Hampstead Garden Suburb Free Church

Lent Prayer Diary 2017

Hampstead Garden Suburb Free Church

 

Lent Prayer Diary 2017

‘…From Here to Eternity…’

 

Love will be our Lenten calling,
love to shake and shatter sin,
waking every closed, cold spirit,
stirring new life deep within,
till the quickened heart remembers
what our Easter birth can mean.

Peace will be our Lenten living
as we turn for home again,
longing for the words of pardon,
stripping off old grief and pain,
till we stand, restored and joyful,
with the Church on Easter day.

Truth will be our Lenten learning:
hear the Crucified One call!
Shadowed by the Saviour's passion,
images and idols fall,
and, in Easter's holy splendour,
God alone is all in all. 

 

 

‘Now this is Eternal Life: That they know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.’ (John 17, 3).

 

Week 1: March 5th - March 11th

‘Beginning where we are’

Please read Psalm 19

 

“Not marble, nor the gilded monuments 
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents 
Than unswept stone, besmear'd with sluttish time. 
When wasteful war shall statues overturn, 
And broils root out the work of masonry, 
Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory. 
'Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity 
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise, 
You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.”

(William Shakespeare)

 

During the week, please pray asking God…

  1. For humility, sufficient for us to be who we are rather than wishing we were somebody else…
  2. To make us aware of those who are denied the right to a personality, a lifestyle, even an identity of their own choosing…
  3. To encourage us to identify ourselves with those whom others choose to ignore, disparage and abuse…

‘Thomas said, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus replied, “I am the Way, the Truth & the Life; no one comes to the Father except by me.” ‘(John 14 5-6).
Week 2: March 12th - March 18th

 

‘In the Twinkling of an Eye’

 

Please read Psalm 31

“We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate when the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning; at the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall and the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for but heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea. Quick now, here, now, always —
A condition of complete simplicity (Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.” 
(T.S Eliot)

 

During the week, please pray, asking God for…

  1. Sensitivity in our dealings with those who are physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually ‘impaired’ in any way…
  2. A willingness to represent the needs of those not able to represent themselves…
  3. A desire to bring about the change necessary to ensure that the life of every person is valued as it ought to be by each and all alike…

‘We shall not all die, but we shall all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet call. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will rise imperishable, and what is mortal with immortality.’ (1 Corinthians 15 51b - 53).


Week 3:  March 19th - 25th

 

‘Every Present Moment’

Please read Psalm 26

 

“Whether you are man or woman, rich or poor, dependent or free, happy or unhappy; whether you bore in your elevation the splendour of the crown or in humble obscurity only the toil and heat of the day; whether your name will be remembered for as long as the world lasts, and so will have been remembered as long as it lasted, or you are without a name and run namelessly with the numberless multitude; whether the glory that surrounded you surpassed all human description, or the severest and most ignominious human judgment was passed on you - eternity asks you and every one of these millions of millions, just one thing: whether you have lived in despair or not, whether so in despair that you did not know that you were in despair, or in such a way that you bore this sickness concealed deep inside you as your gnawing secret, under your heart like the fruit of a sinful love, or in such a way that, a terror to others, you raged in despair. If then, if you have lived in despair, then whatever else you won or lost, for you everything is lost, eternity does not acknowledge you, it never knew you, or, still more dreadful, it knows you as you are known, it manacles you to yourself in despair!” (Soren Kierkegaard)

 

During the week, please pray, asking God to…

1.    Remind us that for many people, including those closest to us, life can be hard, difficult, painful, even soul-destroying…

2.    Alert us to the signs that indicate to us that all is not well with somebody close to us…

3.    Equip us with the wherewithal to properly care for those whom we love who need to be cared for…

‘Were you not raised to life with Christ? Then aspire to the realm above, where Christ is, seated at God’s right hand, & fix your thoughts on that higher realm, not on this earthly life. (Colossians 3, 1 - 2).


