Leaders is a general term and we might automatically think of political leaders, prime ministers, presidents, kings, queens and the like. Yet many people lead whether in an official or unofficial capacity. Some people influence others and do not think of themselves as leaders – they just happen to like telling other people their opinions about what should be done…
If you are in a position of leadership, you may well realise what a responsibility it is. In fact, the more power you have, the more you might be scared of it. Thinking about it, it is not so much a surprise to find how many leaders started out very reluctantly: Gideon, Moses, Jeremiah and Peter in the Bible immediately spring to mind.
In our cynical world it would be easy to doubt the expressions of humility from our politicians. Yet it says something when we recognise that some of our best leaders are those who do so because they believe they are called to lead. They may have an inkling of the trouble and hassle that accompanies the task of leading others; they may not even be comfortable with the idea of wielding power; but, for the good of others, their company, community or country, they accept the task. We should pray for all leaders, not just the truly humble ones, because no one can succeed on their own.
A prayer for the guidance of the Holy Spirit
God, from of old, you taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit. Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgement in all things and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour. Amen. (from Common Worship)
To begin with his disciples were at a bit of a loose end. That is not to say that they had no chores to get on with. Think of it like this: someone you are close to has just left town. You have said your last ‘good bye’ and now the train/plane/taxi has disappeared from view and you have the rest of the day to yourself. You know that it is likely that the next time that they will come and visit will be for your funeral. In your heart you wish it were not so, but you realise that with the difficulty of the journey it is so. I dare say most of us as some point or other in our lives have had to say ‘good bye’ like that.
Then what? We should get on with the rest of the day whether it’s going back to work, finishing the weekly shop, doing the household chores. But if we had set aside the whole morning then there is no rush. What do we, their family and/or friends, do now? Isn’t there a kind of listlessness; we are not yet quite ready to get back to normal – or rather to the “new normal” that we have begun to realise?
I sense it would have been a bit like that for Jesus’s disciples except for the fact that he had given them a task to do: to pray and wait together; to pray for and to wait for the Holy Spirit.
Today’s novena topic is prayer for the marginalised. We might have a specific group in mind but I suspect that in every walk of life we may be surprised to find out who are the marginalised in our sphere life.
A Prayer for the Sunday after AScension Day
Risen, ascended Lord, s we rejoice at your triumph, fill your Church on earth with power and compassion, so that all who are estranged by sin may find forgiveness and know your peace, to the glory of God the Father. Amen. (Common Worship: Additional Collect)
We are an Easter People and “Alleluia!” is our song. (Augustine of Hippo)
A prayer from “Common Worship”
Lord of all life and power, through the mighty resurrection of your Son you overcame the old order of sin and death to make all things new in him. Grant that we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ, may reign with him in glory; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity. Amen. (Collect for Easter Day)
I prefer to cut children’s spiritual garments a little large, for them to grow into, as they will in time. And who knows what vivid image or hint of the beauty of God may remain in their mind and memory? (Dorothy Coddington)
A prayer from “Common Worship”
Lord God, your blessed Son our Saviour gave his back to the smiters and did not hide his face from shame. Give us grace to endure the sufferings of this present time with sure confidence in the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Post Communion Prayer, Lent 4)
Why are we waiting? I’m bored!
What do you do while you wait? What do you do with the time that has been suddenly given to your but is not long enough (you think) to start a new task? For example, your guest said they would arrive at 12.30 pm, it is now 12.40 pm. It is too soon to start phoning or texting (or is it?) and you cannot (or don’t want to) start without them. What do you do? Play eye-spy?
Or your flight/train has been delayed. You have shown your ticket, checked your luggage, had your lunch so what do you do now? If you have a smart phone you might check your e-mails – but how many times can you do that?
The thing is, if we have to wait, especially unexpectedly, it is easy to get impatient and before long we might find that our travelling companions, colleagues or family, get the wrong end of our frustration. This is a time when the commandment “love your neighbour” might help us. On these occasions, whether waiting for a bus, for Christmas or the return of Jesus, we do well to remember “Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans chapter 13 verse 10, NRSV). We might not have a catch-all strategy of what to do while waiting, but at least we have an idea of “how to do”.
We might find it hard to be patient but it is in our power to be kind.
A prayer for Advent Sunday
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and to put on the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility; that on the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, on God, now and for ever. Amen. (Common Worship: Advent Sunday)
O God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works do proceed; give unto thy servants that peace which the world cannot give; that both, our hearts may be set to obey thy commandments, and also that, by thee, we being defended from the fear of our enemies may pass our time in rest and quietness; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer)
Almighty God, from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed: kindle, we pray, in the hearts of all, the true love of peace and guide with your pure and peaceable wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth that in tranquillity your kingdom may go forward, till the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Common Worship)