Benefice of Farleigh,

Candovers and Wield

Prayer Diary from Thursday 29th February - Wednesday 17th April 2024

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Dear fellow pray-er, 

Prayer Diary for the period Thursday 29th February – Wednesday 17th April 2024.

Well, can you imagine what it’s like when the past catches up with you! We continue with the account of Joseph and have reached the point where Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. How gracious is Joseph! Where you or I might have given his brothers a really hard time, the intervening years, under God’s hand, had achieved in Joseph a maturity, gentleness and compassion such that he was able to love them in spite of all that he had been through at their hands. He said to them “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”(Gen 50:20) We continue on into Exodus some 200 to 430 years later. (There is a lot of scholarly debate about the exact time!) The Israelites were put into forced labour by the Egyptians when we have the birth of Moses, a favourite character of mine. (And yet he was a murderer.) He has no hesitation in talking back to God, for example questioning him at the burning bush: “Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them ‘The God of your forefathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me ‘what is his name? Then what shall I tell them?” I sense Moses wanted a deep, real relationship with God, even though he was in awe of him. A good example to us all.

And so, we continue with the confrontation with Pharoah. God revealed, through Moses, His power, and authority over all, including driving back the waters so that the Israelites could escape the pursuing Egyptian army. I find it interesting that the human condition is revealed by the Israelites behaviour. Although they are out of slavery they start to yearn to return, as their circumstances become difficult. The jubilation of escape from Pharoah is replaced with a cry to return! “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst!” How often do we wish to return to the old and familiar rather than trusting that the Lord will lead us onwards through unfamiliar “territory” in safety?

We continue with the giving of the ten commandments – rules to keep mankind safe, to enable us to live fruitful lives and flourish, and to live as God intended us to, with a close loving relationship with Him. We will continue with Exodus in the next set of readings.

For the New Testament readings, we take up where we left off last time with the Epistle to the Hebrews Chapter 3. A phrase that struck me is 3:13 “….encourage one another daily.…” That phrase encourages me to try always to find something to say to encourage those I meet. Again in 10:24 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.” And then in 13:1 “Keep on loving each other as brothers.” What wonderful encouragement as to how to live!

We next turn to of Chapter 15 Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. It’s Easter week and Paul reminds us that Christ died for our sins and then goes on to talk of Christ’s resurrection and the resurrection of the dead.  He finishes with the loving exhortation “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm.” We need to hear words of encouragement like this daily, and to say them to others!

Then to Paul’s letter to the Colossians. A letter in two parts: doctrinal section and then a second on conduct. It is believed that it was written during his imprisonment in Rome. The letter challenges the believers in Colossae to look solely to the divinity of Jesus Christ, through whom we are all saved. In it, Paul refutes the unbelief spreading throughout the Colossian church and presents Jesus as God, creator of the universe. He emphasizes the importance of the cross: Jesus is Saviour, and only by his blood are we saved. Paul warns the people of Colossae not to allow themselves to be led astray by false teachings. (see 2:8) How easy is it today to be caught up in modern philosophies which pull us away from Christ and infiltrate our lives, the lives of those we love, and of our government and corporations!

Now we turn to The Gospel of Luke: a book I studied at O level many years ago. It still has a special place in my heart.  As with Acts Luke refers to Theophilus of whom little seems to be known. The name means friend of God or (be)loved by God or loving God. Our readings include the prophecy of John the Baptist’s birth and the birth of Jesus. And then Mary’s beautiful song of praise “My soul doth magnify the Lord….” Which is often known as the Magnificat. Bach, Vivaldi and many other composers have set these words to music. What a paean of praise they produce to lift our spirits. 

On a different note. Now that David is leaving (he has in the past given us some suggestions of items to pray for), we hope that you will let us know of any items for inclusion in the ‘things to pray for’. They can be: personal, to do with your church or village or anything else that is on your heart.

Please email your requests to peter.c.w.raine@btinternet.com

Our blessings to you and all those you love this Eastertide.

Peter & Sylvia

 

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