“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29;11
Welcome, to our new weekly prayer blog as Just Love Oxford! The idea behind this new way of sharing in prayer is that we can all be praying over the same things throughout the week, seeking justice in our lives, city and our world, as well as praying really specifically for the movements of JL.
Each week we’ll have a Bible verse we can be praying through, and a little update from our various projects, friends at OICCU, and the wider world. Please set aside some time to pray through each of these things, maybe as part of your daily prayer, or sit down with friends and spend some time interceding together.
Coming back to Oxford for the start of a new term is often a time to look ahead, and think about what is to come. Whether you’re someone that is still in the honeymoon period with our University, whether you can’t wait to see the back of finals, whether it’s all too much or whether it’s a challenge to rise to, Jeremiah 29:11, offers comfort to us all.
However, have you ever thought about how this powerful verse is for everyone? Have you thought of how it sounds on the ears of the widow, the orphan, the poor and the oppressed? The words are as true for them as they are for us – God loves his children and has plans to prosper them, and not to harm them. As St. Teresa said, we are God’s hands and feet on earth, and therefore maybe we need to look at this word ‘plan’ differently. Maybe we are part of the plan, not just in our own lives, but in the lives of others. How glorious and encouraging! God wants to use us and works through us, and therefore we do make a difference. God is pleased with our work, and as well as being part of the plans to prosper others, others are part of plans to prosper us – talk about a circular economy!
As we pray this week, lets remember that God equips us and uses us to continue his work on Earth. He has filled us with His Spirit and that is all we need to go out into the world and be part of plans to prosper others – an encouragement and a call! Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and get going.
At the start of this term, lets be praying that we will all have hearts of readiness as we come back into Oxford life, and that God will reveal to us the part that we play in the plans for this term. Pray for James, our speaker at the Trinity Term Launch on Tuesday, and for the arrangements leading up to the event, and for a sense of excitement and anticipation of the term to come.
HTAG have a big few weeks coming up with Stand For Freedom; Behind The Screen, in fourth week, and so prayer for wisdom, energy and encouragement will be great. Pray for meaningful engagement with people across the uni, God’s hand in the practical planning, and a continued sense motivation and direction. Perhaps also ask God to guide you in how you might be able to get involved. There is lots to be done, and God has blessed each of us with specific skills, and talents, which may find their home in the planning, set up and during the 24 hours, so ask what He has planned for you to maybe get involved with.
Pray for the continued building of relationships between HO and the people they serve this week, especially after the long break over the vac. HO are also looking to becoming more ethical in their shopping and supplies this term, so lets pray for God’s wisdom in balancing finances and practicalities with ethical consumption.
This term, Caring for Creation are continuing to manage Zero Waste and Food for Thought week pages, think about how our local Churches in Oxford can be better serving God through their relationship with the environment, and producing a guide for Oxford students on the local groups they can be involved in, actions they can take and places to shop to help them in their personal relationship with the environment! All these things take people power however, so prayer for growth in the community, and for wisdom in what we decide to do and how we do it! Also be praying about whether C4C is an area you want to get involved in!
They’ll also be taking time to just appreciate the world and beauty God has created – and part of this will be through highlighting a photo of God’s beautiful creation each week in this blog. This week’s photo comes from the Guardian’s ‘Week in Wildlife’ picture series and is titled ‘Egrets in Xiangshan forest park in Nanchang City, capital of east China’s Jiangxi Province.’ How Stunning!
This term marks the start of the new OICCU committee and new college reps and so let’s pray for excitement, formation of strong relationships and for a really supportive community. Let’s also pray for all our brothers and sister preparing for Trinity term exams, and that they will find encouragement and support in their CU and churches, looking to Jesus for their inspiration and motivation.
Lets be praying for our Just Love friends at other universities, many of whom are launching their term this week also. Pray for the personal, local and global initiatives that they run, and for Hannah, Tom, Naomi and Josh, the National JL team, at the start of this new term. They have a hard job working from different places all over the country, so lets ask God for good unity and communication between all of them!
God bless, and thank you for joining as we pray across Oxford!