St James The Great
Old Milverton, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
January week 1
We have seen his star in the east and have come with gifts to worship the Lord. (Matthew 2:2)
Almighty God, you have promised through Jesus Christ that those who seek shall find. May the experience of the wise men inspire all who seek for truth to keep on searching, in the assurance that they will one day complete their quest and discover you for themselves. May your light shine in the darkness.
Jesus, may we not hoard but freely give the gold of our hearts, the myrrh of our grief, the frankincense of our dreams, to you.
January week 2
We give thanks for all our musicians, using their talents to help lead and enrich our worship week by week.
God’s love for us was revealed when God sent his only son into the world so that we could have life through him. (1 John 4:9)
Christ, Light of the world,
Meet us in our place of darkness,
Journey with us
And bring us to your new dawning.
January week 3
We ask that peace and justice may be a reality for all mankind and pray for those parts of the world in the news this week because of conflict.
Lord of the solstice, at this time of briefest light help us to be at home with the treasures of the dark.
As the days have drawn in help us to flow with the ebb tides of life.
At the turning of the year help us to welcome the dawn from on high.
I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you. (Isaiah 42:6)
January week 4
And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom. And the grace of God was upon him (Luke 2:40)
We pray for everyone with addiction problems and for those who work to help them.
Lead me from that which fades to that which endures.
Lead me from day’s dawning to Light eternal.
Lead from tide’s turning to heaven’s ocean of Love.
Lead me from the shore’s edge to eternal life.
Lead me from serving the weakest to finding the Highest.
January week 5
On these cold or wet winter days, we pray for those with no homes, struggling to survive on the streets.
Thank God for the gift of hospitality and the opportunities he presents us with day by day to use those gifts.
We give thanks for all those who contribute to the Parish Magazine and for Simone Brunson our magazine editor.
O God, we place our children into your hands.
We ask not that you will shield them from difficulty,
but that you will give them the strength to face it;
not that you will protect them from making mistakes,
but that they may be able to learn from them;
not that their lives will be easy,
but that they will deal with its challenges courageously.
Be with them when they are vulnerable,
protect them from lasting harm,
and keep them always in your love.
February week 6
Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent. We ask for the self-discipline to give a little more of our time to God in the next few weeks.
We pray for Priors House residential home, its staff and residents. Pray too for anyone you know who is in residential care.
Lord, I acknowledge my utter dependence on you. I have nothing that I have not received from you. By you I am sustained in nature and grace, day by day and moment by moment. Let your Spirit empty me of all that is not yours, that Christ may dwell in me and I in him.
February week 7
We give thanks for all doctors and nurses, their care, expertise and patience, and pray for everyone training to work in those professions.
We pray for refugees, asylum seekers and all who are homeless, giving thanks for the support they receive from the Christian organisations in our town.
Pray for lasting solutions to bring peace to our troubled world: pray particularly for those parts of the world that are in the news this week.
Give thanks for your family – hold them, by name, before God.
February week 8
On Tuesday (27th) the church remembers George Herbert, priest and poet. We thank God for the power of both words and music to stir our souls.
Fairtrade Fortnight runs from 26th February to 11th March. We pray that we may all be mindful of the need to share the world’s resources and give thanks for the bounty of the world around us.
Christ our Guide,
stay with us as we travel through life:
when we falter, encourage us,
when we stumble, steady us,
and when we have fallen, pick us up.
Help us to become, step by step, more truly ourselves,
and remind us that you have travelled this way before us.
February week 9
We pray for our neighbours and ask that we may be good ambassadors for our Christian faith in our daily lives.
Give thanks for our life together: for everyone who willingly commits their time and skills to support St James and for the different groups we belong to within the church. Ask God whether there is anything you could offer to be involved with.
We think of all those in hospital, or undergoing treatment, and give thanks for the medical expertise of all doctors and nurses.
March 1st is St David’s Day: we thank God for the distinctive characteristics of the countries that make up the United Kingdom, thinking individually of places that have special meaning for each of us.
March week 10
We pray for everyone considering fostering or adopting a child, asking God to support both them and their families in their decision-making about this great commitment.
On St. Patrick’s Day (17th March) we pray for the country of Ireland and its political and religious leaders, working to promote tolerance and understanding between different groups of people.
