Welcome…… to our resource sheet for our Lent Course – Pray Lent.
This week we are thinking about how we pray when life gets hard or when we feel helpless and we don’t know how or what to pray.
It seems right that in the current climate we take some time to just pause……
We are watching the horrors of war unfold before our very eyes on our TV screens, on the radio, in podcasts, in the news. How do we pray? What do we pray? When we see such devastation and the loss of life – how do we pray in hard times? And do we ever wonder where God is in all of this?
To help guide our thinking I talked to 3 women who might offer some insight and their thoughts can be seen on the Pray Lent Video that accompanies this resource sheet:
Rev Shuna Dicks is a Church of Scotland Minister in Aberdeen works as a Padre for a local Army Cadet Unit
Gill Thomas is a mother whose son is exploring a career in the armed forces
Ruth Harvey is Leader of the Iona Community www.iona.org.uk
Liturgy for Ukraine
Where can we find words and music to help us pray?
The Wild Goose Resource Group has a liturgy we can use https://www.wildgoose.scot/Ukraine-liturgy
There are also ‘Songs to support prayer for Ukraine’ and an audio recording of ‘Psalms for the Spirit’ – how do the psalms help us connect with God?
The liturgy for Ukraine can be found here
In the video we pray this prayer:
Let us pray
In you, our God,
is our hope and consolation.
Your love is beyond our deserving,
your wisdom is beyond our understanding, your light is greater than our darkness.
We wish we could enter your presence with songs of rejoicing;
but not here, not now.
Our hearts are heavy, our minds bewildered, our uncertainty disturbs our faith.
and how long? and what next?
... these are the questions we bring, not looking for instant answers, but hoping that we will be heard.
Music: Kyrie from Ukraine
quieten our personal anxieties,
so that we may better feel
for those whose land has been invaded whose towns and homes are ravaged, and whose lives are under threat. Quieten us,
so that we may listen for a word
The Inescapable God
To the leader. Of David. A Psalm.
1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me. 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. 3 You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. 5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, 10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. 11 If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night’, 12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.
13 For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed. 17 How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 I try to count them—they are more than the sand; I come to the end[a]—I am still with you.
19 O that you would kill the wicked, O God, and that the bloodthirsty would depart from me— 20 those who speak of you maliciously, and lift themselves up against you for evil![b] 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. 24 See if there is any wicked[c] way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.[d]
Here are a variety of ways in which you might pray around the current situation or at times when life is hurting and we find it hard to pray or indeed when God seems distant.
You may like to think about:
Have there been times in your life when prayer was difficult?
Who or what ministered / fed you during this time?
Have you ever found yourself between a rock and a hard place? As you looked back did anything creative come out of this time?
Praying with what we are watching, listening, reading in the media.
What stands out for you?
What images have you been drawn to?
If you were in the same situation what would you do?
What would you want God to do? Others to do? To do yourself? How are you feeling?
Does what you see/ hear/ read help you to pray for those involved? For yourself?
Talk to God about this - ask questions of both yourself and your own response - Why? What? How?