We thank You, Lord, that Your Son, Jesus, is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). In His death for us, we see Your love for us. Help us to come to the Cross of Christ. Help us to worship You in the beauty of holiness. Help us to celebrate Your love in the spirit of thanksgiving.
We thank You, Lord, that “we have peace with You through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). We thank You that “Jesus is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14). This peace is not something that comes from within ourselves. It comes to us from outside of ourselves. It comes from above. It comes to us from You. It’s given to us. It’s Your gift. We cannot give this gift to ourselves. We can only receive it by faith – faith in Jesus, our Saviour.
We thank You, Lord, that Your salvation is greater than our sin. We look at Christ’s sacrifice – He gave Himself in death for us. We are glad that He is our Saviour. He has taken our sin upon Himself. He gives Your salvation to us. Thank You, Lord.
When, Lord, we think of Jesus, crucified for us, may our hearts be filled with joyful praise and heartfelt thanksgiving.
Lord, You love us. You call us to love You. Help us, Lord, to grow in our love for You – to obey Your Word, to do Your will, to walk in Your way.
Lord, You are holy. We are sinners. You see our sin – and You keep on loving us. We see Jesus – and we know that You will never stop loving us. Help us, Lord, to confess our sin and to receive Your forgiveness. Lead us out of our sin and into Your holiness – and help us to give all the glory to You.
Lord, we thank You that Your call to holiness begins with Your call to salvation. We’re not left to go it alone. You come to us. You come as our Saviour. You take us as we are – but You don’t leave us the way You found us. You start changing us. You have great plans for us. You’re making us more like Your Son, Jesus. We trust Jesus. We receive His salvation. Help us to follow Him, to be changed by Him, to become more like Him.
Lord, we thank You that the blood of Your Son, Jesus, cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). We come to the Cross of Christ in our failure. At the Cross of Christ, we receive Your forgiveness. We bring our sin to the Saviour. He gives to us His salvation. Bring us, Lord, out of the darkness of our sin and into the light of Your salvation.
We thank You, Lord, that “the vilest offender , who truly believes, that moment, from Jesus, a pardon receives.” By faith, we receive Your forgiveness – but we never earn Your forgiveness. Forgiveness is always Your gift. It’s never a reward. By faith, we look away from ourselves. We look to Jesus, our Saviour. We do not say, “How great is my faith.” We say, “How great is my Saviour.”
Lord, what are we to do about our sin? What can we do about it? It keeps on spreading. We can’t do anything about this. It just gets worse and worse. What can be done about this? We can do nothing – but Jesus can do something about it. He’s our Saviour. He comes to us in love. He comes to us in power. He forgives our sin. He gives us a new beginning. The past is put behind us. Jesus leads us on to Your eternal glory. Hallelujah! – “This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23).
Lord, we sing of Jesus, Your Son. He is “the man of sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3) – but this does not make us sad. We look beyond His suffering. We see our salvation. We sing of Your salvation. With joy, we sing to You – “Hallelujah! What a Saviour!” We look at Jesus – and we ask the question, “Full atonement – can it be?” We rejoice in Your answer – “Full atonement – Yes it is!” What a a perfect Saviour we have! What a great salvation He has given to us! Help us, Lord, to say, in our hearts, “God forbid that I should ever boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14).
We thank You, Lord, that Your Son, Jesus, died – so that we might live. He was forsaken by You – so that we might live with You. We think of Jesus, suffering for us – “In my place, condemned, He stood.” We think of the blessing that He brings to us: “Sealed my pardon with His blood.” Here-and-now, there’s a song of praise, arising in our hearts – but there’s more than that: We look forward to the full glory of Your heavenly and eternal glory: “When He comes, our glorious King, all His ransomed home to bring, then anew this song we’ll sing: Alleluia! What a Saviour!”
Lord, You are the God of perfect holiness. You are the God of perfect love. You call us to a life of holiness. You call us to a life of love. How are to live this life of holiness and love? We need the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of love. Without Him, we cannot even begin to live this new life – the life of holiness and love. We thank You, Lord, that You have not left us to live this life in our own strength – “the Holy Spirit … lives in us” (2 Timothy 1:14).
