DAILY PRAYERS: Saturday, January 25, 2014 — Day 8 of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

 

Theme of the Day: Together…we proclaim the gospel

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 61:1-4; Psalm 145:1-7; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8; Luke 4:14-21

Reflection:

Together we proclaim anew the good news prophesied in Isaiah, fulfilled in our

Lord Jesus, preached by the Apostle Paul, and received by the Church. Facing

honestly the differences we have and the labels of denomination we embrace, we

must never lose sight of the common mandate we have in proclaiming the gospel

of Jesus Christ.

Paul is sent “to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the

cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power” (1 Cor 1:17). The path to unity

is to be found in the power of the cross.

The Gospel we proclaim is made tangible and relevant to us as we bear witness to

the work of Jesus Christ in our own lives and the life of the Christian community.

Questions:

In what ways is the “gospel” you have received bound up with its cultural and

historic transmission?

Has that been an obstacle to unity?

How would our fuller unity in Christ make us better witnesses to the gospel we

have received?

Prayer:

Gracious God, you sent your son Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit to redeem

your people. Unite us in our diversity, that we might affirm and proclaim together

the good news of the life, death and resurrection of Christ for a world in need of his

gospel. Amen.

Week of Prayer 2014

DAILY PRAYERS: Friday, January 24, 2014 — Day 7 of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

 

Theme of the Day: Together…we belong to Christ

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 19:19-25; Psalm 139:1-12; 1 Corinthians 12:12-26; Mark 9:38-41

Reflection:

Isaiah envisioned a day when Egyptians and Assyrians would worship together

with Israel as God’s people. Christian unity belongs to the design of God for the

unity of all humanity, and indeed of the cosmos itself. We pray for the day when

we will worship together in one faith and one Eucharistic fellowship.

We are blessed by the gifts of various church traditions. Recognising those gifts in

each other impels us towards visible unity.

Our baptism unites us as one body in Christ. While we value our particular

churches, Paul reminds us that all who call on the name of the Lord are with us in

Christ for we all belong to the one body. There is no other to whom we can say, “I

have no need of you” (1 Cor 12:21).

Questions:

What are the signs of “belonging to Christ”?

In what ways can the phrase “I belong to Christ” be used to divide Christians

rather than unite them?

Prayer:

We give you thanks, O God, that you bless each and every member of the body of

Christ with the gifts of your Spirit. Help us to be supportive of one another, to be

respectful of our differences, and to work for the unity of all throughout the world

who call upon Jesus as Lord. Amen.

Week of Prayer 2014

DAILY PRAYERS: Thursday, January 23, 2014 — Day 6 of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

 

Theme of the Day: Together…we seek to be in agreement

Scripture Readings: Judges 4:1-9; Psalm 34:1-14; 1 Corinthians 1:10-15; Luke 22:24-30

Reflection:

The disunity described in 1 Corinthians 1:12-13 reflects a distortion of the gospel,

undermining the integrity of the message of Christ. To acknowledge conflict and

division, as Chloe’s people did, is the first step to establishing unity.

Women like Deborah and Chloe raise a prophetic voice among God’s people in

times of conflict and division, confronting us with the need to be reconciled. Such

prophetic voices may enable people to gather in renewed unity for action.

As we strive to be united in the same mind and the same purpose, we are called to

seek the Lord and his peace as the psalmist wrote.

Questions:

Can you remember an occasion when the prophetic naming of a painful church

disagreement was the beginning of a renewed struggle towards greater unity?

What issues still cause divisions among us as an ecumenical body? What paths

do you see towards greater unity?

Prayer:

Loving God, you give us prophetic witnesses in times of conflict and division.

When we seek you, Lord, send us your Holy Spirit to make us artisans of

reconciliation, united in the same mind and the same purpose. Through Jesus

Christ our Lord, we pray. Amen.

Week of Prayer 2014

DAILY PRAYERS: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 — Day 5 of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

 

Theme of the Day: Together…we are called into fellowship

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 43:1-7; Psalm 133; 1 John 1:3-7; John 15:12-17

Reflection:

We are called into fellowship with God the Source of all being, with Jesus Christ

the Eternal Word and the Holy Spirit. As we draw closer to the Triune God,

we are drawn closer to one another in Christian unity.

Christ has initiated a change in our relationship, calling us friends instead of

servants. In response to this relationship of love, we are called out of relationships

of power and domination into friendship and love of one another.

Called by Jesus, we witness to the gospel both to those who have not yet heard it

and to those who have. This proclamation contains a call into fellowship with God,

and establishes fellowship among those who respond.

Questions:

In what ways do you experience the call into fellowship with God?

In what ways is God calling you into fellowship with others within your church

and beyond?

Prayer:

God of love, you have called us into the fellowship of Jesus Christ and appointed us

to bear fruit in our witness to the gospel. By the grace of your Spirit, enable us to

love one another and to dwell together in unity so that our joy may be complete.

Amen.

Week of Prayer 2014

DAILY PRAYERS: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 — Day 4 of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Theme for the Day: Together…we affirm that God is faithful

Scripture Readings: Lamentations 3:19-26; Psalm 57:7-11; Hebrews 10:19-25; Luke 1:67-75

Reflection:

The eternal unity of Father, Son and Spirit draws us closer into the love of God,

and calls us to participate in God’s work in the world which is love, mercy and

justice. Mercy and justice are not divided in God, but rather are joined together in

the steadfast love manifested in God’s covenant with us and with all of creation.

