Verse and Prayer for 22nd October

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us. But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing.
1 John 1:8‭-‬9 GNB

The following Sunday, after hearing their pastor talk about the freedom that comes with confession and the triumph of grace over shame, Allison pulled Sara aside. “I need to talk to you, Mom.” Allison broke down and revealed all that had happened, including her attempts to cover up what she’d seen by lying about it. As she confessed, Sara saw her daughter’s countenance change. It was as if a cloud had lifted. Allison’s shadowy face became joyful and radiant. The transformation made sense to Sara. “When we keep things hidden,” she said, “it always leads to deeper and darker things. It’s a mercy, not a burden, to be found out.” (taken from Praying the Scriptures for your children by Jodie Berndt)

Do you need to say “Dad, I need to talk to you”? Our heavenly Father is always available to hear about our mistakes, our deliberate sins, our stresses and our burdens. Lean on him and tell him all about it; he is faithful and just and will deal with us out of pure love.

Father, please forgive me for trying to deal with problems myself, for trying to cover up my faults and for not involving you in my daily plans. I realise that there is freedom in giving it all to you so I am telling you about [mention anything that has not gone right recently]. I confess that I deliberately [mention anything you know was wrong but you did it anyway]. I would like your help with [tell God about your plans for today or tomorrow]. Thank you Father for your love and forgiveness and help, I depend on them so much. Amen

VERSE & PRAYER FOR 15th October by Sarah

Some trust in their war
chariots and others in their horses, but we trust in the power of the LORD our God.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭20:7‬ ‭GNB‬‬
This verse was given to me approximately 4 years ago by the Holy Spirit. Prior to that I wouldn’t have thought about this scripture. But it was during the time of the Plowman Tower refurbishment and Oxford City Council wanted all leaseholders to pay the whole bill. The leaseholders in different blocks were sent bills for over 50k each. So we formed Oxford Tower block Leaseholder Association to work together and pay towards getting our own surveyor and barrister to represent us. We met weekly or forthrightly to discuss issues, different bills for each block and what we could do and how we would go forward. All meetings were very stressful and we would sometimes come away feeling it isn’t worth all the arguments, hurts and upsets. It was after one of such meeting the following day while sitting on a bus going to work, I was thinking about the meeting I got so troubled in my spirit, then I heard “Some trusts in chariots and some in horses, but we will trust in the Lord”. I thought where is that in the bible, so I googled and found it was Psalm 20:7. And from that day and throughout the process of all the other meetings with prayers I kept my focus on Psalm 20:7. Thanks be to God he knows exactly how to speak to our hearts just when we’re feeling overwhelmed by circumstances. And 3 years after praise God we won our case and I ended up just paying £2640. The point is, COVID-19 is also a process, and as Christians we have choices whether to focus on the chaos or on what God says in his words of promises!
Questions? Do you think God has changed? Are we not seeing the most impossible time 2020 has brought us …COVID-19 with all its trimmings? And may I ask another question? Is the Creator and sustainer of the universe able to handle anything beyond human capabilities?
I don’t know about you, but I have a huge grin on my face right now. “God says, is anything too hard for me” Rejoice my church families God’s got this!
Lord Jesus, You are high and lifted up, and your train filled the temple. You are Jehovah the self existence God. You exist outside this world you’ve made, therefore LORD, whatever, wherever, however and whoever… you knew before we came to be. Abba, would you allow us to see that You have everything under your control. We are reminded in Hebrews 4:13 “ Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eye”
As your beloved children help us to draw near to you and you will draw near to us as James mention in 4:8. And just in case we are still worried about families, friends, colleagues and neighbours, and those we are acquainted with. May we pop over to Philippians 4:6-7
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
‭‭Amen and have a blessed day😊

Verse and prayer for 8th October

Daniel 6: 10

Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened towards Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.

A couple of times this week, via different sources, the concept of a ‘rule of life’ has come up. Pete Scazzero describes a rule of life as the trellis upon which we grow. It gives us a framework and helps us grow intentionally in a particular direction. We can develop rules of life as individuals, churches and wider communities. The principle being that we are intentional about growing in our love for Jesus and each other to God’s glory. It strikes me that Daniel had a ‘rule of life’, a clear framework that kept him close to God even when other support systems failed. Daniel was intentional about what he ate, how often he prayed, what he said and who had power over him. We, too, need to be clear about what is non-negotiable. We need to recognise those activities and principles that shape and define who we are and which anchor us when we go through trials and storms. We need to ensure these activities and principles do not take priority over God or become a god but that we continue to use them to draw us near to God. Perhaps you would like to try and list a few things that are necessary for your spiritual growth and that you would keep doing no matter what threats are made against you.

Father God, I thank you that you do not love me because of what I do or say or think but that you love me because you made me and you delight in me. I want to know you more and to grow in love for you and for your people and your creation. Please show me those things that are essential to that growth and help me to do them faithfully. To the glory of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

Verse and Prayer for 1st October

Daniel 4:34-35

34 At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honoured and glorified him who lives forever.

His dominion is an eternal dominion;

    his kingdom endures from generation to generation.