Lord, if we are to become holy, it must be Your doing – not our own achievement. We come to our Saviour with our sin. We receive from Him Your forgiveness – and the Spirit of holiness. Our past is put behind us. Our sins are forgiven – and forgotten. You call us on into Your future. We are being changed by Your love and Your holiness. We look back at all that You have done for us – and we say, “To God be the glory! Great things He has done.” We look forward to all that You will do for us – and we say, ‘To God be the glory! There is more to come – “much more” (Romans 5:10). The best is yet to be! (1 Corinthians 2:9).’
Teach us, Lord, that “every virtue we possess … every victory won … every thought of holiness are Yours alone.” Virtue, victory, holiness – Where do these things come from? They come from You, Lord. “In ourselves, there is no good thing” (Romans 7:18) – Our lives have been spoiled by our sin. We thank You, Lord, that You haven’t given up on us. You haven’t dismissed us as a lost cause. You keep on working in us, changing us, making us more like Jesus.
Lord, You call us to “worship You in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). Where does true worship come from? – It comes from You. It comes from Your Spirit. It comes from Your Truth. We read the Holy Scriptures – and we begin to worship You. We open our hearts to the Holy Spirit – and the spirit of praise grows stronger in us. We listen to the voice of our Holy Saviour – and He leads in the pathway of true worship. True worship comes from You: “Fill Thou our life, O Lord our God, in every part with praise.”
Lord, we hear the questions, “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?” and “Who shall stand in His holy place?” – and we say, ‘This is too much for us.” We thank You, Lord, that there is Good News for us. There is One who has ascended the hill of the Lord. There is One who stands in Your holy place. Jesus has ascended the hill of the Lord. Jesus stands in Your holy place. He has ascended Your holy hill – for us. He stands in Your holy place – for us. He has “received blessing from You” – for us (Psalm 24:3-5). When, Lord, we come to worship You, help us to come in the Name of Jesus: “Just as I am, without one plea but that Thy blood was shed for me … .”
Teach us, Lord, that what You have done for us is always so much greater than anything we could ever do for You. You gave Your Son, Jesus, to be our Saviour. Your Holy Spirit has come to live in our hearts. He’s changing us. He’s making us more like Jesus. You give us the privilege of serving You – sharing, with others, the wonderful love of Jesus. You’ve done so much for us. You’ve given so much to us. What have we done to deserve all of this? – Nothing! It’s Your gift. We can only say, “Thank You, Lord.”
Lord, help us never to think, “We are blessed because we are obedient.” Help us always to say, “We are blessed because You love us and Jesus died for us.” Your love for us, Jesus’ death for us: This is where the blessing comes from – and it’s where our obedience comes from! We think of Your great love for us. We think of Jesus, crucified for us. We say, “Lord, You love me. Help me to love You.” We say, “Jesus, You died for me. Help me to live for You.” This is how Your blessing comes to us – You show us how much You love us, You put Your love into our hearts, the obedience grows stronger – and so does the blessing!
What great love, Lord, You have for us. There is no love like Your love for us. It’s the best love! What joy You give to us – the joy that comes from knowing that we are loved with “everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). Help us, Lord, to rejoice in Your love, to be changed by Your love, to share Your love. Your love: It’s the best thing we could ever receive from You – and it’s the best thing we can pass on to other people!
Lord, we need Your Word and Your Spirit. Your Word shows us how we are to live. Your Spirit gives us strength – for living Your way. May “the Word of Christ dwell in us richly” (Colossians 3:16) – prompting us to walk with You in the way of faith. May we “be filled with Your Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) – empowering us to walk with You in the way of obedience.
When, Lord, You touch our lives with Your love, everything changes. Nothing remains the same. Every part of of life is changed by Your love. We have been saved by Your love. May our life be shaped by Your love.
We thank You, Lord, that Jesus has “come to us.” He has been born as “one of us.” We thank You that He was “led out to die on Calvary.” He has “cleansed our souls from sin.” We thank You that He has “risen from death to set us free.” He has “poured Your love and goodness in.” May “Your power break through into our lives.” Help us, Lord to “live for You” (Patrick Appleford).
Sometimes, we wonder, “What’s the world coming to?” When, Lord, our minds are filled with many questions, help us to hear Your answer: Christ is coming to the world. Sometimes, it seems to us that everything’s hopeless. We try – and we fail. Show us, Lord, that there’s something else. There’s something more than “Always look on the bright side of life.” There’s something that keeps on going when we feel like giving up. Thank You, Lord, for Your love – it never comes to an end.
