A couple of weeks ago I was asked to lead a prayer meeting for a small group exploring baptism and confirmation. I was not at all sure that I was the right person to do this, but agreed to help out. I offered the planning for the evening up to God and asked friends and colleagues to pray for me- God knows I needed it.
It was an amazing evening and the presence of God was so tangible with us all right there in the room. His peace, power and comfort. Even the quietest amongst our number spoke out as God began to break down hearts, hurt and barriers. These lovely people poured out their feelings and experiences of hurt, rejection, thanks and confusion joyfully and tearfully- it was a privilege to be some small part of this. A couple of days ago one of the people present said that she had “begun to understand what prayer was about and it had transformed her prayer life”, another said that she had felt “truly accepted by God for the first time in her life.” That evening I had felt completely in the hand and care of God in leading the discussion. Unfinished though I am, God used the situation to draw people closer to him and to really begin their own unfinished journeys. It’s at times like this -when you feel the tangible presence of God reaching out and touching lives that helps sweep away any doubts and fears about faith and how deeply God loves us. As the songs says “To be in your presence, not rushing away…this is my desire, Oh Lord.”
We prayed this together and I want it to be your prayer today
Jesus, you promised to remain with us always,
Even to the end of time.
Please abide with us now.
When certainty escapes us.
Give us patience and trust.
When sin overwhelms those we love
Hear the cries of our heart.
When we are tempted
May we hold fast to the light.
When evil threatens
Enkindle good within us.
When the whole creation is filled with groaning
Lord give answer.
And for the greatest cares of this day, this year and this lifetime
We turn to you now.
Let comfort come this evening
For every wound and distress,
For every sorrow and uncertainty:
Your love shines upon us;
Your love will guard our rest