Week 4: March 26th - April 1st

 

‘Home is where the Heart is’

 

Please read Psalm 38

 

 

“C.S. Lewis in his second letter to me at Oxford asked how it was that I, as a product of a materialistic universe, was not at home there.' Do fish complain of the sea for being wet? Or if they did, would that fact itself not strongly suggest that they had not always been, or would not always be, purely aquatic creatures? Then, if we complain of time and take such joy in the seemingly timeless moment, what does that suggest? It suggests that we have not always been or will not always be purely temporal creatures. It suggests that we were created for eternity. Not only are we harried by time, we seem unable, despite a thousand generations, even to get used to it. We are always amazed by it-how fast it goes, how slowly it goes, how much of it is gone. Where, we cry, has the time gone? We aren't adapted to it, not at home in it. If that is so, it may appear as a proof, or at least a powerful suggestion, that eternity exists and is our home.” (Sheldon Vanauken)

 

 

During this week, please pray, asking God to…

  1. Widen our horizon to take in the needs of those of other cultures; to respect them, to welcome them, and to affirm them for who they are…
  2. Broaden our experience to take in the whole of the world around us, rather than being content living in our own small world…
  3. Sharpen our insight concerning the particular requirements of those who need help in settling into a new environment…

‘Set your troubled hearts at rest. Trust in God always; trust also in Me. There are many dwelling-places in My Father’s house; if it were not so I should have told you; for I am going to prepare a place for you.’ (John 14 1-2).

Week 5: April 2nd - April 8th

‘The Future Beckons’

Please read Psalm 41

 

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better than thy stroake; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

(John Donne)

 

During this week, please pray, asking God to…

  1. Rebuke us for our continuing inherent prejudice towards all those who are not as we are…
  2. Remind us that in the sight of God, all - i.e. everyone without exception - are valued equally regardless…
  3. Direct our energy into ensuring that every person is afforded the dignity, the worthwhileness, the recognition that is properly due to every child of God…

‘Our troubles are slight and short-lived, and their outcome is an eternal glory that far outweighs them, provided our eyes are fixed, not on the things that are seen, but on the things that are unseen, for what is seen is transient, what is unseen is eternal,’ (2 Corinthians 4, 17 - 18).


Week 6: April 9th - April 15th

 

‘Holy Week’

 

         ‘The Beginning of the End of the Beginning’

 

Please read Psalm 22

 

 

“Am I afraid to die? I am every time I let myself be seduced by the noisy voices of my world telling me that my "little life" is all I have and advising me to cling to it with all my might. But when I let these voices move to the background of my life and listen to that small soft voice calling me the Beloved, I know that there is nothing to fear and that dying is the greatest act of love, the act that leads me into the eternal embrace of my God whose love is everlasting.” (Henri J. M. Nouwen)

 

 

 

During this week, please pray, asking God to…

  1. Forgive us our sins, to remind us that we are loved, to make it possible for us to be ‘at-one’ with God…
  2. Give us the courage necessary to forgive one another, to actively seek to be reconciled to each other, to be ‘at-one’ with one another…
  3. Empower us with forgiving and reconciling love such that each and all of us together might be ‘at-one’ with each and everyone with whom we share our lives…

‘In Christ our release is secured and our sins forgiven through the shedding of His blood. In the richness of His grace God has lavished on us all wisdom & insight. He has made known to us His secret purpose, in accordance with the plan which He determined beforehand in Christ…namely that the universe, everything in heaven & on earth might be brought into a unity in Christ. (Ephesians 1, 7 - 10).

Sunday April 16th: Easter Day

 

‘He has gone before us…’

 

Behind Me dips Eternity
Before Me Immortality
Myself the Term between
Death but the Drift of Eastern Gray,
Dissolving into Dawn away,
Before the West begin…

’Tis Kingdoms afterward they say
In perfect pauseless Monarchy
Whose Prince is Son of None
Himself His Dateless Dynasty
Himself Himself diversify
In Duplicate divine…

’Tis Miracle before Me then
’Tis Miracle behind between
A Crescent in the Sea
With Midnight to the North of Her
And Midnight to the South of Her
And Maelstrom in the Sky…

(Emily Dickenson)

 

‘…”Do not be afraid”, Jesus said to them, “Go and take word to my brothers that they are to leave for Galilee. They will see Me there.”…’ (Matthew 28,10).

 

…Christ is Risen, Hallelujah…

 

  • Central Square
  • Hampstead Garden Suburb
  • London
  • NW11 7AG

020 8457 5898