“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat – for he grants sleep to those he loves” Psalm 127; 1-2
Welcome back to our new weekly prayer blog as Just Love Oxford! The idea behind this new element of JL 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 our projects in Oxford.
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. Join us at Keble College 5-6pm on Tuesday for a time of reflective prayer too if you’re around!
Congratulations! We’ve made it through first week, and collections already feel like a distant memory. Rowers are back on the river, chemists are back in the lab, finalists are gaining a vitamin D deficiency from lack of sunlight while second years (well, most…) are punting like there’s no tomorrow. Best of all? Just Love Oxford is back in action.
It is so wonderful to be part of something that springs into life the minute we get back to this beautiful city, but Psalm 127 can be a helpful way to get us into the right pace of life. Without God, we labour in vain. So, we must be careful not to get ahead of ourselves as we get caught up in another 8 week race of ‘how much can I do before the end of term?’.
Jesus’s ministry was about 3 years – the same length as many of our degrees. Yet, the word’s run or rush aren’t the stand out features of the gospels. Instead Jesus made time, for people and for God. He taught his followers, he healed, he preached, he had dinner with friends and with strangers, and what would you bet that every person he was with had his undivided dedication and love? He also prayed, a lot. Everything he did was inline with his Father’s will. Let that be our prayer as we come into second week – may every action of our hearts minds and bodies by line with God, else it will be in vain.
As we pray this week let’s give thanks to God for the wonderful JL launch last week, with a fantastic and beautiful message about relationship in justice from James. Praise the Father for such a great start to term.
For Homeless Outreach this week, please pray for all the conversations we have with our friends living on the streets. Pray that we can continually get to know them better and the struggles they are facing, with many natural opportunities to be bold, speak about Jesus and lovingly bringing light into their situation. Pray also for the wellbeing of all outreachers. Some stories can be difficult to hear, so pray that we will be able to strengthen our community and honesty with each other in such a way that no one feels helpless.
This week in HTAG we will be reflecting on the information evening and planning in more detail for Stand for Freedom itself. Please pray that God will continue to stir the hearts of those who signed up at the launch on Thursday, and keep that rightful passion against injustice, that was so present, burning within them. A prayer of thanks to God also for all the enthusiasm we have had so far, and pray that the event will continue to inspire and release those who recognise the affront to God’s justice that the enslavement of his children is.
This week in Caring for Creation we were looking at Leviticus 25, and thinking what it means to be giving the land a rest through our food consumption. Be praying about the idea of seasonal living, eating food when it naturally would be in season, and how you might be able to adapt your food habits to be more locally sourced, and also for growth in numbers and in passion for the caring for creation community!
This weeks creation photo of the week again comes from the Guardian’s ‘Week in Wildlife’ series (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2017/apr/28/the-week-in-wildlife-in-pictures) and is of adorable chinstrap penguins in Antarctica!
Finally, let’s be looking outside of Oxford. With the election coming up let’s be praying for the hearts of politicians, campaigners and voters, and that the campaigns and voting will be just and fair. Let us also begin to pray for the party that will be voted in. May they act righteously and justly, may they truly represent the country, make wide decisions, and make just actions, that do not manipulate power, break down relationship, or move us into hatred and jealously. Rather, may the UK be a better place to live because of their actions, may justice be brought to our country, and our communities become places of love and understanding.
Thank you so much for joining with us in this journey of prayer. May God give you peace and wisdom this week, and discernment in your decisions as we seek to serve Him, and bring His kingdom here.
‘…and I realise just how beautiful you are and how great your affections are for me’