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Related Bible reading(s): Matthew 10.24-39

Welcome to ROOTS at home for adults

Worship-at-home resources to help you read and reflect on this week's Bible passages

ROOTS is a partnership of denominations and other Christian organisations and has been publishing lectionary-based worship resources online and in print since 2002.

Copyright
You are welcome to copy this material for use in your own resources e.g. printed sheets or web pages including audio/video recordings. If you do so, please include this acknowledgement to ROOTS:
© ROOTS for Churches Ltd (www.rootsontheweb.com) 2002-2020.
Reproduced with permission.

NEW! The world ablaze:
Prayers for difficult times

 

Opening prayer

Do not fear to bring your pain to God.
Do not fear to bring your doubts.
Do not fear to bring your lack of confidence.
Do not fear to bring your worst, as well as your best.
Do not fear to bring your memories and your dreams,
your hopes and your anguish.
God knows you and loves you.
God will never give up on you. 

Thank you, God. Amen.

 

Introduction: Addressing fear

Three times in this passage Jesus speaks to his disciples about not being afraid (vv. 26, 28 and 31). Clearly the disciples experienced some level of fear. Jesus tackled this fear head on, not shying away from either the consequences of following in his footsteps or of the paramount importance of doing so. Jesus identifies fear, particularly of any consequences to the body, as being a potential silencer of the disciples. It seems the disciples are afraid of being treated harshly, physically.

What silences Christians today: fear of rough treatment, being called names, being argued with, being embarrassed and being regarded as mad? Do we really know so we can address it?

 

PostScript: Shocked into seeing

 

This week's Live your faith sheet

(Bible notes, prayers, a picture and questions for reflection, a live your faith action)

 

Activity: Lord of the rings

If you have access to (e.g. the DVD or via a streaming service), watch part – or if lockdown gives you enough time, all – of the final instalment of The Lord of the Rings (‘The Return of the King’). Think, or in a group talk together, about Frodo’s almost overwhelming experiences in trying to do the right thing and get rid of the ring. Can you empathise with any part of what he goes through? Can you see any parallels with your own life or faith journey?

If The Lord of the rings is too long, a shorter alternative might be to consider Bilbo Baggins’ experiences in The Hobbit. Or to read from the book. Or from another book based on the struggles of walking the right way (e.g. The Pilgrims Progress).

 

Prayers

A prayer when the going gets tough

Living Lord, please help us on our journey.
Please help us, Lord, to trust you.
Please help us when the going gets tough.
Please help us to stay faithful.
Please help us to be honest.
Please help us, Lord, to praise you.
Please help us to be loyal to friends
And to you always grateful. Amen.

 

A prayer for others

Set out five tealights (electric ones are safer). After each petition, light a tealight and keep a moment of silence.

Lord Jesus, you knew that family life wasn’t easy.

We pray for our families, for all the joys and frustrations.

We pray for all families suffering today:

  • for those where relationships have completely broken down…
  • for those in which some have had to flee their homes, in fear…
  • for those where there has been tragedy…
  • for those where there have been harsh words said,
    and the way back together is hard…
  • for all who live with us and those who live apart from us…

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. Amen.

 

A way into prayer

You will need a piece of string or wool about 30cm in length. Tie three knots in your string (any type of knot).

As you tie the first knot, think about and pray for people who serve God in a country that is not their own (e.g. those who work for Christian Aid and Tear Fund).

As you tie the second knot, pray for those who are struggling with a sense of calling (e.g. to a specific ministry or role in the church, or to a career change).

As you tie the third knot, think about yourself, asking that you be equipped to face the challenges that your own discipleship brings.

 

A prayer for schools returning after pandemic closure

God, we wonder where Jesus learned to read and write:
perhaps the Nazareth Synagogue.
We wonder what and where he played as a boy.
We remember he cracked a joke about children playing at weddings and funerals.

We pray for all children whose games are confined and frustrated
but all the more precious.
We pray for our schools as they begin to welcome children back,
making safe space for their learning, and their play,
which attends to serious things in life.

We remember Jesus growing up to be a great storyteller and teacher,
and so pray for teachers today,
blessing them for their story telling, encouraging and guiding,
especially when they have their own anxieties to keep at bay.

We remember Jesus as protector of the vulnerable.
We pray for all the staff, administrators, cooks, cleaners and caretakers,
with new and complex responsibilities keeping everyone safe.

We pray for any who are fearful of returning and any who are frustrated not to be able to.
Reassure them all that, as children, teachers and protectors of the vulnerable,
you are very, very close to them.
Assure them that we treasure them, and so do you.
Amen.

 

A prayer of hope for the days ahead

A response to use after each section

Give them strength when they are struggling,
comfort when they are down,
and hope for the days ahead

The going has got tough Lord, really tough,
for those who continue to put in long hard shifts,
and for those who continue to work long hours,
in hospitals... in schools... in care homes… in their own homes…

The going has got tough
for children and young people,
those are struggling to learn away from school...
those who are missing their friends...
those who are afraid for their future and worried about exams...... 

The going has got tough
for businesses, for employers and employees,
those who are back at work in shops and other places
but are worried about viability and safety...
those who can't open their businesses yet...
those who are afraid they never will... 

The going has got tough
for those standing up for change...
those bowed down by years of injustice...
those enforcing the law...
those who feel let down by the law 

The going has got tough
for those awaiting surgery and treatment...
those who are in constant pain…
those who are suffering alone…
those who are grieving... 

The going has got tough
for our churches, our families, our communities –
and for each of us in different ways… 

But we pray for your strength in our struggles,
your comfort when we are down,
and your hope for the days ahead –
in Jesus’ name.

Amen.

A personal prayer

Lord Jesus, let me be like you.
Let me see with your eyes,
speak the words you would use,
do the things you would do.

Lord Jesus, let me love like you.
Let your heart of compassion dwell in me.
Teach me how to look, how to see.
Lord Jesus, live in me. Amen.

 

Listen and sing

Preview songs on YouTube, buy online and download.

Hard love, feat. Lauren Daigle, Needtobreathe on The shack: music from and inspired by the original motion picture 
Alive again, Seventh day slumber on Alive again 
Run to you, Philippa Hanna on Speed of light

Traditional hymn(s): Lord, for the years your love has kept and guided

 

Don’t forget that, as subscribers,
all the normal weekly and issue-based materials are available to you:
  • Bible notes
  • In conversation with the Scriptures
  • A range of adaptable prayers and activities 
  • PLUS The archive!

 

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This resource is taken from www.rootsontheweb.com and is copyright © 2002-2020 ROOTS for Churches.