Thought of the Week - 23rd June 2021
Pre read: Romans 8:38-39
We hope you’ve had a good week. The news around Covid has been worrying, with the UK seeing more than 10,000 (and rising) new infections per day. However, this was always to be expected given that we re-opened our schools in March, exposing un-vaccinated children, parents and teachers to this highly transmissible virus. You may even have heard of double vaccinated people catching the virus. Again, this shouldn’t be a surprise. If the vaccines are 90% effective, we should expect 1 in every 10 vaccinated people to catch Covid. The thing to remember is that it has been shown that the young and the vaccinated are much less likely to become seriously ill from the virus, end up in hospital or die. So to keep each other safe, we all need to be vaccinated and we all need to carry on being careful.
And we still need to keep praying for each other, and remember that nothing in all creation, not even Covid, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. May you know the love of God in your life this coming week.
With our love and prayers for you and your loved ones
from all at St Paul’s, St Peter’s and St Mary’s
This week we continue our occasional series on Prayer,
taken from ‘Prayer: Where to Start and How to Keep Going’,
by Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York.
HOW SHOULD I PRAY?
When you were at school you were probably taught to put your hands together when you prayed. But in one of his many books about prayer, Henri Nouwen says that when we pray “we are asked to open up our tightly clenched fists”. So why not start by holding your clenched fist in front of you, and then slowly opening it, palm up, to receive from God the blessings and wisdom God longs to give you. In this way – your hands open before God – your hand itself can be a basic pattern and reminder of how to pray:
Using your hand as a model for prayer
1. Thumb: When something is good you give it the “thumbs up”. So start with thanksgiving. Count your blessings. What are the good things in your life? Thank God for them.
2. Index finger: This is the finger you use to point. Pray for direction in your life; the decisions you need to make; the things for which you are responsible; the things you are concerned about. Pray for direction in our world and for the challenges we face.
3. Middle finger: This is the tallest finger. Pray for the important people who have power in the world; national and local politicians; the Royal Family and other world leaders and their governments.
4. Ring finger: If you are married, you wear your wedding ring on this finger. It is also the weakest finger. It can’t do much on its own. Pray for your family and friends. Pray for the people you love, for those upon whom you are dependent, and the people who are dependent on you.
5. Little finger: This is the smallest and the last finger on your hand. Pray for the poor, the weak, the helpless, the vulnerable, the excluded, the hungry, the sick, the ill and the bereaved. Remember those who have died.
End your prayer by lifting your open hands to God in thanksgiving and pray for yourself, bringing your concerns to God who loves you.
The sign of the cross
This leads us to probably one of the most basic ways of praying of all, also using your hands. Making a sign of the cross on your forehead or your body. It is one of the ways many Christians begin and end a time of prayer. The sign of the cross reminds us that we belong to Jesus. In Baptism – the start of the Christian life – we are marked with the sign of the cross, the sign that we are saved by the suffering and death of Christ. The sign of the cross reminds us that we belong to Jesus, the crucified one who gave his life for us.
And finally, an 800 year old prayer from Salisbury Cathedral
God be in my head, and in my understanding;
God be in my eyes, and in my looking;
God be in my mouth, and in my speaking;
God be in my heart and in my thinking;
God be at mine end, and at my departing.
Please pray for
- The nations still struggling with Coronavirus
- Those getting married this weekend, having had to re-plan services due to the extension of Covid restrictions, especially Tom Smith and Joana Figueira, and Dominic Rose and Jessica Turner marrying at St Mary's
- For the the sick; especially Nicholas Roynon, John Keast, Richard Lloys, Eric Crewe
- For all who mourn
- For Hugh, Grace and Isaac as they prepare to move to Cornwall, giving thanks for their time with us, and praying for God's blessing on them in their new parish
- Give thanks for all that is good in your life