The new father Zechariah testifies to God’s manifestation of mercy in keeping his

promises to Abraham and his descendents. God is faithful to his holy covenant.

As we continue to pray for the unity of the church, we must not neglect to meet

together and encourage one another, spurring each other on towards love and good

deeds, saying: “God is faithful.”

Questions:

In what ways have you discerned God’s faithfulness in your life and the life of

your community in the past year?

 In what ways does God’s faithfulness inspire us to pursue the goal of Christian

unity?

Prayer:

Faithful God, we give thanks for your steadfast love and your devotedness that

extends to the clouds. As we wait in joyful hope, working and praying together for

the full visible unity of your church, fill us with confidence in your promises . We

make this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in the power of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever. Amen.

Week of Prayer 2014

DAILY PRAYERS: Monday, January 20, 2014 — Day 3 of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Theme for the Day: Together…we are not lacking in any spiritual gifts

Scripture Readings: Job 28:20-28; Psalm 145:10-21; Ephesians 4:7-13; Mark 8:14-21

Reflection:

Job realizes that even though all has been taken away from him, the fear of the

Lord remains – that is wisdom. As brothers and sisters in Christ, even though we

are impoverished by our divisions, we have all been graced with an abundance of

diverse gifts, both spiritual and material to build up his body.

Yet, despite God’s promises and Jesus’ generous life and love, we, like the

disciples in Mark, sometimes forget our true wealth: we divide, we hoard; we

speak and act as if we have “no bread”.

Christ has not been divided: together we have gifts enough to share with one

another and “with every living thing”.

Questions:

In what ways have we forgotten the abundance of God’s gifts, proclaiming

instead “we have no bread”?

In what ways can we better share the spiritual and material gifts entrusted to us

to share with others?

Prayer:

Faithful, open-handed God, we bless you that you have given us all the spiritual

gifts we need to come to the measure of the full stature of Christ : for wisdom, for

gifts of service and for bread. Help us to be signs of your abundance, gathered in

unity to bring the gifts of your everlasting kingdom to every place of pain and lack.

Filled with the Spirit, we pray in the name of the One whose gift was the bread of

his life broken for us, now and forever. Amen.

Week of Prayer 2014

DAILY PRAYERS: Sunday, January 19, 2014 — Day 2 of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

 

Theme for the Day: Together…we give thanks for God’s grace in one another

Scripture Readings: Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Psalm 100; Philippians 1:3-11; John 1:1-18

Reflection:

Gratitude, in Deuteronomy, is a way of living life with a deep awareness of God’s

presence within us and around us. It is the ability to recognize God’s grace active

and alive in one another and in all people everywhere and to give God thanks. The

joy that flows from this grace is so great that it embraces even “the aliens who

reside among you”.

Gratitude, in the ecumenical context, means being able to rejoice in the gifts of

God’s grace present in other Christian communities, an attitude that opens the door

to ecumenical sharing of gifts and to learning from one another.

All of life is a gift from God: from the moment of creation to the moment God

became flesh in the life and work of Jesus, to this moment in which we are living.

Let us thank God for the gifts of grace and truth given in Jesus Christ, and manifest

in one another and our churches.

Questions:

What are the gifts of God’s grace that we already experience from other church

traditions in our own communities?

In what ways might Christians of different traditions better receive and share

the varied gifts that God has given to each of us?

Prayer:

Most loving and gracious God, we give thanks for the gifts of your grace that we

experience in our own tradition and in the traditions of other churches. By the

grace of your Holy Spirit, may our gratitude continue to grow as we encounter one

another and experience your gift of unity in new ways. This we pray through Jesus

Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Week of Prayer 2014

DAILY PRAYERS: Saturday, January 18, 2014 — Day 1 of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Theme for the Day:  Together…we are called to be saints

Scripture Readings: Exodus 19:3-8; Psalm 95:1-7; 1 Peter 2:9-10; Matthew 12:46-50

Reflection:

Together, we who call upon the name of the Lord are called to be saints “sanctified

in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor 1:2). In Exodus, this gathering together of God’s people is

described as a treasured possession, a priestly kingdom and a holy nation.

In 1 Peter, our membership in this communion of saints is understood to come as a

result of God calling us together as a chosen race, a royal priesthood, God’s own

people. With this calling comes a shared mandate to proclaim the mighty acts of

God that drew us out of darkness and into God’s light.

Furthermore, we discover in Matthew that as a communion of saints, our oneness

in Jesus is to extend beyond our family, clan, or class as together we pray for unity

and seek to do the will of God.

Questions:

What does the term “communion of saints” mean for you or for your church

tradition?

In what ways does our calling to be a “holy nation” compel us to go beyond our

local Christian setting?

Prayer:

Merciful God, together with all those who call on the name of the Lord, in our

brokenness we hear your call to be saints. Yet you have made us a chosen race, a

royal priesthood, a holy nation. By the power of your Holy Spirit, draw us together

in the communion of saints and strengthen us to do your will and to proclaim the

mighty acts of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Week of Prayer 2014