Lord, you understand me, you know my every thought. Enter into my mind, Lord. Be before me when I speak, be beside me when I act, be within me when I listen, that I might possess the wisdom born of love, for you are love, the love which understands everything.
March week 11
Spring officially begins this week. As we see signs of new growth in our gardens we give thanks for the wonders of our natural world, remembering that everything is part of God’s wonderful creation.
Mothering Sunday. We thank God for all those who have helped to mother us through our lives and for all those that we, in our turn, look after.
God’s love is around us like the sea around an island
And we stand secure on the rocks of our faith.
He has given his word like a beacon to guide us.
His love is a harbour in which we are safe.
March week 12
25th March is the Feast of the Annunciation, when Mary accepted her role in God’s plan to bring Jesus to our world. We ask that we may be open to God’s call to us.
We ask for grace to see God at work in our lives each day and to be thankful for each small blessing He gives us.
Give thanks for everyone who gives their time to help to clean St. James so that we may all enjoy its beauty.
Lord, temper with tranquillity
Our manifold activity,
That we may do our work for thee
With very great simplicity
(ascribed to a medieval monk)
March week 13
As lives were transformed at that first Easter, we pray that in this season of Easter, we too may meet the risen Christ afresh and open our lives to his renewing power.
As we enjoy the Easter decorations in church, we give you thanks for the skill and creativity of our flower arrangers whose gifts help to celebrate the festivals of the church’s year, and remind us of the beauty of your creation.
We think of all those in hospital, or undergoing treatment and give thanks for the medical expertise of all doctors and nurses.
Make a list of all your blessings and give thanks to God for the good things in your life.
April week 14
Pray for the work of Helen Ley Care Centre, the staff, the long-term residents and those who come for respite care.
Invite God to join you in all the little daily activities of life this week – talk to him about them!
We pray for all those facing redundancy or uncertainty in their places of work, asking God to uphold and strengthen them as they face changes in their lives.
April week 15
As we continue to see signs of new growth in our gardens, we give thanks for the wonders of our natural world, remembering that everything is part of God’s wonderful creation.
The Sikh religion celebrates the Festival of Baisakhi on April 14th. We pray for all those people of other faiths that we come into contact with in our daily lives.
We pray for the children of our church, for their parents, and for all those who help with our Sunday Club. We ask that each one of us may help them to feel part of our church family.
Pray for someone you find difficult to love and remember that they may find you difficult too.
April week 16
We ask God to guide the decisions that will be made at that meeting and to help everyone to discern His will for our Parish.
St George’s Day. We give thanks for our beautiful country, remembering particular places that have special meaning for us personally.
On the Queen’s birthday (21st April) we give thanks for her continuing good health and commitment to her country.
Christ, you are risen from the dead
We are risen with you.
May our life never deny this eternal life,
This peace and hope and joy.
Praise and glory to the God of life
Who is stronger than all kinds of death.
April week 17
Treat each day as a gift from God. As you open the curtains in the morning, thank him for the new day and the opportunities it holds in store.
On the 25th April the Church remembers Mark, the evangelist. We pray for all those people that live in parts of the world where it is dangerous to own or read the Bible.
We give thanks for all our readers and intercessors and for the important role they play in helping to lead our worship.
During Holy Week. As we reflect once again on the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we pray that we may draw closer to discerning God’s will in our lives.
April week 18
Godparents Day. Take a moment to thank God for your own godparents and the godparents of your children. Pray too for your own godchildren. Ask God to help all godparents as they support and pray for the children in their care.
Pray for everyone who will have to, or did, work through the bank holiday to provide care and support for others.
Just as lives were transformed at that first Easter, we pray that we too may meet the risen Christ afresh and open our lives to his renewing power.
Is there someone you are aware of who does not yet know God's love in their life? Pray that you may be shown a way to help them come to experience that empowering and transforming love.
May week 19
We pray for our own diocese of Coventry, our Bishops Christopher and John and for all those we know who worship in other churches within the diocese.
As the days get longer and summer drawer nearer, we pray for all those who will visit our church, asking that they may feel God’s presence here.
Give thanks for your friends: take one person each day to bring before God.
We pray for the Nuffield Hospital at Blackdown, for its staff and patients.
May week 20
We pray for everyone struggling with debt, and for the effect that has both on them and on their families.
8th May is World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day. We thank God for the efforts and commitment of all involved in the work of these charities.
Ascension Day is on 10th May. We pray for Christians throughout the world who share with us in the joy of knowing our risen and ascended Lord.
