The UK has a general election on Thursday. I put my own political and personal feelings to one side at this time, if your wish to know what they are, by all means ask by private message! If I may I would like to share with you the prayers I led at St James's Bramley near Basingstoke on Sunday, it is very important to me that you cannot tell from these prayers how I am intending to vote - or what my view is on Brexit, for that matter. At all times, in all places, in all things, to God be the glory!
Proverbs 1:1-7, “The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, King of Israel, for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young, let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance, for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
As we come before You in prayer this morning, Lord, we thank and praise you for your dominion over the whole of creation. We thank You for the relationship we can have with You through the death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. And we thank and praise you particularly Lord that the route to knowledge and wisdom is fear and love of You. We acknowledge before You the need for wisdom constantly in our lives, when to speak and when to stay silent, when to encourage and when to challenge, when to rest and when to push ourselves to continue, to know the difference between constructive criticism and mockery, and between demonstrating appropriate concern and gossip.
At this turbulent time in our country we thank and praise you for the leadership shown over the decades by Her Majesty the Queen and ask that she would know Your wisdom and guidance as she heads up the royal family and provides counsel to politicians and others. We pray for all members of the royal family that they would discharge their duties in love and fear of your holy name, working for the good of the country in humility before Your throne of grace. As we approach the final stages of the general election campaign we pray particularly for candidates of all parties who acknowledge you as their savior and Lord that they would find time to pause reflect and pray that their Christian faith would shine through, that they would know the reality of knowledge and wisdom being rooted in fear of You. We pray also for the electorate as we make our final decision as to who to vote for over the next few days, that we might know your wisdom and guidance in listening to the opposing voices and making a decision in a manner which brings honour to your name.
We thank you for our church leaders, and join with our diocesan bishop Rt Rev Tim Dakin the Bishop of Winchester as he prays
God of hope, in these times of change and uncertainty, bring together our communities,
and guide our local leaders with your wisdom. Give us courage to overcome our fears, to be patient and compassionate with one another and to seek a future in which all may prosper and share.
We thank You also for our suffragan bishop David and priest in charge Stephen, and pray that their ministries would be rooted in prayer and Bible study, knowing Your wisdom at this busy time in the church calendar that they would know how best to organise their time to bring honour and glory to Your name. We thank You particularly for John and Ann Lenton, first and foremost for their love for You and for the leadership under You they exercise here in Bramley. We pray that Ann and John would know your wisdom over the next few weeks to make appropriate and godly decisions as to how to use their time in the run up to the busy Christmas period.
We lift before you those we know who are in particular need of Your presence at this time, remembering before You:
[people on notice sheet needing prayers this week]
And in the quietness of our hearts we remember those known to us personally.
We pray that you will bring comfort to those in distress, peace to those in turmoil, and healing to those who are sick and a sense of your sovereignty in all situations.
We thank You for the parish of Bramley and all that happens through the year here at St James’s to engage with the community. We lift before you all the activities going on in the church building and Cross House over the next few weeks, including the carol service and all other services over the Christmas period. We pray for those who come into the buildings who would not normally do so, that they would meet with a warm welcome and be challenged to consider Your place in their lives. We pray particularly for residents in [street on notice sheet to pray for this week] that, through the work of your Holy Spirit, they might draw closer to You.
As we face the week ahead, we pray for ourselves that our personal and professional lives would reflect our faith in You and that our words and deeds would demonstrate Your wisdom rooted in our love and fear of You. All these prayers we offer in the Name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.