November 30th (Monday) Pray for the children whose parents are no longer able to show them a good example of living together as a family, because their relationship has broken down. Thank God for aunties, grandparents or other carers who work so hard to fill the gap. Children are a blessing and a gift from the LORD. Psalm 127 v3.
Hillside Methodist Church
PRAYER DIARY DECEMBER 2020
[All extracts from the Bible given below are in italics and are taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV)].
This month, as we look forward to our Christmas celebrations, let’s remember how people welcomed the news that Jesus was coming as a baby.
Tuesday 1st. AIDS Day. Day 7 of 16 Days Against Gender Violence. Gabriel was happy to bring good news to tell Mary that she was going to have a very special baby. The angel greeted Mary and said, “You are truly blessed! The Lord is with you.” Mary was confused by the angel’s words and wondered what they meant. Then the angel told Mary, “Don’t be afraid! God is pleased with you, Luke 1 v28-30. Pray with thanks for those like Mary who are devoted to God and ready to do what God wants.
Wednesday 2nd. Elizabeth was looked down upon because she was childless. God’s plan was for her to be the mother of John the Baptist, who would prepare people to come to Jesus. “What the Lord has done for me will keep people from looking down on me.” Luke 1 v25. Pray for women targeted for violence, neglect or other abuse because of their marital status or whether or not they have children.
Thursday 3rd. Mary said: With all my heart I praise the Lord, and I am glad because of God my Saviour. He cares for me, his humble servant. From now on, all people will say God has blessed me. God All-Powerful has done great things for me, and his name is holy. He always shows mercy to everyone who worships him. The Lord has used his powerful arm to scatter those who are proud. Luke 1 v46-51. Give thanks to God for blessing those who seem to be nobodies by the world’s standards.
Friday 4th. Six months before visiting Mary, the angel Gabriel met Zechariah in the temple in Jerusalem. At first Zechariah couldn’t believe the message from God, but he soon understood that God had a wonderful plan. You, my son, will be called a prophet of God in heaven above. You will go ahead of the Lord to get everything ready for him. Luke 1 v76. Pray for all the members of our church. We are all servants of God in his temple, but we are sometimes slow to accept God’s message, just like Zechariah. Ask God’s patience with us.
Saturday 5th. Thank God for the team of Local Preachers in our Circuit. Pray for their study and preparations, and willingness to listen to God’s message. The Spirit of the LORD God has taken control of me! The LORD has chosen and sent me to tell the oppressed the good news, to heal the brokenhearted, and to announce freedom for prisoners and captives. Isaiah 61 v1.
Sunday 6th. 2nd Sunday in Advent. Our God has said: “Encourage my people! Give them comfort.” Isaiah 40 v1. Pray for the ministers in our Circuit and throughout the Connexion and diaspora. Thank God for their service.
Monday 7th. Joseph was a good man and did not want to embarrass Mary in front of everyone. So he decided to quietly call off the wedding. While Joseph was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her. Matthew 1 v19-20. Thank God for the Josephs, who are supportive and considerate. Let us follow his example of kindness. Pray for success for those who educate men to not be perpetrators of Gender-Based Violence.
Tuesday 8th. Emperor Augustus and Governor Quirinius were unwitting contributors to the fulfilment of the prophecy that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. Pray that God will continue to use the worldly authorities to bless His people in Zimbabwe and around the world. About that time Emperor Augustus gave orders for the names of all the people to be listed in record books. These first records were made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to go to their own hometown to be listed. So Joseph had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to Bethlehem in Judea. Long ago Bethlehem had been King David’s hometown, and Joseph went there because he was from David’s family. Luke 2 v1-4.
Wednesday 9th. For hundreds of years, the prophets, including Micah and Isaiah, had looked forward to the coming of Jesus. Bethlehem Ephrath, you are one of the smallest towns in the nation of Judah. But the LORD will choose one of your people to rule the nation — someone whose family goes back to ancient times. The LORD will abandon Israel only until this ruler is born, and the rest of his family returns to Israel. Like a shepherd taking care of his sheep, this ruler will lead and care for his people by the power and glorious name of the LORD his God. His people will live securely, and the whole earth will know his true greatness, because he will bring peace. Micah 5 v2-5. Pray for all who spread the message of peace through the coming of Jesus, using whatever media are available.
