Hard Times


Some prayers and suggested readings that we can share.

PLEASE NOTE: This could turn into a compilation of prayers and readings that we have found helpful and comforting.. Feel free to add your own suggestions. If you want to do it through me, Maria, please do. Or if you want to cut out the middle woman, send your prayers to the webmaster, Shelley and ask her to add them to the BIG PRAYER FOR HARD TIMES page.

 Psalm 142 – David cries in despair

I call to the Lord for help

I plead with him

I bring him all my complaints

I tell him all my troubles.

When I am ready to give up, he knows what I should do.

Lord, I cry for your help; you alone are my Protector….

 

Just the first verses here. Keep reading, it is worth it!

Loving Lord, we know that we have a refuge in you. Help us to make this truth so deep in us that we can share it by whatever means we can to the people in our world. Help us never to stop praying, never to top serving.

Lord, you are our hope and salvation.

Amen

 

 

Prayer for the coronavirus crisis

Eternal God, Rock of our lives, we turn to you in the midst of this coronavirus crisis, seeking refuge and a foothold- and also encouragement as we try to find our own courage.

As social distancing prevents us from experiencing the joys of life in community, may the need to withdraw and stay well be accompanied by the urge to reach out to others with compassion and care to forge and renew connections even in the absence of physical contact

Recalling the trials of those who went before us and their endurance and survival, may we find the strength to endure even in the face of pain and loss, and the insight to know that this challenging time will pass.

As the natural world renews itself, may we be inspired by the wonders and marvels of the Earth to discover through this crisis pathways to renewal and new hope.

And let us say: Amen

Rabbi Elli Tikvash Sarah - Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue


Heavenly Father

We kneel before You and ask you to open our hearts with compassion and love

May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake

May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable

May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or paying their rent

May we who have to cancel our trips remember those who have no safe place to go.

May we who settle for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home

As fear grips the country, let us choose Love, your Love, Lord

During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,  

let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbours.

AMEN

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What about…

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change, though the mountains shake into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult

The Lord of hosts is with us

The Lord of Jacob is our refuge

… READ IT THROUGH, IT’S WORTH IT!

Loving  Lord, another day of uncertainty and fear, but only if we chose to make it so. Thank you that you are walking the rocky road with us; help us to hold on  to you and through the strength you give us to be ready and able to see the chances you are still giving us to love and serve  all your people. In Jesus’ name. Amen


LOCKDOWN

 ( An extract from a reflection by Brother Richard Hendrick, a Franciscan Brother from Ireland. Full version can be found online)

Yes there is fear.

Yes , there is isolation. Yes, there is panic buying. Yes, there is sickness. Yes, there is death. But they say that in Wuhan after so many weeks of noise you can hear the birds again. They say that after a few weeks of quiet the sky is no longer thick with fumes but blue and grey and clear…

…All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting. All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way. All over the world people are waking up to a new reality. To how big we really are. To how little control we have. To what really MATTERS. To love.

So we pray and we remember that Yes, there is fear. But there does not have to be hate. Yes, there is isolation. But there does not have to be loneliness. Yes there is panic buying. But there does not have to be meanness. Yes, there is sickness. But there does not have to be disease of the soul. Yes, there is death. But there can always be a rebirth of love. Wake up to the chances you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe. Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic. The birds are singing again. The sky is clearing. Spring is coming. An we are always encompassed by LOVE. Open the windows of your soul and though you may not be able to touch across the empty square…

SING 


A message from our MU chaplain, Rev Helen Rose

 

Dear all,

 

I hope you are all keeping well and strong in these very difficult times.

Many of you will be self-isolating and I pray you are able to use the time to do the things you do not usually have time to do whether that be reading, gardening, knitting, sewing, DIY or catching up on the latest films on Netflix. I imagine you have found the time to stay in touch with friends or colleagues by letter, email, phone or social media. 

