Tag Archives: prayer stations

Prayer (Part 2)

Does prayer work?

In this post I am going to look at intercessory prayer – asking God for something (usually for others).

It rather depends what you mean by work – and what happens if it doesn’t “work”.

Almost all Christians will have had experience of an apparent failure of God to answer prayer.  I wonder how many children haven’t received x for a birthday or Christmas, or adults someone not receiving the healing that has been prayed for.

In the Church of England’s guidelines on the healing ministry, “A Time to Heal“, it is recognised that healing is different from “cure”; it even goes so far as to say that sometimes death can be healing.

In prayer we are aligning ourselves with God’s will, but all too often unanswered prayers are prayers which are not answered the way we want, rather than the way God wants.  When we or loved ones are ill it is ever so tempting to pray for a cure – but is that God’s will?  Instead, I find myself praying that God’s will be done.  It perhaps prevents me having to question why my prayer wasn’t answered, but it also perhaps helps me to come to terms with whatever is happening – which is an answer, but not the one that I might have been looking for.

Alan

St Mark’s Journey

On Sunday we had prayer stations instead of our sermon and then last evening our Adventurers Group (7-12s) also walked around the six stations in groups of three. They really enjoyed it. Here are the stations for anyone interested:

1

St Mark’s Journey

It is likely that St Mark is also the young man known as “John Mark” in the Gospels and that his is the young man who collected water and led the disciples to the Upper Room where they had the Last Supper. Indeed, it is thought that the disciples regularly stayed at Mark’s mum’s house in Jerusalem when they visited. Tradition has it that the Upper Room was where all these things happened:

· the Washing of the Feet

· some resurrection appearances of Jesus

· the gathering of the disciples after the Ascension of Jesus

· the election of Saint Matthias as apostle

· the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost

Mark’s home was a place where the disciples met together – the first church – a special place. Take a moment to think about the places and people who are special to you. The places where you find fellowship.

If you wish to, tear off a piece of bread and eat it with thankfulness for the fellowship you share.

2

St Mark’s Journey

It is thought that Mark was there at the time when Jesus was arrested and wrote himself into his Gospel – there is a little cameo appearance:

A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.

Mark 14:51-52

Mark is actually naked when Jesus is arrested, he is fleeing, frightened, not able to control things. Sometimes we feel like this too. Is there anything that is frightening you at the moment? Can you trust God with it?

If you would like to, pick up a piece of cloth and feel how flimsy it is, place it on the cross, remembering a time when we felt weak. Or pick up a stone and feel the weight of it – our burdens can feel so heavy – place it at the foot of the cross remembering that Jesus promised to take our burdens and give us rest.

3

St Mark’s Journey

Mark had a cousin, Barnabas, who invited Mark to go travelling with him and St Paul. Mark quit after a few months and Paul was furious. Later, Barnabas wanted to give him a second chance but Paul refused. A big row happened, ending with Barnabas journeying with Mark and Paul going in a different direction.

Sometimes relationships break down. Sometimes we let people down. Sometimes it is hard to forgive, especially when we are still hurting.

If you would like to, pick up a nail and think about anything you would like to confess to God. When you are ready, put the nail back down as a sign of forgiveness.

God forgives you.

Forgive yourself.

Forgive others.

4

St Mark’s Journey

Later Paul, Barnabus and Mark made up and Mark travelled to Rome to look after Paul in prison. Both St Peter and St Paul were so fond of Mark that they called him their son.

Think of people in need – those in prison, or in war torn countries, or those who are sick or grieving. If you would like to, light a candle and say a prayer for them.

5

St Mark’s Journey

It is believed that it was St Peter who filled in the missing details for Mark when he wrote down the Gospel. Mark’s Gospel was the first to be written and it was the basis for the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. Those who know about Greek say that Mark’s Greek is not very good – it is a rough and ready text in very inelegant Greek. But Mark used the skills and knowledge that he had and give us the wonderful gift of his Gospel. This text has transformed the lives of people down the ages.

If you would like to, pick up a pebble and think about the people who have helped you. Put the pebble in the water and watch the ripples. Pray that you may help other people and that the effects might transform people’s lives.

6

St Mark’s Journey

Later, Mark travelled to Alexandria (in Egypt) and started a church there – which is now part of the Coptic Church and aspects of the Coptic liturgy can be traced to St Mark himself. He is credited with bringing Christianity to Africa.

St Mark was a great evangelist, is there anyone who you could bring to church so they might know more about God? Take a moment to pray about this. On the bookmark there is part of the ancient liturgy of St Mark… Please take a bookmark to remember this journey.