Thursday 10th. Day 16 of 16 Days Against Gender Violence. Human Rights Day. Here is my servant! I have made him strong. He is my chosen one; I am pleased with him. I have given him my Spirit, and he will bring justice to the nations. He won’t shout or yell or call out in the streets. He won’t break off a bent reed or put out a dying flame, but he will make sure that justice is done. He won’t quit or give up until he brings justice everywhere on earth, and people in foreign nations long for his teaching. Isaiah 42 v1-4. Pray for justice for those who are denied their rights.
Friday 11th. The shepherds outside Bethlehem were keen to see Jesus for themselves, after they had got over the initial shock! They went empty-handed, but were accepted as they were. When the shepherds saw Jesus, they told his parents what the angel had said about him. Everyone listened and was surprised. But Mary kept thinking about all this and wondering what it meant. As the shepherds returned to their sheep, they were praising God and saying wonderful things about him. Everything they had seen and heard was just as the angel had said. Luke 2 v17-20. Thank God that we can come to Jesus as we are and be accepted then sent on our way telling others how wonderful He is.
Saturday 12th. Pray for those trying to bring peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia. On us who live in the dark shadow of death this light will shine to guide us into a life of peace. Luke 1 v79.
Sunday 13th. 3rd Sunday in Advent. Carols by Candlelight Service. Pray that we will continue to be imaginative in our worship and witness as a church body and its members during these days of pandemic. The light keeps shining in the dark, and darkness has never put it out. John 1 v5.
Monday 14th. The angels were full of joy to welcome Jesus. Suddenly many other angels came down from heaven and joined in praising God. They said: “Praise God in heaven! Peace on earth to everyone who pleases God.” Luke 2 v13-14. Pray for the youth of our church, home or away, in education or finding their feet in the wider world.
Tuesday 15th. Jesus’ parents were surprised at what Simeon had said. Then he blessed them and told Mary, “This child of yours will cause many people in Israel to fall and others to stand. The child will be like a warning sign. Many people will reject him, and you, Mary, will suffer as though you had been stabbed by a dagger. But all this will show what people are really thinking.” Luke 2 v33-35. Pray for the men of our church, including the MCU and Men’s Fellowship.
Wednesday 16th. The prophet Anna was also there in the temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. In her youth she had been married for seven years, but her husband died. And now she was eighty-four years old. Night and day she served God in the temple by praying and often going without eating. At that time Anna came in and praised God. She spoke about the child Jesus to everyone who hoped for Jerusalem to be set free. Luke 2 v36-38. Pray today for the elderly of our church family. Thank God for the wisdom that he has given them to share with us.
Thursday 17th. The wise men spent a lot of time, effort, preparation and expense, travelling a long distance, risking the displeasure of people like Herod, so that they could go and welcome Jesus and give him their precious gifts. They were thrilled and excited to see the star. When the men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshipped him. They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and gave them to him. Matthew 2 v10-11. What are our most precious gifts? Let’s dedicate them to Jesus as we pray.
Friday 18th. Herod pretended to be good, but secretly hated Jesus because he thought his rule was threatened. After the wise men had gone, an angel from the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Hurry and take the child and his mother to Egypt! Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is looking for the child and wants to kill him.” Matthew 2 v13. Schools close today. Pray for safe journeys home for all the children.
Saturday 19th. Why didn’t the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses want to accompany the wise men on their trip? There was no concrete wall and barred gate on the road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem in those days. Herod brought together the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses and asked them, “Where will the Messiah be born?” They told him, “He will be born in Bethlehem, just as the prophet wrote. Matthew 2 v4-5. Let’s pray for a new meeting with Jesus that transforms us to spend our lives in worshipping him.