Lord, we come to Your House – but what’s going on in our hearts? Do we come to Your House with Grudge-Giving: “I have to”? Is it “Duty-Giving”: “I ought to”? Do we come to You with “Thanksgiving”: “I want to”? Help us, Lord, to get beyond our religion – our “Grudge-Giving” and our “Duty-Giving”? Help us to find Jesus in Your House. Help us to say, “Thank You, Lord.” Give us a new spirit – a spirit of thanksgiving. Help us to really feel it. Help us to really mean it. Fill our hearts with gratitude. Fill our lives with generosity.
Lord, there are things that we don’t like to hear about. We don’t like to hear about sin. We don’t like to hear about death. There are some things that we do like to hear about. We like to hear that “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” What are we to make of this kind of thinking: “We like this – but we don’t like that”? How can we really appreciate the Good News – “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” – if we refuse to listen to the bad news: “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23)? Help us to see how great our sin is – so that we can appreciate how great our Saviour is!
Lord, we are often tempted. Satan attacks us. He drags us down. He draws us away from You. What are we to do about this? We look at ourselves – and we get downhearted. We feel like we’re getting nowhere. We seem to be making some progress – and, then, we lose our way again. We take our eyes off Jesus – and we fall down. We get down-in-the-dumps. We feel like we’re no use – but that’s not the whole story. Satan is only part of the story. There’s Someone who is stronger than Satan: Jesus, our Saviour. We’re “on the victory side – With Christ within, the fight we’ll win.” When the going gets tough, help us, Lord, to remember that we’re not alone. Jesus is fighting for us – and He is Lord!
Lord, we need Your Word – and we need Your power! We need the written Word – and the living Word! Speak to us Your Word. Speak to us in the power of the Holy Spirit. May we know, in our hearts, that Your Word is more than “the word of men.” It’s “the Word of God which is at work in us who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13) – the Word of God which brings us to “faith” in Christ (Romans 10:17), the Word of God which brings to us new life in Christ (1 Peter 1:23-24; James 1:18), the Word of God which leads us to “grow” in Christ (1 Peter 2:2). Thank You, Lord, for Your Word. May it always be to us more than the written Word. Help us to hear Your living Word – the Word which changes us (Hebrews 4:12).
We thank You, Lord, for the new life in the Spirit. Your way is not the way of empty religion – paying lip-service to You without being changed by Your Word and Your Spirit. Lead us in Your way. Lead us out of our weakness and into Your strength. Give us Your joy. May we know that “the joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
So often, Lord, we’re too easily satisfied. You want to give us so much more – but we get stuck in a rut. We do not hunger for more of You, for more of Your blessing. Help us, Lord, to appreciate Your love for us, to grow in our love for You, to share Your love with the people we meet.
We hear Your Word, Lord – but do we believe it? We hear Your Word – but do we live in obedience to Your Word? We hear Your Word – but are we afraid to speak Your Word to others? Lord, You’re always challenging us. Hearing Your Word is good – but it’s not enough! You’re calling us to do more. Help us, Lord, to believe Your Word, to obey Your Word, to be Your witnesses.
Lord, You do not come to us because we are good. You come to us because You are love. We thank You, Lord, that Your love is greater than our sin. We look at ourselves. We see our sin. We look at our Saviour. We see Your love. When we look at our sin, help us to say, “We want less of this.” When we look at our Saviour, help us to say, “We want more of Him.”
Lord, You are calling us to have a real faith – a faith that is more than mere words. We’re not only to say that we have faith. We’re to show that we have faith: a faith that is seen in the place of witness – not only in the place of worship.
Lord, You’re calling us to be Your servants. We’re not to keep Your blessing to ourselves. We’re to share Your blessing with others. Help us to rejoice in Jesus, our Saviour. Help us to speak of Him – and live for Him.
Lord, we thank You for Your Son, Jesus – “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). There is no-one like Jesus. He is Your Son – Your only Son: “There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin.” He is our Saviour – our only Saviour: “He only could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in.”
We thank You, Lord, that “Your Kingdom has come near to us” (Luke 10:9). Jesus has come near to us. He brings Your Kingdom to us. We don’t raise ourselves up. You raise us up. Your love has come down to us. It’s Your love that lifts us up – out of our earthbound way of thinking and living, into a new life that is being shaped by Your Kingdom, the Kingdom of love, the greatest love of all, eternal love.