The television and the radio have played a big part in our lives of late as we get the most recent updates on COVID-19  from our government and from around the world. It is extraordinary that something that is invisible to the human eye, microscopic, can create so much havoc. It is so easy to experience a sense of overwhelming and feel tempted to run away if only we could, and this is understandable.


 In Psalm 73,  which is one of the most human of Psalms, the psalmist begins by professing the benevolence of God, but just like Peter he notices the waves and his faith begins to wobble. He looks around him and starts to observe those who do not trust in God. Not only do they prosper materially, but they are also held in great esteem and looked upon as leaders of society. The psalmist honestly asks himself if the demanding way he has been walking is actually worth it.

 If we are truthful to ourselves we might too feel inadequate and unable to cope and may have been  tempted to abandon this way of life for an easier life. 

But this Pandemic not only presents challenges but also the gift of the life God calls us to. God is the God of relationship not of materialism, the God of generosity, not greed, of love, not hate; God is with us not far away but right here in the mess with us.

Like Peter walking on water, God is holding us to comfort, leading us on the right path.

So in these difficult times, as we trust and lean on God staying together through prayer. I will keep you all in my prayers and thoughts please contact me at any time if you would like a chat on the phone or email or text me.

Stay safe and well. 
 In Christ     

 Helen
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SOMETHING DIFFERENT

This half poem, half prayer is by Alexis Valdes, a poet from Cuba. I have translated it, but wanted to share the original as well. It rhymes and scans beautifully in Spanish!

 

CUANDO LA TORMENTA PASE

Cuando la tormenta pase
y se amansen los caminos
y seamos sobrevivientes
de un naufragio colectivo

Once the storm has passed and the roads are tame again, when we become the survivors of this collective shipwreck

Con el corazón lloroso
y el destino bendecido
nos sentiremos dichosos
tan sólo por estar vivos.

With our hearts still weeping but still feeling blessed, we will be happy just to be alive

Y daremos un abrazo
al primer desconocido
y alabaremos la suerte
de conservar un amigo.

And we will hug those we see although we have never known them, and we will praise God for keeping our friends alive

Y entonces recordaremos
todo aquello que perdimos
y de una vez aprenderemos
todo lo que no aprendimos.

Then we will be reminded of everything we have lost, and at least we will have learnt all that we never learnt before

Valdrá más lo que es de todos
que lo jamás conseguido.
Seremos más generosos
y mucho más comprometidos.

The common good will be valued more than our selfish and never achieved aims; we will be generous of heart and not afraid of commitment

Entenderemos lo frágil
que significa estar vivos;
sudaremos empatía
por quien está y quien se ha ido.

We will understand how fragile our life is; we will feel empathy for those who have left us and those who are still here

Extrañaremos al viejo
que pedía un peso en el mercado,
que no supimos su nombre
y siempre estuvo a tu lado.

We will miss the old man begging in the market place; we never knew his name although he was always there

Y quizás el viejo pobre
era tu Dios disfrazado.
Nunca preguntaste el nombre
porque estabas apurado.

Maybe that old man was you, Lord; we never stopped to talk because we were in such a hurry.

Cuando la tormenta pase
te pido Dios, apenado,
que nos devuelvas mejores,
como nos habías soñado"

Once the storm has passed I ask of you, Lord my Father, that we come back better and stronger, in Your image, just as You created us.

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CARING

Thank you, loving Lord, for being with us and showing us Your love at all times. Help us to find you in all the people who need you and serve you as your hands across the world. Help us also to be grateful for all the people who look after us. In Jesus’name Amen

 

PRAYER FOR CARERS- Anthea Ballam

Let us give thanks for those that know compassion: carers, nurses, doctors, gentle and kind volunteers and cleaners, serving people near and far, adults and children, old and young, female and male.