Sunday 20th. 4th Sunday in Advent. Mary said, “I am the LORD’S servant! Let it happen as you have said.” And the angel left her. Luke 1 v38. Pray, giving thanks for the women of our church, Manyano, WA and others, who have dedicated themselves to be servants of the Lord.
Monday 21st. Pray for families trying to plan Christmas celebrations in difficult circumstances and pray especially for all who will feel lonely this Christmas. Mary was engaged to Joseph and travelled with him to Bethlehem. She was soon going to have a baby, and while they were there, she gave birth to her first-born son. She dressed him in baby clothes and laid him on a bed of hay, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2 v5-7.
Tuesday 22nd. National Unity Day. Pray for the kind of unity that makes us work together and care for each other. When Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem in Judea, Herod was king. During this time some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem and said, “Where is the child born to be king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard about this, he was worried, and so was everyone else in Jerusalem. Herod brought together the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses and asked them, “Where will the Messiah be born?” Matthew 2 v1-4.
Wednesday 23rd. Because of all that the Son is, we have been given one blessing after another. The Law was given by Moses, but Jesus Christ brought us undeserved kindness and truth. John 1 v16-17. Let’s “count our blessings” and pray for people who need to receive a blessing from us, whether in form of food, money, a friendly word of encouragement or a shoulder to cry on. Then we will be welcoming Jesus.
Thursday 24th. Today let’s pray for the young children of our church and community. May they enjoy a good Christmas with food, family and friends, games or activities and excitement. And a new and better understanding of Jesus and an experience of welcoming Him. Yet some people accepted him and put their faith in him. So he gave them the right to be the children of God. John 1 v12.
Friday 25th. Christmas Day. The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. From him all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us. John 1 v14. Pray for those members of your family who will not be able to be with you at Christmas this year. Give thanks for Christmases past and look forward in hope to Christmases to come.
Saturday 26th. Pray today for all who work when we are enjoying a holiday. ZESA repair teams. Police and other emergency services. Hospital staff, including doctors, nurses and others. Those working in the transport sector or at border posts. Telecommunications and broadcasting company workers. And more. That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. Luke 2 v8.
Sunday 27th. But when the time was right, God sent his Son, and a woman gave birth to him. His Son obeyed the Law, so he could set us free from the Law, and we could become God’s children. Now that we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. And his Spirit tells us that God is our Father. You are no longer slaves. You are God’s children, and you will be given what he has promised. Galatians 4 v4-7. Pray that we will be given the Holy Spirit of God to make us truly brothers and sisters to each other now that we are His children.
Monday 28th. That night, Joseph got up and took his wife and the child to Egypt, where they stayed until Herod died. So the LORD’S promise came true, just as the prophet had said, “I called my son out of Egypt.” Matthew 2 v14-15. Pray for refugees and the internally displaced in many parts of the world. Pray that those who receive them will see the holy family in them.
Tuesday 29th. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is truly God and is closest to the Father, has shown us what God is like. John 1 v18. God made himself small and vulnerable and so truly human. Let’s worship him as we celebrate his coming to share our life with us.
Wednesday 30th. When Herod found out that the wise men from the east had tricked him, he was very angry. He gave orders for his men to kill all the boys who lived in or near Bethlehem and were two years old and younger. This was based on what he had learned from the wise men. Matthew 2 v16. Pray for the rulers of this world, many of whom cling to power through violence or cheating. Ask God to give peace to the oppressed and a hope for the future.
Thursday 31st. Thank God that He has brought us through a year of turmoil. Thank God for the many blessings that we have received, including rain. Give thanks for the hope of a new year full of goodness. Let’s commit ourselves to being a blessing to others in the new year. God did not keep back his own Son, but he gave him for us. If God did this, won’t he freely give us everything else? Romans 8 v32.
The Hillside Methodist Church Prayer Diary can also be emailed to you (if you just ask). There is usually a print edition, which would be distributed at the door of the church on the last Sunday before the beginning of the month.
The Prayer Diary has changed its format this month:
it is no longer constrained by the space available on a sheet of A4 paper, because we are not making a printed edition for the foreseeable future.