May week 21
Hold the communities in which we live and work before God, and give thanks for all that encourages our common life together.
This is half term week for our schools. Pray for any teachers you know, that they may be able to use the break to recharge their batteries and return to school next week refreshed and re-energised.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
(St. Patrick’s Breastplate)
May week 22
Pray for your neighbours this week, both those you know by name and those who are unknown to you.
On 26th May the church remembers Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury. We pray for Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu, asking God to give them wisdom as they lead our church.
Stand outside in different weathers and thank God for the variety of the seasons and for both the sunshine and the rain that make our country such a beautiful place.
June week 23
We pray for our churchwardens, thanking God for their commitment to St James and ask that they may be given the strength and energy to carry out this role.
Many young people are taking important exams at the moment. We pray for those we know, asking God to support them as they study.
We give thanks for the work of the Street Pastors and ask God to support all those who minister to those in any kind of need.
June week 24
We pray for our places of work, paid or voluntary, and ask that Jesus may show us ways in which we can fulfil his command to love our neighbour.
Father’s Day. We give thanks to God for all those father-figures who have influenced our lives.
We pray for everyone in our parish undergoing difficult times at the moment (make a note here of anyone you particularly want to pray for this month).
June week 25
Find some time this week to pick up your Bible and read some of your favourite stories or psalms. Thank God for the gift of his word to inform our actions and guide our steps day by day.
We give thanks for the many people who come through our churchyard day by day and pray that they may find it to be a welcoming and peaceful place.
Father, we praise you for the gift of words: the words we hear and read, the words we speak and write. As we handle and use the Holy Scriptures, make us more sensitive to what they say, more appreciative of the life and truth in their pages, and of the love and courage of those who wrote them; and open our ears to your voice, and our lives to yourself; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
June week 26
We pray for Helen Ley Care Centre and ask God to support all who work there, the long term residents and those who come to Helen Ley for respite care.
Pray for those you know personally who are struggling with their faith at the moment and ask the Holy Spirit to guide and support them.
Look and listen to the world around you and thank God for the gift of sight and hearing.
July week 27
We pray for those we know for whom life is difficult at the moment, for whatever reason, and ask God to hold and support them.
We give thanks for everyone who works in the emergency services, for their dedication and commitment to serve others.
Is there something happening in your life this week that concerns you or brings you great pleasure? Share it with God in your prayers throughout the week.
July week 28
Give thanks to God for your friends – name them, one by one, and place them in his loving care.
We pray for all the children who belong to the Sunday club group and for their families as they enjoy a summer break.
We pray for our friends at St Mary Magdalene, as they continue to work together to lead their church family through the current vacancy.
July week 29
As we approach the start of the school summer holidays, we remember all parents dealing with the conflicting demands of the working week and child care over the coming weeks.
If there is someone you know who particularly needs God’s love and support at the moment, hold them in your prayers each day this week.
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to
choose joy and keep choosing it every day, it is
a choice based on the knowledge that we belong
to God and have found in God our refuge and
our safety and that nothing, not even death, can
take God away from us. Joy is the experience
of knowing that you are unconditionally loved
and that nothing – sickness, failure, emotional
distress, oppression, war, or even death – can
take that love away.”
July week 30
This weekend is our Patronal Festival. We give grateful thanks for the fellowship of St. James and pray for all members of our church family.
We remember those away on holiday over the summer, and ask that they may travel safely, enjoy a restful break and return refreshed.
We ask God to support and encourage all those leading and organising children’s activities during the school holidays.
Pray that God may show us all ways to care for our planet, both through recycling and through being more careful about how we use the earth’s resources.
July week 31
We pray for our Parish and District Councils and all who serve on them.
We ask God to support and encourage those leading and organising children’s activities during the school holidays.
We pray for all residents of Old Milverton Village.
August week 32
We pray for everyone affected by debt and for those who are struggling to survive financially.
We give thanks for the work of the Night Shelter among those people in need in our town.
We ask God to protect all our families and friends who live at a distant from us and who we are unable to see regularly.
August week 33
We pray for everyone who works in journalism and the media, asking that they may be mindful of the effect their words have on others.
We think of everyone visiting our area for a holiday, and for those who work in the service industries associated with those holidays.
We give thanks for the friendships we have with people of different Christian traditions and ask that we may take the opportunity to learn from one another.