35 All the peoples of the earth

    are regarded as nothing.

He does as he pleases

    with the powers of heaven

    and the peoples of the earth.

No one can hold back his hand

    or say to him: “What have you done?”

How great is your God? Is it not easy to unwittingly make God small in our eyes? To be concerned with our plans and concerns and assume that God is there to fix things and make them right? How often do you consciously realise that, in prayer, you address the Most High God and that the praises you sing are of the Lord Almighty, your creator and sustainer? There are passages of scripture that speak of a terrifying God whose might and power are without parallel – do we really appreciate how incredible it is that we can come before this God because of Jesus? I say this, not to make God out to be some terrifying monster but, to remind us that God is Sovereign and has all power, that he chooses to act for our good, He is marvellous and we do not deserve his help. And yet, God is so very pleased to help us because he loves us. He welcomes us to come and speak and spend time with him.

Let’s take a moment to bow before God and focus on him, praising and thanking him, exalting and honouring him, rather than bringing a list of requests.

Prayer: How great thou art! Lord, you are mighty and strong and powerful. You are kind and gracious and loving. I praise you and lift up your name. I thank you, you are so good to me. You provide for me and uphold me. You calm me, satisfy me and I am secure in your arms. Father, I love you and I look forward to discovering what we will do together today. Amen.

Verse and prayer for 24th September

Deuteronomy 10:12
And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul
Micah 6:8
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God
Isaiah 30:21
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Adam and Eve, Enoch, David, the disciples – they all walked with the Lord, some physically, some blamelessly, some falteringly. No matter how we walk it matters who we walk with. There is companionship and safety in walking together and the more you walk with some one the more opportunities you have to share and get to know them. You also end up in the same places! So consider who you are walking with and where you are going. There are two songs that evoke for me great images of walking with God and they encourage me to walk with the Lord more. Put you hand in the hand of the man from Galilee brings to mind the picture of a child putting their hand in that of their Father as they walk and talk and learn about life together. In the garden brings to mind that ease of companionship and unhurriedness that is experienced when you amble with the one you love. I pray that you may experience the joy and safety and intimacy of walking with your Lord who delights to spend time with you.

Prayer: Father, thank you for loving me, for being constant and true and having great compassion. I want to walk with you, to hear you speak and to spend endless hours in your company. Thank you Jesus for showing me how to live and walk with the Father. I want to copy your example. Holy Spirit, thank you for your constant presence and I choose to be more aware of you as I live today. Amen

Verse and Prayer for Thursday 17th September

Isaiah 44:10 (TLB) Who but a fool would make his own God – an idol that can help him not one whit!
As we consider the 10 commandments and what they teach us about holiness we realise that the first three commandments all force us to acknowledge that God is the all-mighty, all-powerful, all-knowing one who is to be revered and worshipped. When we place anything else as our concept of good, the arbiter of right or wrong, the revealer of mysteries and our source of power then we create an idol. And in doing so we claim something else is worth following, obeying and worshipping and that makes out that God is not enough on his own or is somehow less than what he claims. It is a bit like having a well of the purest water and adding a drop of ink. The ink is nothing compared to the water but nevertheless it pollutes the well. In the same way, though idols are nothing compared to God in placing them as something to be worshipped alongside God we pollute our understanding of who God really is. Not surprisingly, God is passionately against idols in all forms, but we so easily get seduced by them. Yet if we read further in Isaiah 44 we hear God say “pay attention, Israel, for you are my servant; I made you, and I will not forget to help you. I’ve blotted out your sins; they are gone like the morning mist at noon! Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set your free.”
How heart-lifting to know that God’s desire is not to discard us because we continually fail to live up to his standards or fail to worship him alone but that his desire is to have us come and receive his help. How wonderful! Let us not turn away from this offer.
Prayer: thank you lord for loving me and being faithful to me. I know I do wrong so often but I will keep coming back to you because you made me and I am your servant. Please help me and lead me today and every day. Amen

VERSE AND PRAYER FOR 31st August – by Rachel

MATTHEW 19:13-15 (NIV): “Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.”
For many of us these Bible verses will bring to our minds a traditional picture of Jesus, surrounded by little children, and praying for them. Many of the parents we are in touch with through Scallywags have asked us to pray for their children as schools open up this week. Some little ones are starting school for the first time. For children and young people of all ages, disruption to education has been one of the most significant results of COVID 19, with huge knock-on effects for whole families. The cancellation of GCSE, A level and BTEC exams, and the problems of how to assess grades, has resulted in huge anxiety and distress – with disruption to possibilities of higher education for many students. And some will have experienced bereavement of those close to them. For all of us, the line in a children’s poem GOD KNOWS AND HE CARES holds true in all circumstances.
PRAYER: Father God, we bring to you all children and young people as schools reopen this term. Protect them from infection; help them to enjoy being back with their friends; and give them the ability to readjust well to classroom learning. For those struggling to cope after the confusion over national exams, and also for those with physical and mental health issues caused or exacerbated by the lockdown, we pray for wise support and recovery. We pray for all teachers and staff in schools and thank you for their dedication and professional expertise, and for their care for their students. We pray for wisdom, strength and resilience as they continue to face new challenges in providing a good environment and effective learning for students. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen

