Rector’s letter February 2019
May I first offer you, if I haven’t seen you already, a Happy New Year and all my good wishes and prayers for 2019. Just like the beginning of a new year or any anniversary we celebrate, we often treat the occasion as a marker in time. It is the start of something new, and hopefully better in our lives and that of the world around us. We may have some idea going forward of the things we would like to achieve and happen, but if we look back in time at the previous new starting point how often do things not go according to plan? In fact more often than not, our plans and ambitions are not realised at all in the way we had anticipated. However, we still move forward and maybe you might say to yourself…. ‘well actually the way things turned out, though different than I had planned, is for the best in the long run’.
There is I believe some analogy here with prayer. Many of us pray, both in a personal context and also in a corporate context - by that I mean together in groups or as part of worship in church. In our prayers as Anglicans we traditionally pray for the world, the church, our communities, those in need,
and the faithful departed. We normally do this in church as part of the prayers we know as ‘Intercessions’, prayers which are offered to the Father through Jesus, who intercedes with the Father on our behalf. However our prayers can, if we are not careful, become a little like a ‘shopping list’. A list of all the things we want God to do for us. If we pray like that, then I dare say we will always be disappointed. This is then the analogy with our New Year plans and resolutions which, as I said, barely come to fruition as we planned or wished for….but somewhat surprisingly the results are often for the best in the long run.
The real understanding of prayer, I would like to suggest, is that God knows what we need anyway. In chapter 12 of St Luke’s Gospel verses 29-31 we hear:
‘and do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.'
So perhaps what we are actually engaging in is sharing with each other an awareness of the issues of our world, our communities, our neighbours –
the Kingdom. Then asking the Father, through Jesus the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit to inspire, strengthen and support us in the work we do in
His world for Him, to bring His kingdom more fully into being. Through our prayers we need to share with each other and Jesus, the needs of the world and all of God’s people. It is not for us to dictate or demand or state the solutions, but we will receive the gifts, freely given, that are needed to carry out His work. Our job then is as many have said before ‘to find out what God is doing and join in’.
If you want to know more about prayer of Intercession, including how to write and lead them, Revd Elaine and Middle Rasen Reader, Quin Hough will be leading a morning session on Saturday 23rd March starting at 9.30 at Middle Rasen Church Hall. Further information on this course is given later in this issue of the Wolds Witness.
I commend the idea of prayer to you and I commend this course to you. It
is after all, all of God’s people, not just clergy and lay ministers, who have the responsibility for bringing the needs of the world to His people, to our hearts and minds in the presence of God. Please come and find out how God
needs you and join in.