August week 33
We pray for the Old Milverton Horticultural Show, for all those responsible for organizing it and everyone who will come into the village to attend this annual event.
Look back over the summer months, and share the highs and lows you have experienced with God.
Show us, good Lord,
the peace we should seek,
the peace we must give,
the peace we can give,
the peace we must keep,
the peace we must forgo,
and the peace you have given
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
August week 34
We give thanks for all those who act as Stewards at St James and for their important role in welcoming all who attend our services.
We give thanks for the lives of all those influential in the development of the church and ask that God may continue to call people to serve his church.
We pray for everyone returning to school after the summer break, both children and teachers, and for all school chaplains, asking God to give them a sense of joy and purpose in their studies.
September week 35
Pray for a world that lovingly embraces all peoples, whatever their creed or colour.
Pray for all young people who have just left school or University and starting work. Pray too for those unable to find work and facing unemployment.
We pray for all the children we know, that their faith may grow and flourish and that we may set them a good example to follow.
September week 36
We remember the world’s many displaced people and pray for the charities that work to support and help them.
On the five fingers of your hand, thank God for five of his many blessings to you.
We pray for all those who raise money for charity through walks, runs, cycle rides and other activities, and thank them for their dedication and generosity, as well as all those who sponsor them.
September week 37
We pray for all those starting a new year of study at University, and for those leaving home for the first time.
We give thanks that we are able to worship freely and openly and pray for Christians living in countries where such actions can lead to persecution.
We give thanks for the ways in which we find God in surprising places and ask that we may always be open to hear his message for us.
September week 38
We pray for the work of Myton Hospice and for Stig Graham, who leads the chaplaincy team.
Is there someone you know who is in particular need of God’s love and care this week? Remember to talk to God about them each day.
At this harvest time we give thanks to God for the beauty and bounty of the world around us and pray for those parts of the world where there is famine or drought. May we never take God’s gifts to us for granted.
O Glorious God,
the whole creation proclaims your marvellous work:
increase in us a capacity to wonder and delight in it,
that heaven’s praise may echo in our hearts
and our lives be spent as good stewards of the earth.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
October week 39
We give thanks for those who work to keep our churchyard in good order and pray that it may be a welcoming place for all those who pass through.
We pray for refugees, asylum seekers and all who are homeless, giving thanks for the support they receive from charitable organisations, especially those operating in Leamington.
On the 6th October the church remembers William Tyndale, who translated the scriptures into English in the sixteenth century. We thank God for all who help to bring the word of God to us in ways we can understand and for the freedom to read the Bible without fear of persecution.
October week 40
We give thanks for all those who work on the land and praise God for the variety and abundance of the food we have to eat each day. In your prayers, remember those who struggle to feed their families, both in this country and abroad.
We remember all those in government and we ask that their decisions may reflect the true welfare of all people. We remember in particular all local politicians.
We pray for tolerance between peoples of different religious backgrounds, that we may all grow in our understanding of one another’s beliefs and customs.
October week 41
The 18th October is the Feast Day of St. Luke the Evangelist. Luke was a physician, and so we pray for all who are ill and those who care for them, that they may find blessing and strength in knowing God’s love.
As autumn approaches and the nights draw in, we pray for all who live alone, for whom the winter evenings can feel long and lonely at times.
We pray for all our own families and ask for God’s healing love on those families going through troubled times.
As our planet cries out for help, ask God to help us to find ways in which each one of us can help to make our world a more sustainable place in which to live.
October week 42
October 24th is United Nations Day. We give thanks for all who strive to bring the countries of the world to a better understanding of one another and pray that peace and justice may be a reality for all humankind.
We pray for the spiritual life of our country, that more people may become aware of God’s love for them and may actively seek to know more.
We pray for all parents, that they may be able to make their homes places of love, peace and security.
The earth is your dwelling,
live in us Lord, let us live in you.
Settle in our hearts, at home in our wills,
at rest in our minds, at ease in our strength,
that we may reside in peace,
live in joy, abide in love,
and inhabit eternity.
October week 43
As we remember all those we love who have died on all Souls, we thank God for those who have influenced our own journeys of faith and pray that we too may be privileged enough to help others as they travel towards a greater knowledge of Christ.
As you watch the news this week, take one area of conflict to pray about and ask God to move people to seek ways of peace rather than war.
