Prayers for healing and wholeness

Today’s service of prayers for healing and wholeness is via the blog only, and includes a reflection by Rev David Ray. Thank you, David.

‘My grace is sufficient for you,
For my power is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Cor 12:9)

In the ministry of Christ healing was a sign of the presence of God’s kingdom, bringing renewal and wholeness of life to those who turned to God in their need.  Jesus commissioned his disciples to proclaim the kingdom and heal the sick (Luke 9:2).  The Church believes that the healing power of Christ is exercised through medical and related professions, through faith and prayer, and the care of the Christian community. 

God desires wholeness for all people. We bring to God our frailty and brokenness  –  felt not only in physical illness, but in guilt, anxiety, and all the burdens which weigh us down.  We also bring our concerns for others and for the world. We come to God who knows our needs before we ask, and whose love revealed in Jesus Christ is stronger than suffering and death.

To start, take some time to bring yourself into an awareness of the presence of God. If it helps, imagine yourself sitting in your church alone, resting in the prayerful atmosphere.

We come in this service to God
In our need, and bringing with us the needs of the world.

We come to God, who comes to us in Jesus,
And who knows by experience what human life is like.

We come with our faith and with our doubts.
We come with our hopes and with our fears.

We come as we are, because it is God who invites us to come,
And God has promised never to turn us away.

Let us pray.

As if it were not enough to bring sound from silence,
light from darkness,
order from confusion;

as if it were not enough
to make the world excellent and intricate;
you gave the kiss of life to the dust of the earth,

You made male and female,
me and us.

So we thank you, creating God.

As if it were not enough
to watch the world you had created,
to admire your handiwork from eternity;

as if it were not enough
to care and be kind at a distance;
you sent your Son to be flesh of our flesh,
bone of our bone,
to live and walk beside
me and us.

So we thank you, loving God.

As if it were not enough
to do all this and return, triumphant, to glory,
you still hear our cries in the courts of high heaven,
and promise your Spirit for the healing of the nations
for me and for us.

So we thank you, God of power,
Lord of our weakness,
Spirit of our salvation.

Reflection:

Almighty God, who promises forgiveness and new life to all who truly repent, have mercy upon us,
pardon and deliver us from all our sins
and keep us in life eternal,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

Reflection:

In the early 1990’s I was a Methodist minister in the Wakefield Circuit in Yorkshire. Whilst there I had the privilege of knowing and working with Stephen Cottrell. At that time he was a young priest in the Church of England. He is now the Archbishop of York.

Stephen came to lead a Quiet Day at one of the churches I was responsible for and he led a session on the Road to Emmaus. Stephen sowed seeds in my soul that day as he spoke about the companions on the road.

You can read what happened in St Luke’s gospel 24:13-35.

Two disillusioned and despairing disciples walk out of Jerusalem. They had followed Jesus for about three years. They had loved him. Now he was dead. They had hoped for so much, but their hopes had been dashed. Their Lord had been crucified. Their hearts ached. They were empty. These disciples of Jesus were in darkness.

On the road to Emmaus a stranger caught them up and listened to them. And he said, How foolish you are, how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Did not the Christ have to suffer these things?” And the stranger went on to explain the scriptures. Dawn was breaking into their darkness.

Later, at Emmaus, the eyes of the disciples were opened as the stranger broke bread.

They recognised that the one who had walked with them was Jesus and they said, “Did not our hearts burn within us on the road as he talked with us and opened the scriptures?” The light of day had come.

Have you ever considered that when the two disciples were walking out of Jerusalem to Emmaus they were going the wrong way? Well, they were! Jesus had told his disciples that they should stay in Jerusalem and there they would experience something new. But these two disciples couldn’t cope. They needed to escape.

And what happened at Emmaus? Jesus turned them round and sent them back to the city.

A word for us here maybe? We need to make sure we’re on the right path. But how can we be sure?

Well, on the road to Emmaus the two disciples were not alone. Jesus walked with them. No, they didn’t recognise him at first, but he was there nevertheless. 

Like those two disciples sometimes we are too busy with our own agenda, or too preoccupied or too small minded to recognise Jesus – but he’s there. He meets us where we are, stays with us even if we are going the wrong way, listens to us and then speaks.

Some of you may be experiencing darkness, others struggling in the twilight, hopefully others, having just celebrated Easter, are singing and dancing in the glorious light of the risen Christ.

Wherever you are at this moment in time, let me reassure you that you’re not alone.

You have companions on your road, although they may not be physically present with you. And you can be a companion to others on the road.

But more than that – much more than that – you are accompanied by the God who called you, loves you and cares for you and who longs for you to live in the freedom, peace and hope that his light shines on you.

Prayer
Loving God, as we journey from the cross, help us to walk with you on the right road.
On the way to Emmaus you came to your disciples as a stranger and their hearts burned within them.
Help us to expect you as a companion as we travel, and to welcome you as a friend, so that our hearts will be warmed too.
You are risen, alive with us – we don’t walk alone.
We claim your promise to be with us as we journey through good and not so good.
Stir us up in faith and hope and inspire us to walk faithfully with you.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

————————————

We continue in prayer.

O Christ our Lord, as in times past
not all the sick and suffering found their way to your side,
but had to have their hands taken, or their bodies carried,
or their names mentioned,
so we, confident of your goodness, bring others to you.

As in times past, you looked at the faith of friends
and let peace and healing be known through them,
look on our faith, even our little faith
And let your kingdom come.

We name before you
those for whom pain is the greatest problem;
who are remembered more for their distress than their potential;
who at night cry, ‘I wish to God it were morning’
and in the morning cry, ‘I wish to God it were night’.
Lord Jesus Christ, Lover of all,
Bring healing, bring peace.

We name before you
those whose problem is psychological;
those haunted by the nightmares of their past
or the spectres of their future,
those whose minds are shackled
to neuroses, depression or fears,
those who do not know what is wrong
or what to pray.
Bring healing, bring peace.

We name before you those in whose experience
light has turned to darkness,
as the end of a life or the breaking of a relationship
leaves them stunned in their souls
and silent in their conversation,
not knowing where to turn or who to turn to,
or whether life has a purpose any more.
Bring healing, bring peace.

And others whose troubles we do not know
or whose names we could not say aloud,
and all the troubles of the world,
we bring to you now in silence
a silence which you understand.
Bring healing, bring peace.

Lord God,
you alone are skilled to know the cure
for every sickness and every soul.
If, by our lives, your grace may be known,
then in us, through us, and, if need be, despite us,
Let your kingdom come.

We ask your blessing on all who tend the sick,
counsel the distressed, sit with the dying,
or advance medical research,
that in caring for your people
they may meet and serve you.
Let your kingdom come.

For those who, in this land,
administer the agencies of health and welfare,
we ask your guidance that, in all they do,
human worth may be valued,
and the service of human need be fully resourced.
Let your kingdom come.

For those in positions of authority who seek justice and peace
And work for the healing of the nations.
Let your kingdom come.

These prayers we ask in the name of him whose flesh and blood
have made all God’s children special.  Amen

Together, let us bring to the Lord those for whom we have been asked to pray….

Peg T
Margaret B
David & Carolyn S
David B

Take some time now to bring your concerns to God. If it helps, try saying them out loud. Feel yourself held in God’s safe hands.

We say the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples:

Our Father in Heaven
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil,
For the kingdom, the
power and the glory are yours,
now and for ever.  Amen

Now may the God of hope fill us
With joy and peace in believing,
That we may abound in hope
In the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen

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