February 2017


CHRIST CHURCH DOUGLAS-IN-PARBOLD
FEBRUARY 2017
PRAYER NEWSLETTER

‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God’ 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 The recent tragic loss of a beautiful young life here in Parbold has rocked our community. A card placed on one of the floral tributes by the roadside rightly describes us as a ‘community in mourning’. So how do we pray at such a time as this and how do we support others in our community who are grieving?

There are no easy answers and we can each only do our best by God’s grace but Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1 offer us great hope and wise advice. First, as we come to pray Paul invites us to bless God and to remember that he knows and that he cares. He is the ‘God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort’ v3. Mercy and comfort come ultimately from him, he is the one who is able to do what we cannot do. He is our loving Lord who ‘heals the broken-hearted, and binds up their wounds’ Psalm 147:3, he indeed is the only one ever able to restore a soul Psalm 23:3. Then Paul reminds that it is God ‘who comforts us in all our tribulation’ v4. There has been a deep sense of heaviness and sadness over our village in these days as we’ve struggled to make sense of what has happened, how to respond, how to show our love and care. Paul invites us to allow God to comfort us so that we can then help others - we can’t give what we haven’t got. He encourages us ‘to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus’ 2 Timothy 2:1, to cast ‘all your care upon him (God), for he cares for you’ 1 Peter 5:7.

These are not preaching words for me or simply Bible texts to trot out, they are an essential reality I have found myself holding tightly onto in these days. To draw upon the grace of God is a daily necessity for me. He alone is able to help us to stand and be comforted ourselves so that he can use us to comfort others. Only as we draw on his grace are we ‘able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God’ v5. My prayer for myself and our church as we come before God to pray in these painful times is that we will bless him, knowing who is he and what he has done. Then that as we draw our own comfort from him we will be strengthened to be used by him to offer comfort to others in the weeks and months ahead. As we pray for our community; ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort’.

Sue.

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