EDINBURGH NORTHWEST KIRK
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
(Isaiah 9 : 6)
Some prayer topics for December –
Edinburgh Northwest Kirk
We have experienced a large number of bereavements recently. Pray for the many families affected that they may find God’s help in their time of grieving. Also pray for many in our communities who find Christmas to be a time of stress, loneliness and painful memories.
CrossReach Counselling East (CrossReach)
CrossReach Counselling East provides a wide range of therapeutic support and counselling for individuals or couples, children and young people and those affected by substance use. Support is delivered from two city centre premises at Queen Street and Palmerston Place as well as over the phone and online. Prayer is requested for those with poor mental health and well-being for whom Christmas can be the most challenging time of the year. Pray also for staff and volunteers as they give of their time and energy in this ministry.
Pray for a successful resolution to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. Pray for negotiators, leaders and the many who have suffered loss and injury. Pray also for aid agencies and hospital workers trying to bring help to those who are in such need.
As so often happens in the world of media, the conflict in Ukraine has not been so prominent recently having been overtaken by other news. Let us remember those who continue to suffer both in Ukraine and across Europe, either in conflict or in displacement as this war continues through another winter.
Edinburgh Street Pastors (Edinburgh Street Pastors)
Pray for the ministry of Edinburgh Street Pastors over the festive season. Pray that they will be able to provide help and advice to those who find themselves in vulnerable situations.
From the Church of Scotland (Church of Scotland)
The Church of Scotland has joined campaigners to urge the First Minister to keep his promise and provide significant additional investment to tackle child poverty. It has joined more than 150 organisations across Scotland in signing an open letter calling on Humza Yousaf to "do the right thing" and increase the Scottish Child Payment to at least £30 a week in the upcoming budget. Independent analysis actually suggests a payment of £40 per week will be needed to be sure child poverty falls in line with government targets. The Church is committed to speaking truth to power to help tens of thousands of children locked in poverty because supporting the poorest people in society is the Gospel imperative and at the heart of all that it does. Pray for a good response to the letter.
Fresh Start (Fresh Start)
Pray for Fresh Start and the help it provides at Christmas to those who are in special need of assistance. Pray that the special Christmas Packs will make a difference to struggling families and individuals.
Part of a Sermon from Justin Welby
given in Jerusalem on 22/10/23
(The gospel reading that we heard concerned paying taxes to Caesar). It is of course a trap. It's a political trick. The trap which is given to Jesus is this: if he said to his questioners, to the Pharisees, ‘you need to pay taxes to the emperor’, he's showing allegiance to Caesar, the occupying force and he is showing idolatry to the head on the coin. If he says don't pay taxes, he gets into trouble as a rebel and as a rabble rouser. Jesus refuses the false binary of being isolated and cut off and withdrawing from the world around, or being for rebellion as a way in. He refuses the false oversimplification of the situation. That is, incidentally, a very good lesson for us by itself. The lives of Jesus's followers are to be a messy involvement in the midst of the world as it is: living in the world, blessing all people, serving all, but doing it in the name of Christ, who is God over all. And therefore not afraid to stand up against injustice and wrong and tyranny. The same traps exist for us today. The Bible always speaks to us today as powerfully as in every past generation. When we lose touch with the Scriptures, we lose touch with the way that God so often speaks to us. We cannot treat anyone on their own terms, however good or bad they may seem, for God alone sees into the heart. For Jesus to withdraw from the world and hide away from the choices that are put before him would betray his mission and his calling to offer salvation to the world through Cross and Resurrection: a mission completed and carried out not five kilometres from here… Hatred and taking sides in an oversimplified ‘these ones are entirely and unconditionally right and those ones are entirely and unconditionally wrong’, is to get led down the wrong path. It puts our lives into the hands of leaders of one cause or another, whichever country we're in in the world. But the first call of Christ, which he says in his answer, his careful answer, is that our lives are to be trusted to the service of Christ. As the Psalmist says in Psalm 146, do not put your trust in Princes, in mortals in whom there is no help. Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. Happy is also translated into the Septuagint, into the Greek version of the Old Testament, as ‘blessed’. It's a Beatitude. Blessed are those whose hope is in the Lord their God. And what I see here is at the end of everything, the Christians here, because of centuries of oppression and pressure, have put their hope in the Lord their God Blessed is better than happy. I think happy is a pretty ineffective kind of word. I'm happy when I have a nice piece of cake, I'm happy when the dog comes when I call it. Blessed is about living in a life that is full of the action of God engaging with us. It is about the way in which we're lifted up. Human causes always fail at some point. Human ideas and ideologies fade with the passing of time but God’s word lasts forever. This is why we must not simplify. In all conflicts such as the terrible, disastrous conflict in which this land is embroiled, and in which Christians are caught between the pressures of greater human powers. In this land it is essential that we recognise the huge complexity and causes of the conflict, for in simplification there lies only condemnation and ending up trusting in Princes. I am constantly aware how hard it is for you. For all those who are watching in the West Bank. For all those who are listening. I'm constantly aware of the intense pressure on you, the constant indignities and injustices. The way that you are shut down at this moment. The number of those in the West Bank, quite apart from Gaza, who have been shot and killed in the last two weeks. I believe the number I heard yesterday was 74, somewhere around that number, the highest number there has been for very many years in a two week period. How do you hold on to a sense of the love of God? If your son, your brother, your daughter, your mother has just been shot by someone who had no right to be there in the first place by international law. How do you do that? It would be patronising for someone who lives in the immense security and safety of the UK to come and stand among you and tell you what to do. But I know after 20 years of working in places of appalling conflict and cruelty and savagery, such as you are experiencing and experienced from the 7th and on the 7th October, I know that putting your trust in God does not make things easy. But somehow, it changes the foundation on which you stand and prevents the corrosion and the danger of hatred from gaining a foothold in your lives, hearts and communities.
If you have a prayer request or a favourite prayer which you would care to share in a future Prayer Diary, please e-mail office@cramondkirk