what to pray. In this way, the Lord’s Prayer helps us become real with God: real with Him about what we think of Him, of the needs we have for ourselves and the needs of others, as well as seeking His forgiveness for our sin and asking for His help in the difficult realities of life.

Here is a prayer that we often just recite without much thought, yet it can be a framework into which we pour all of the thoughts and concerns of our lives. It is possible to take the thing that is most burning in your heart at this time and pray about it using the Lord’s Prayer.

Earlier in the service, I said that in each week of this season of prayer, we would have a prayer to pray, or an activity to use, and the Lord’s Prayer is the one for this week. You can simply take the version you are most comfortable with and pray it in one of the ways I’ve described this morning. Or, if you wish, you can find an alternative version on our website, in the “Sermons” page, as well as from our Facebook page this afternoon. In that document there are various examples of the Lord’s Prayer, sometimes using different language to express its meaning, or capturing the prayer from a particular angle. If you’ve been praying this prayer for many years, it may be helpful to try a different version because then may you to see and engage with it afresh.

But whether you pray in “Thee’s” and “Thou’s”, or take it a word or line at a time, may we choose to grow as a people of prayer, responding to this call to pray, and investing time in our relationship with God by using the Lord’s Prayer each day this coming week. For Jesus has promised: ‘ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.’ (v9) As we prayer, as we ask, seek and knock, may we know the reciprocal welcome and provision of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.