Let us give thanks: may we honour those that show no fear as they stride through the valley of death, sweeping aside dread, bringing comfort to the timid and strength to the vulnerable. Envoys of the highest order. Let us applaud those that care for us all. Support them throughout the world. Shout out in noisy praise -Blow whistles -Clatter and yell -Broadcast in sound and spirit. Praise and honour all they do today, tomorrow and beyond as we confront invisible forces, the daunting unknown from a place of isolation.

 

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Inspired by Matthew 25, 34-40

I was hungry and you delivered my shopping on my doorstep

I was lonely and you rang me to say you were thinking of me

I was walking and you kept your social distance with a smile and a friendly greeting

I was worried about my health and you organised my prescription for me

I was feeling useless and you contacted me asking for my secret brownie recipe to make it for your children

I was depressed in my unkempt garden and you waved at me over the fence to challenge me to a tidying up competition

I was worried and fearful and you suggested we could pray together over the phone

When did we do all those things, Lord?

The answer is on verse 40

 


 

 A prayer by Lily Tomlinson (99) Indoor MU member from Denton Branch, who also sends all her love to all MU members.

Dear Lord, this is hard but we are in Your hands. We accept it and with Your help we will get through it.

After all, where is the problem? We know that one day you will take us home to be with You and always protect us while we are here. Thank you, Lord. Amen


A short extract from Rev. Prof Jenn Strawbridge’s reflections on Luke 24:21 during Sunday Worship- Radio 4, 26th April- (Full version easily accessible online and worth reading!))

“But we had hoped that he would be the one who was going to set Israel free.”

“But we had hoped are words that speak to us still. Not because we enjoy wallowing in dark and sentimental emotions, but because they are true. But we had hoped to celebrate Easter with our community. But we had hoped not to get ill. But we had hoped to be so productive in our isolation. But we had hoped not to feel lonely. But we had hoped we could do more to help. But we had hoped for one final hug.”

This made me think…

These are dark times, Lord, but we pray to you looking forward to the future. After we come out at the other end…

Loving Lord, we hope and trust in you that we will care more for everyone around you

We hope and trust in You that we will have learnt never to stop praying

We hope and trust in you that we will have learnt to be more patient and tolerant

We hope and trust in You that we will be more ready than ever to serve you through your people and be your hands across the world.

We hope and trust in You that we will have learnt to notice that although we are all bracing the storm, we are not all on the same boat and we must fight against inequality and injustice in our world and among Your people.

Amen


Two prayers from “Celtic prayers” a book by Rev Pat Robson, a retired priest from Cornwall, now attached to the church of St.Crida near Truro. In normal times the church organizes Celtic Quiet Days . Website: (Stcrida.co.uk)

My Father, I come to you at the beginning of this day to ask you to guide and help me. Give me courage to face the problems that lie ahead, and give me a heart wide open to the joys that you prepared for me. Forgive me my many sins that I may start this day anew. And as you forgive me, may I learn to be forgiving and compassionate to others in return. My Father, I long to serve you aright. May all that I do and all that I say be pleasing in your sight. Amen

Oh, Lord and Heavenly Father, we thank you for your compassion towards us and we trust ourselves into your loving care. Where we are weak, give us strength. Where we lack faith, give us confidence. Where we are cold, open our hearts to your dear Son, that he may enter to heal our wound and to be a sweet companion all the days of our life, now and forever. Amen


Morning and night- Two African prayers from:  An African Prayer Book, compiled by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

From the Boran tribe in Kenya

O, God, you have let me pass the night in peace; let me pass the day in peace. Wherever I go upon my way which you made peaceably for me, O God, lead my steps.

When I have spoken keep lies away from me.

When I am satisfied, keep me from pride.

Calling upon you, I pass the day, o Lord who has no Lord.

From Ghana:

Come, Lord, and cover me with the night.

Spread your Grace over us as you assured us you would do.

Your promises are more than all the stars in the sky; your mercy is deeper than the night.

Lord, it will be cold. The night comes with its breath of death

Night comes; the end comes; You come. Lord, we wait for you day and night



 

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