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Prayers and Reflections for individuals and churches

During this time of Covid-19 lockdown, NWBA churches are working in new and creative ways to stay in touch with each other and also connect with their communities. On this page we offer a number of prayers that have been put together by a number of our churches and ministers. Many emerge from interaction with the church members as they reflect on their experience. We are particularly grateful to Carolyn Urwin, minister at Latchford Baptist church for compiling a number of these. Please feel free to use them if they are of help to you.

You can also visit our Faithspace website, which offers a number of ideas that have been developed through our café-style gatherings. this link will take you there.

When it's OK not to be OK
One of the most useful messages we need to hear at the moment is that 'it's OK not to be OK'. When speaking to others, it's easy just to say I'm fine which may be true, but we also need the space to acknowledge and support each other when things aren't fine. Produced by one of our NWBA ministers, this download offers a number of practical ways of helping us through current realities. Click here to download more

Where your treasure is.
One of the things that many have thought about during this time of pandemic is how to care for our minds and our souls. We have thought about some of the things that can help in this. One thing that we might add to the list is to live more simply... Click here to download more

Finding Hope.
We all need hope. And the more challenging and disturbing our circumstances, the more we benefit from knowing that we can be sure about what we hope for. Words of Paul in the book of Romans remind us that our hope is found in God... Click here to download more

Present Help.
These are uncertain times. Concerning times. Stressful times. And with the shorter days and colder, greyer weather, the return of lockdown is a further challenge to our mental health. It has the potential to make us anxious, fearful and gloomy. So words that encourage us and send us back to the timeless truths of the Bible are good to have on hand... Click here to download more

Fixing our Gaze.
There is a famous line in the film Apollo 13 in which Jim Lovell says 'Houston, without the computer, what do we use for orientation?' After an onboard explosion, the crew of the spaceship found that the only way to navigate was to fix their eyes on the one steady point of reference available to them - the earth... Click here to download more

A Reflection for Pentecost for personal use or inclusion in your online service can be downloaded as a document or is also available as a video

Circling Prayers
When we struggle to find the words to pray, circling prayers can help us. They have their origins in Celtic Christian spirituality. They are simple prayers which speak of God’s protective 'circling' presence. They can help us invite God's encompassing presence into the circumstances we face and the issues we care about. We can use them to pray for ourselves and for others. Click here to download more

Why am I feeling this way?
Members of one of our churches were asked to sum up in three words how they are feeling in this strange, new coronavirus dominated world. It was a way of helping express something of the turmoil of emotions that people are experiencing just now. The prayer written using them expressed a range of feelings – bewilderment, confusion, annoyance, anxiety, fear, to name but a few. Everyone’s response was different and hardly any words were duplicated, although some were fairly similar. click to read more

The Rollercoaster
It's strange how we suddenly develop a new vocabulary as times change. How unthought-of words take on a new, ominous significance - distancing … lockdown … rollercoaster. click to read more

Prejudice and Protest
This reflection and prayer was initially compiled in the days after the death of George Floyd. However, the issues and questions raised by his death remain with us. Those following our NWBA weekly services and reflections will be aware of the emphasis on seeking the Kingdom beyond our familiar places and assumptions. This reflection may be of help in considering these issues further. Click here to download.

Labyrinths consist of a single winding path to a centre. They can be a means for finding stillness and space for prayer and reflection. Their twists and turns help us connect with the changes and challenges in our lives. 'Walking' a finger labyrinth is like making a journey in a limited space and time. Follow the path in your own time and open your mind and heart to God. Follow this link for more

Resilience Calendar
Although originally produced for July 2020, this resource from actionforhappiness.org offers a way of helping people focus on their own wellbeing during this challenging times. You can find other calendars at www.actionforhappiness.org/calendars

Have to go through it
One of the most popular children's books of the last 20 years has been Michael Rosen's We're Going on a Bear Hunt. Since it was written in 1989, it has been a best seller every year, sold over 9 million copies and won numerous awards. For those of you who may have missed out on the pleasure of reading it, it is a poem telling the story of a family who go on a bear hunt ... read more

'In a world where you can be anything, be kind.' Caroline Flack wrote on Instagram last December, only a few weeks before she died. Sadly, she is by no means the only person in the public eye to discover that not all people are kind. But thankfully, no matter how restricted many of us are at the moment, making a difference by being kind is something we can all still do. click here to read more

Consider the Trees
Trees have a special place in the Bible. Unlike in the UK, with all its parks and lush countryside, in may parts of the Middle East, trees were scarce. Carolyn Urwin offers a reflection for Autumn click here to read more . . .

Consider the Dandelions
That might not be exactly what Jesus said, but it is not that different to: ‘See how the flowers of the field grow’ (Matt 6:28). Whilst the words of the Authorised Version might be stored somewhere in the back of our minds: ‘Consider the lilies of the field’, most newer translations talk about wild flowers. And dandelions are wild flowers, are they not? What does this have to do with life a few months into lockdown? click here to read more . . .