Lord, help us to listen to You. Help us to speak to You. Help us to live for You. Without Your help, we will get bogged down in our own self-centredness. Lift us, Lord, out of the mire of our sin. Set our feet on the Rock, which is Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Give to us a testimony which calls on others to join with us in saying, “Praise the Lord” (Psalm 40:1-3).
We thank You, Lord, that Jesus has risen from the dead (Luke 24:6). Death could not hold Him (Acts 2:24). He has triumphed over death – “Where, O death, is your victory? … Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
“Lead me to some soul today. Teach me Lord, just what to say.” Help us not to keep Jesus to ourselves. Help us to share Him with others. Help us to tell them what He has done for us. Help us to pray for them – that they will be brought to a living faith in the Saviour. Help us to give all the glory to You.
Help us, Lord, to get ready for Your Son, Jesus. We look back to His first coming. We look back – with thanksgiving. Help us to look forward to His Second Coming. Help us to look forward – with faith which rejoices in Your amazing grace, faith which lives to give praise to You, faith which gives all the glory to You.
Keep on praying! – A message from the Moderator of the Presbytery of Greenock and Paisley
As you read Jack’s letter, pray for the people he mentions – and don’t forget to pray for him, giving thanks to God for his much-needed and much-appreciated spiritual leadership.
Call to Prayer
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
As we face the uncertainty surrounding the present coronavirus pandemic and the fact that we cannot see, feel or touch the problem, it can lead us to become either sceptical about its seriousness or terrified of what it could do to us or our loved ones. There is no doubt that we face the greatest test that our nation has faced since the end of the Second World War. It proves, once again, that we really do not have all the answers to life’s problems.
However, even in the uncertainly and the need to listen carefully to the scientific and medical experts, who are seeking to help our nation get through these difficult times, I believe that there is One who does have all the answers, and we can pray to Him.
I have no doubt that we have all been earnestly praying in these days, but I have been led to believe that, although we cannot come together as a Presbytery, we can still pray together. I would like to suggest that we, as a Presbytery, endeavour to set aside time each day at the same time if possible to pray about the present situation; and I would suggest 11.00 a.m.
It may be that for some that is not possible, but let us pray every day at whatever time is suitable for each one of us.
Let us pray for doctors, nurses, scientists, emergency service workers and indeed all who would seek to respond in these difficult days. Pray for the vulnerable folk in society; let us pray for those who have had to self-isolate, and for folk who contract the virus that they will make a full recovery. Let us pray for families with children who are at home because our schools are closing, that they can cope with the need to keep the children interested and occupied.
Let us pray for our congregations and the folk in our Presbytery and nation. Pray for folk whose employment and income is adversely affected by not being able to work.
Pray for our politicians in Westminster and Holyrood that God will sustain them and inspire them with His Holy Spirit that their decisions will be in accordance with His will and purposes.
Let us all remember that God is Sovereign and that he has shown the depth of his love for us by sending His Son Jesus into our world to be our Saviour and our Lord. He will not abandon us now in our time of need.
God bless you all.
“An inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – This inheritance is kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4).
We thank You, our Father, that You have sent Your Holy Spirit to live in our hearts. We thank You that the new life in the Spirit is just the beginning. You are preparing us for the greater ‘glory that will be revealed in us’(Romans 8:18). We thank You that the Holy Spirit is ‘the guarantee of our inheritance’ – He is the starter which whets our appetite for the main course! With Him in our hearts, we long for more. We long for Your glorious future. We’re not staggering along on a dead-end street. We’re walking tall. We’re travelling with You, Lord. You’re leading us on to Your glory. May we always be led by Your Spirit. May we keep on growing in Your Spirit.
Lord, there seems to be nothing but hard times. What are we to do? We turn to You. We ask You, “Lord, what are You teaching us?” You’re teaching us to trust You. You’re teaching us to be changed by You. Even when everything seems so hard, help us to pray, “Your will be done.”
The world says one thing. Your Word says something else. Who are we to listen to? We know what our answer should be – but it’s not always the answer that we give to You. You’re speaking to us – and we’re not listening. Help us, Lord, to listen to You, to hear what Your Word is saying to us, and to become “rich in faith” (James 2:5).