We pray for the invaluable work of the Samaritans, for all volunteers who give their time to listen and talk to those who call, and for everyone who needs the help they offer.
November week 44
On Bonfire Night we pray for the emergency services, dealing with accidents as a result of fireworks and bonfires.
We pray for all those injured whilst serving their country, for courage and strength to come to terms with their injuries, and for the skills of the doctors and nurses who help with their recovery.
We ask God to guide us as we try to apply responsible stewardship principles to our world. We pray especially for those who are working to develop alternative sources of energy.
November week 45
We give thanks for all visitors who come to help lead our worship, enriching our spiritual life.
On November 11th we ask God’s support for all who mourn a loved one lost as a result of conflict and we pray for peace in our troubled world.
As we all start to think about our Christmas shopping, we remember everyone who works in the retail industry in our town.
November week 46
We give thanks for the fellowship of the St. James’ family, acknowledging the support we get from one another.
We ask God to protect all our families and friends that live at a distance from us and whom we are unable to see regularly.
Bright star-maker God,
travel with us through Advent;
shine into our dark corners;
lead us into ways of justice;
warm us with joy and wonder;
bring us to new birth.
November week 47
We pray for all families living in poverty and for all the agencies that work to support and help them.
Is there something that has given you pleasure this week? Say thank you to God for those special moments that bring us joy.
Awaken me, Lord to your light,
Open my eyes to your presence.
Awaken me, Lord to your love,
Open my heart to your indwelling.
Awaken me, Lord to your life,
Open my mind to your abiding.
Awaken me, Lord to your purpose,
Open my will to your guiding
December week 48
We pray for those who work with offenders – the police, prison officers, the probation service and for the prisoners themselves.
Within our church organisations, we pray for the members of the PCC who oversee all aspects of our church life.
Now is the time to wake out of sleep: for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. (Romans 13:11)
Father God, touch our lives again at this time, as we remember the coming of Jesus, as we anticipate his coming again and as we strive to serve him better here and now.
December week 49
The kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:15)
Christ our Advent hope,
Bare brown trees, etched dark across a winter sky,
Leaves fallen, rustling, ground hard and cold,
Remind us to prepare for your coming;
Remind us to prepare for the time
When the soles of your feet will touch the ground,
When you will become one of us
To be at one with us.
At Advent, we should try the key to our heart’s door. It may have gathered rust. If so, this is the time to oil it, in order that the heart’s door may open more easily when the Lord Jesus wants to enter at Christmas time! Lord, oil the hinges of our hearts’ doors that they may swing gently and easily to welcome your coming.
(Prayer of a New Guinea Christian)
December week 50
We pray for all involved in the work of local government, asking for God’s guidance in decisions that affect the lives of local people.
A voice cries out: ‘In the desert prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’ (Isaiah 40:3)
I suspect that you’ve heard more carols than are good for you by now! However, rather than another prayer, take the words of a well-known carol, read them slowly and prayerfully – perhaps out loud – and let the wonder of the words speak to you.
December week 51
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-14)
Loving God, we thank you for this day and all it speaks of – your promise of old to send a Messiah to your people, the fulfilment of that promise through the sending of your Son. We thank you for the realisation of those long years of expectation, the glad tidings proclaimed by the angels and the wonder and mystery of that first Christmas. May the wonder of the gospel come alive in our hearts today.
Lord Jesus, we thank you that when the world was very dark you came to bring light into our darkness.
You came in the night, to bring light into the lives of Mary and Joseph.
You came to Bethlehem – then, as now, a very troubled town – bringing light to all who came to trust you.
You come to us now, into our lives and into our world, bringing light still to your people.
We ask you now once again to accept the worship that we bring as we come again to the manger.
Help us to see there the light that will shine for us, not just at Christmas but every day of the year.
December week 52
I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’ And he replied; ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That will be better to you than light, and safer than a known way.’ (M. Louise Haskins, ‘The Desert’)
Lord of the years, may we celebrate the good life past and not forget the Giver of that life.
God of the call, may we contemplate the good road ahead and walk along it, with love in our hearts, hand in hand with you.
Step softly into your weeping world, incarnate God; embrace it in your love.
Bring light into broken lives, warmth into frozen hearts, hope to those at war.
May your peace pervade every place.
Help us to approach this new year filled with the joy of your companionship, as we step out in faith with you, ready to face the future, whatever it may hold.