Verse and Prayer for 27th August

John 4:13-15

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Revelation 21:6-7

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

Revelation 22:16-18

16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you[a] this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

Scripture refers to the water of life – the source of eternal life that comes from God alone. This spiritual water is freely available, and it can never run dry. We, in the developed world, pay for our water to be treated and piped into our homes, in many other places around the world people (usually women) must make a long, dangerous trek to get a little and very dirty water. These people do not take water for granted; it is a precious resource needed for life. In contrast, it is easy for us to take water for granted and this may be true of our spiritual water too. So, I would invite each time you use water today to consider the spiritual equivalent that you have through faith in Jesus Christ. When you use water to WASH yourself remember that Christ has cleansed us from our sin – we are made pure and holy (Hebrews 10:22). When you use water to DRINK or cook in, remember that Christ satisfies your every need and provides all that you need abundantly (Psalm 107:9). When you use water to FLUSH away waste, remember that Christ protects us, he removes us from harm and calls us to stay away from sin so that it does not pollute us (2 Corinthians 7:1). When you use water to CLEAN some thing, remember that Christ cleans us and makes us holy so that he can use us for good purposes (2 Peter 1:9). When you SWEAT, remember that it is a by-product of work – Jesus worked for us and we work for him (Colossians 3:23). When you CRY, remember that is a by-product of caring – Jesus cares for us and we care for others (Lamentations 2:18).

Prayer: Father, thank you for your love, thank you for all that you provide for me -including clean water. Please show me how to help others in need. Jesus thank you for taking my sin away and making me pure and holy. When I feel dirty please remind that you have cleansed me from all sin, past, present and future. Holy Spirit please fill me afresh and satisfy my soul that I may be beautiful and useful for my Lord. Amen

Verse and Prayer for 20th August by June

‘The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble; he cares for those who trust in
him.’ Nahum 1:7
The book of Nahum is tucked away between Micah and Habakkuk in the Old
Testament, and is mostly a book of doom and gloom. This verse may be the only
bright spot in a black situation. Nineveh was doomed, Nineveh would fall, woe to Nineveh are the chapter headings of this small book. I suppose this may be
another example of ‘But God …’ In the midst of doom and gloom, the people
needed to be reminded that the Lord is good, that He is a refuge and haven in
the midst of any troubles, and that He cares for those who trust in Hm. God may
not change circumstances, but He is with us. Tuesday Fellowship began
memorising this verse at the beginning of last term, a time of gloom and doom for the nation and the world, as the virus put many in lockdown, and many of us
were not able to even see one another. God’s goodness and His care for us, and
the sure knowledge that we can run to Him for safety and protection in troubled
times, is a good verse to remember – and maybe one we can share with others
when they find themselves in dark times.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that You are good – all of the time – that You care for us as we trust in You, that we are safe with You in any and all times of trouble. Thank You that You don’t change . Amen

VERSE AND PRAYER FOR 17th August from Jess

Romans 15:7 “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
I realize that this verse is speaking about Christians accepting one another, but as I’ve been thinking about our church opening up again, I’ve felt challenged to include those that are not yet Christians in the “one another” part.
Not long ago, when our Bible study was studying the letters to the seven churches in Revelation, Pete asked us what we thought our letter to Northway Church would say. It was brought up that we are very good at loving and taking care of each other, but that if someone came along to our church that wasn’t as much like us (different lifestyle, struggling with something none of us are/have, needing more help than we’ve experienced, much different socio-economic status) we may struggle to accept and welcome them in. Something that I need a reminder of probably more than anyone, is that it is my job to love and God’s job to judge. Christ died for EVERYONE… murderers, thieves, alcoholics, drug users, homosexuals, adulterers, liars and gossips etc. If Jesus, who is perfect and has every right to pick and choose, can accept and love them, then I can too. Their (and our) sin is between them and God, they are to be accepted and loved in church in the same way that I am accepted and loved, even though I still sin. This pleases God. This human acceptance and love shows the worldly a glimpse of the love God has for them. This love that is SO VERY IMPORTANT to Him brings PRAISE to the one that created such redeeming Love, and it lets us participate in His Kingdom work by being his hands and feet.

Lord, open our eyes to the hurting and soften our hearts towards them, whatever their situation. Give us your love that sees beyond circumstance to the soul within. Let us be known, more than anything, for sharing your love…not just telling people about it, but truly showing it. Forgive us, Lord, for the many times we haven’t, and please take away our fear of loving the “unacceptables”.