Lord, our words can be so fiery. We speak first – and think later. Help us, Lord, to be fired up by another fire – the fire of the Holy Spirit. Help us to speak with wisdom – “the wisdom that comes from above” (James 3:17-18).
What’s going to happen next? We worry about things that might never happen. We imagine the worst. Your Word tells us – Don’t worry about “what will happen tomorrow” (James 4:14-15). Help us, Lord, to look beyond the things that are happening to us. Help us to look to You – and to know that we can trust You.
What kind of people are we to be? You’re calling us to be holy. You’re calling us to be loving. It’s not holiness without love. It’s not love without holiness. It’s holiness. It’s love. This, Lord, is the life You’re calling us to live. Help us to walk with You in holiness and love.
We thank You, Lord, for the great privilege of being Your people – we “have received mercy.” It’s also a great responsibility – we are to “declare Your wonderful deeds.” You’ve “called us out of darkness into Your marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9-10). What a privilege! What a responsibility! Help us, Lord, to come to You with the attitude of gratitude. Help us to go to the world with a commitment to care and a desire to share.
What matters most to us? Are we content with keeping up appearances? There’s something more important than this. Get the heart right. That’s what You’re saying to us. “In your hearts, reverence Christ as Lord” (1 Peter 3:15). Give to us, Lord, a new way of thinking, Your way of thinking – “a tender heart and a humble mind” (1 Peter 3:8).
Help us, Lord, to worship You. Help us to say, “To You, Lord, be the glory and the power for ever and ever” (1 Peter 4:11; 1 Peter 5:11). Deliver us from a “form of religion which denies Your power” – “These people honour Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me” (2 Timothy 3:5; Matthew 15:8). Help us to pray, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
We thank You, Lord, for Your “very great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4). You’re leading us on, with Yourself, to “a rich welcome into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11). The pathway to heavenly and eternal glory will not be easy – but we’re not alone. You’re with us, every step of the way. You will not fail us in our “trials” (2 Peter 2:9). Help us not to fail You!
We thank You, Lord, that Your Son, “Jesus Christ” died “for our sins” (1 John 2:1-2). This is Good News. It’s great news! It’s the best news we could ever hear – and it comes from You. What love You have for us. Help us not to keep this love to ourselves. Help us to share the Good News – “the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
We thank You, Lord, for Your gift of “eternal life” (1 John 2:24-25). Our enjoyment of eternal life has already begun – “We are God’s children now.” Our full enjoyment of eternal life is still to come – “It does not yet appear what we shall be” (1 John 3:2). Here-and-now, help us to experience Christ’s victory: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Help us to look beyond the here-and-now, to look ahead to our full enjoyment of Christ’s victory – “When He appears, we shall be like Him” (1 John 3:2).
“God is greater than our hearts” (1 John 3:20). When, Lord, we are deeply aware of our own sinfulness, help us to remember that You love us. You know the truth about us – “The heart is deceitful, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). You know everything about us – and You keep on loving us. We see how much You love us when we look at Jesus, crucified for us (Romans 5:8).
What great blessings You have given to us! You have brought us into Your family: “Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God” (1 John 5:1). You lead us in the way of victory: “Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5). When we forget what You have done for us, what You are still doing for us, help us to remember Jesus. Help us to remember that He is our Saviour. He has saved us – and He is leading us on into a closer walk with You. Thank You, Lord.
“Look to yourselves, that you may not lose what you have worked for, but may win a full reward” (2 John 8). Your work is at stake. Your glory is at stake. Help us, Lord, to keep on going. Help us not to give up. How dare we take it easy when You’re calling us to be earnest? Help us to be more committed to You. Your work will suffer, if we are half-hearted. Lord, help us to love You and serve You with our whole heart.
What kind of influence do we have on other people? Do we do a lot of good? Do we do a lot of harm? These, Lord, are questions that we need to ask ourselves. They are questions that You are asking us. They are questions that demand an honest answer. They are questions that call for a change of direction – for a life that is less centred on ourselves and more centred on You. Give us grace, Lord, to rise to the challenge of being a good influence – not a bad influence.
“Certain men whose condemnation was written long ago have secretly slipped in among you … godless men … ” (Jude 4). What are we to do when this happens? Your Word tells us: “Keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 21). How are we to do this when the pull toward evil seems to be getting stronger all the time? There is something we must never forget: You, Lord, are “able to keep us from falling” (Jude 24).
Song of Farewell
God bless you all.