Bishop Rob's Message
The 10th message to all in the Parish from Bishop Rob Gillion, who has been licensed as an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Lincoln and is half time Interim Priest in Charge of our parish of St John's.
A reflection on "Prayer in Difficult Times"
With such uncertainty as there is around at present it is not easy to write a letter during April for our the May Parish Magazine. Will we be back in Church? Will we still be in lockdown? Whatever the future, I am so grateful for the wonderful family spirit in our St John's Church Community. Thank you so much for your support and for our partnership in the Gospel.
What we can be assured of is that our faith community will be as strong as ever and that others have been added to our number! The response to our attempts to continue worship on the website with thanks to Lawrence and the constant communication with one another thanks also to Rev Pat’s St Johns Facebook page, has been wonderful. The phoning around to keep in touch particularly with those who are alone and those who don’t have access to the internet has been so helpful.
The ways of being Church are changing but the essence of fellowship and the opportunity for prayer remains the same. It has also been a way of welcoming others to drop in to our website and see what we might offer, and hopefully rekindle their participation in Church and fan the flame of faith in Christ Jesus. Even though we cannot attend church we can still pray. So I thought I would offer a reflection on prayer.
Prayer to Be Reckoned With (taken from The Message)
James 5:13 - 20
Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing. Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you’ve sinned, you’ll be forgiven—healed inside and out.
Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.
My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God.
James invites us to do what is appropriate. If anyone is sick or suffering - pray. If anyone is cheerful - celebrate with them. It’s known as compassion - something Jesus had in full measure. If anyone is hurting, pour oil on them, symbolising gladness, comfort and spiritual nourishment. Oil is used for medicinal purposes as well as in religious services for blessing and purification. God’s healing is holistic he deals with body mind and spirit.
Praying is a major task for the church. I still meet together with a small group for prayer via the internet and we each have a list of prayer requests. At the end of the session we are quite exhausted but exhilarated. It’s hard work. James invites us to get down on our knees and pray earnestly that the Holy Spirit will rest on us, so that our prayer may be powerful and effective.
So make time to pray
He invites us to make time in our lives for prayer (especially for such a time as this)! His advice emphasises the local church’s responsibility to pray for and with the sick and suffering, and those in need of forgiveness - not by judging them, but praying, for strength in their weakness.
Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, you promised through your Son Jesus Christ to hear us when we pray in faith. Comfort and heal all those who are suffering in body, mind or spirit… Give them courage and hope in their troubles, and bring them the joy of your salvation. Amen.
Click below to read earlier messages from Bishop Rob
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