“Once when Jesus had been praying, one of His disciples came to Him as He finished and said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray…’” He said, “This is how you should pray: Father, may your name be honored. May Your Kingdom come soon. Give us our food day by day. And forgive us our sins—just as we forgive them who have sinned against us, and don’t let us yield to temptation.” Luke 11:1–4 [NLT]
Prayer is coming to God, knowing that we are speaking to the One who made and upholds the universe; we come, giving Him honour and worship for who He is, and listening to Him regarding His Kingdom desires for us and those we pray for. We might find that, after focussing on His desires for us and those we love and the world around us—that our prayers are change and become attuned to God’s character and His Kingdom work.
In St. Andrew’s we are intentional in giving prayer a prominent place in every gathering of God’s people—Bible Study groups, Fellowship times, business meetings, Youth/Sunday School classes, Session meetings—all begin and end with prayer. Our Prayer Ministry takes many forms:
Prayers of the People
In worship service is an amazing time, when the Holy Spirit draws people to open up and be vulnerable before God and each other, in sharing needs and hurts. This often opens the door for the Holy Spirit to do His work of healing, and it knits the family of St. Andrew’s together in love and prayer.
Prayer Partners (Sunday mornings) continues this work. Burdens can be shared, one-on-one, with a Prayer Partner at the end of the service, that often could not be shared in the larger group. There are a number of Prayer Partners waiting for you, both men and women, and others will join us, if you indicate that you would like prayer. This is available after the service.
The Prayer Chain
The Prayer Chain actively ministers to St. Andrew’s and to the community. To access this help, phone the church office. Your requests are safe with us; they are treated with confidentiality, not shared with any other, and no other action is taken, except to pray. We, on the Prayer Chain, have found joy in this ministry, for we have seen the Lord at work in this past year. We have prayed for those nearing the end of life and for those in anxiety about babies to be born, for young men and women moving to college or new work places, for those in extreme sickness, in despair—many sicknesses this year, but God poured in much enabling peace and hope—so many deaths, and so many reports of comfort in sadness and hope, even in loss—such a Big God to call on, and such a strong sense that He heard and entered into each of these situations and drew near to those who needed Him. Trust us with your Prayer Requests and we will entrust them to God.
Healing Prayer might be needed on a one-time basis for help in an emotional or spiritual crisis, or it might be something ongoing that you need God’s help and insight in working through. This was used sporadically in 2011, as it has been in past years. If you have questions or need to know more, speak to Gladys or Sandra through the church office. We can meet and pray one-on-one with you, or a small team can meet and pray with you. We trust always in the Holy Spirit to guide us in all we do. It is the Lord who does the healing; we just listen to the Spirit’s prompting.
Prayer Shawl Ministry
The Prayer Shawl Ministry at St Andrew’s began on February 3rd, 2009 for the purpose of creating shawls with prayer and love for people needing the warm arms of love and concern wrapped around them.
Since that time, a dedicated group of ladies has continued to knit and crochet faithfully. Each begins the work with prayer and continues to pray throughout the making of the shawl. Often the recipient is unknown but other times prayers can be specifically directed for the recipient.
The group meets each month to bless the shawls and prepare them for distribution. Attached to each shawl is a “Prayer of Comfort” letter and a tag with the following message – “This prayer shawl was made especially for you with love and prayers. It is a gift from St. Andrew’s Church. May you discover comfort and solace as you wear it. May it encircle you in God’s love and peace, now and always.”
The need for shawls never stops. Always, there are people dealing with loss, loneliness, anxiety and pain, experiencing new beginnings or in need of an expression of encouragement and love. Prayer Shawls are tangible symbols of love when words seem inadequate. About a hundred shawls have been given out each year.
The Prayer Shawl Ministry has touched people throughout the world and many Prayer Shawl ministries in other churches have come about because someone was inspired to start a group after receiving a shawl from St. Andrew’s. So the witness is more than we can measure.
Notes of appreciation received by the ladies let us know how God is at work and how the shawls play a small part in providing comfort when it is needed most.
Meditation takes many forms and if often poorly understood. It is more of a skill or practice than a faith in itself. For some this is not exactly a form of prayer but an important and related spiritual practice leading to calm and peace, increased abilities to handle stress and pressure.