Things that Last
At the moment there seem to be many things we thought would last a long, long time which have suddenly ended. Church services, groups and clubs, family get togethers, coffees with friends, jobs, school, shops, travel, holidays ... Everything we built the structure of our lives on, taken from under our feet or remaining under threat. When everything around us has been shaken, our resilience and ability not only to survive but also to grow and thrive, will depend on where our foundations lie. Where should our foundations really lie? Read more …

Road Ahead Closed
Carolyn Urwin, Minister at Latchford Baptist church offers a reflection which you can share with others. Road closures and diversions can be part and parcel of reality when we regularly have to travel some distance. Much depends on how we react to them. Our current experience might well be described as a 'road closure' or 'diversion'. This reflection offers some thoughts on how we might respond.

Come away by yourselves
Written in the early days of lockdown, this reflection is a reminder that lonely places can be sad places, but they can also be places where we discover God's presence in our solitude. Click here to read more.

Learning from Lockdown
I wonder whether you ever played 'Hide and Seek' as a child - the game where in the time it took to count up to 20 you had to secrete yourself in the most unfindable place in the house so you were the last to be found when the seeker came looking. Maybe you found yourself in the under-the -stairs cupboard or the back of the wardrobe or under a bed. Wherever it was, it was usually dark click here for more

What Peter did next
The first half of the Christian year is a series of festivals from Advent to Pentecost. But as they come to their conclusion we are called to stay with the story Pentecost is not the end, the last of the Christian festivals from which we take a break until we begin it all again at Christmas. Pentecost is the beginning. The story in Acts continues straight on from the end of the gospels and in our lives the story should continue too. Click here to read more

What Peter did after that
Following on from the reflection 'What Peter did Next', Carolyn Urwin reflects on how we share the story of our experiences of God at work click here to read

The Acts of the Sent Ones

A series of resources from Carolyn Urwin based on the narratives of the Early Church in the book of Acts.

Arresting Circumstances
Another reflection from Carolyn that could be shared as a weekly sermon or study resource, continuing to trace the life and experience of the early Christian believers in the New Testament book of Acts. (acts 4:1-22) Click here to download.

Supporting and Sharing
Another reflection from Carolyn that could be shared as a weekly sermon or study resource, continuing to trace the life and experience of the early Christian believers in the New Testament book of Acts. (Acts 4:32-37) Click here to download.

Praying with Power (Acts 4:23-31)
Peter and John have been freed from jail and tell the believers everything that has happened. No doubt they said more than is reported to us here, but it is interesting to note what they said and what they didn't. Click for more

Dealing with Deception (Acts 5:1-11)
The picture of the community of believers in the early part of Acts may sound idyllic, but the narrative does not gloss over the evidence of sin within the fellowship of believers. The opening paragraphs of chapter 5 outline an incident that we might be tempted to hurry past, but the fact that it was important enough to be recorded as part of the story of the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those he had sent to continue the work of Jesus means we should take notice. Click for more

Family Division (Acts 6:1-7)
As the church in Jerusalem grew, so did the amount of need that the community was having to meet. Clearly, the bigger the family grew, the more of a logistical problem this presented, and a greater degree of organisation was needed. But the problem that had arisen was not only a practical one, but also a relational one. Tension had emerged because the Greek-speaking Jews felt that their widows were not receiving a fair proportion of the daily food handouts. Click for more

Stephen's Story (Acts 6:8 - 8:3)
As the Early Church's story continues, we focus on the story of one man, Stephen. We discover once more that being given the Holy Spirit to enable them to be bearers of the presence and power of Jesus in the world around them didn’t mean life would be easy for the early Believers. Stephen was facing false accusations from people who had a lot to lose. He has already been introduced to us earlier in this chapter as ‘a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit’ (v5). Now, the miraculous deeds the Holy Spirit was performing through him had attracted attention and opposition. Click for more

'I am the true vine...Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.[John 15:1&4]'

Loving Gardener,
tender of the vine of my life,
I thank you for your care and nurture.
In this new season,
this unexpected change of climate,
thank you for keeping me fed and watered.
Thank you for all the evidence I can see around me
of your presence and attention.
I thank you too for your pruning.
It has been hard and painful
to have had so many parts of my life removed.
I miss them. I grieve for them.
I feel more vulnerable without them;
limited; less substantial; less me.
And yet I can see there is now space for new growth.
I can understand that the strength these branches drew from me
can now be used for new things.
I can notice the fruit you are forming
and devote my energy into helping it flourish,
new parts of me not there before,
which can be ultimately used to feed and nourish others
and generate new life elsewhere.
And so I praise you for your faithful, unending love,
I pray for your continued protection and provision
and I ask that I may so live in the love of Christ and his love live in me
that the fruit of this season might last forever.

A reflection from Easter Day
Lord Jesus,
today I stand in a garden of shadows
a place of tombs
weeping at the loss
of all that was

May I sense you
standing by my side,
may I hear your voice
speaking my name,
may your words
fill me with hope.

A Prayer for those who are struggling
When the pain of loss is agonising
When the sorrow of loss is harrowing
When the frustration of loss is unending
When the loneliness of loss is devastating
When the fear of loss is overwhelming
When the desperation of loss is mounting
May you remember that God is with you
and that God alone is enough.

A prayer for a struggling friend
Lord, I am weary, may I be renewed.
Lord, I am worn, may I be refreshed.
Lord, I am broken, may I be restored.
May your peace guard my heart and mind.
Fix my thoughts on what is true.
Hold me in your perfect peace
as today I trust in you.
(Phil 4:7-8 and Isaiah 26:3)