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CHRISTIAN LIFE IN LONDON | APRIL 2021 EDITION
what we say matters...
February Prayer Prompt

CURRENT COMMUNITY STORIES
April 2021 Prayer Prompt
...around the table
The Churches of London Series
Village Green Community Church
London Christian Life and Witness Course May - June
BookMark - Healthy Gut Zone: Heal Your Digestive System to Restore Your Body and Renew Your Mind (BOOK REVIEW)
The Imprisoned for Christ Virtual Event – April 24th!
Register Now!
Integrity
The Greater London Celebration with Will Graham
Did You Miss the Virtual Celebration Launch Event?
Working from Home - 4 Must See Videos! (VIDEO)
Navigating Faith & Culture - Together
Faith Today magazine now FREE in Canada
Reel Review - Roe v. Wade (MOVIE REVIEW)
An Update from The London Child & Youth Network
I’m Drawing God! (HUMOUR)

Published February 2021



Provided by CCNL (Christian Churches Network of London)

Human beings alone of all God's creations have been given this unique ability to communicate with one another in words - millions of words, in various languages, in thought, spoken and written words. It is a precious gift - a treasure to be used well. The power of words is enormous - to strengthen or to hurt, to lift up or to put down, to foster peace or to sow discord.

The bible has much to say about our use of words.

Maybe we have these "pandemic windows of opportunity" to think more intentionally about our words because of our heightened awareness about brevity of life, or because of increased availability of free time. Maybe it's because we are living in constant closer proximity with others, maybe it's because of reduced social contacts, maybe it's because of recent examples of so many misused words on social media or in political dialogues.... or maybe it is because each word spoken feels like they need to be cherished and examined more than ever.

Let's pause to think together more about words we might need to hear ourselves, as well as those we may need to utilize more often. This month, Scripture will shape our prayers as we invite the Spirit within to assist us "choose our words". What a difference we could make in London all because of Jesus powerfully at work in our selection of words!

God, may we share these words generously this month:

I'm proud of you... You're doing a great job...
Proverbs 16:24 says "Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."

God, each day, help us to bless someone - or bless lots of people - with sweet, healthy words, spoken or written. Let us not be empty flatterers or posers, but rather be sincere, thoughtful lovers of others - strangers, family, friends, and even those we are not so fond of! Use our words to bring healing & reconciliation, energy & joy, hope & healing.

I was wrong...
Proverbs 19:14 "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight "


God, we confess that the words of our mouths are not always acceptable in your sight, not even in our own sight if we are brutally honest. The thought of you examining our heart thoughts is more than a little scary some days. Help us to see and hear when we sound overly critical and harsh; when we are tearing down and diminishing others in the guise of 'helpful criticism'; when we sound sarcastic, or just plain mean, especially when we're feeling exhausted, helpless or defensive. Give us grace to admit when we do this - because we will. Thank you that, just as you offer us grace, we can offer grace to others when they speak hard words to us or when they are mistaken. Together, we need to try to pursue right...and somehow figure out the difference between if it is truly about right and wrong...or if it is just about dissenting opinions or personal preferences. That's a big challenge for many of us - we need to keep talking. Maybe our words weren't wrong, but our tone of voice, our motivation, or our focus were. Examine this with us God regularly.

*I'm listening ... tell me more...
Psalm 55:1-2 "Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not ignore my cry for help! Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles"


God, you gently listen to us as we pour out our hearts to you. Almost every one of the 150 Psalms identify you God as the listener to the writers' good times and bad times, their hopes and fears, their praises and criticisms. Help us to assume a similar posture of listening, to be curious about other people's thinking, slower to interrupt, tune out, roll our eyes, talk over, or offer quick fixes. We, as a society, are seeking to invite people to a much greater "let's talk" mindset, especially in order to better understand growing mental health concerns. May we foster better communication by learning to listen like you to others.

*I love you ... I really love you....
Romans 8:39 "I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us."


You God go out of your way to repeatedly tell us you love us deeply. Not because we deserve it, nor because we earned it, but because it is your character to love extravagantly. We as your followers need to copy your model - to love the lovable, which is fairly easy; to love the unlovable, which is much much harder; to love those who love us; and to love those who really don't even like us and/or we do not like. Help us to recognize how, when and to who we need to verbalize words of tenderness, acceptance and love in healthy, life-giving, appropriate ways. Love always must be sincere.

*Can I help? ....how can I best walk with you?...
James 2 says "Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless...”


Help us God to ask, observe, and ponder how we can practically be of real help, to offer not just advice or pious words, but concrete, timely assistance in wise, respectful ways that reflect you. So often, it is in those small private acts of sheer kindness, and sometimes, it requires us to stand with others in larger, more public ways - to use our words, our resources, and our influence well.

*I don't agree with you...I see it differently....
James 1:19 "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry."


Realistically God, almost daily we will disagree with someone in big or small things. We are each have differing ideas, approaches, and timelines. Help us to discern when it is important to address these differences - and when it is not. May we not avoid the learning that can take place when divergent opinions are expressed - with ears to listen and respectfully consider others' words. Sometimes, we need to express our ideas out loud to hear ourselves. These crucial conversations can help us on the way to better decisions and understanding without letting anger take charge.

*I'm sorry... forgive me...
James 3:5-6 "In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire..."


Unresolved angry words can linger in relationships for years. Provoke us God to seek resolution more often...as much as it depends on us. If we need to ask forgiveness, help us to do so sincerely and quickly before bitterness and hurt can take root, not just because we are Canadian! It is hard to take words back. Help us even more to think about future words that are already on the tips of our tongue that have the potential to start a 'forest on fire'. Remind us of those stark visual images from B.C., California and Australia aflame this year of how little sparks do much damage. If we stop to think first, maybe we won't have to say "I'm sorry" as often!

*I want to tell you the truth...
Matthew 5:37 says: "In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong." Proverbs 12:19 also says: "Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed."


It is important God that we are consistent truth tellers - so tempting to add our 'interpretation' or 'spin' on truth. Maybe because we don't want to bear the possible consequences of truth, or we just want to look better. Young children don't have to be taught to lie - it seems part of our common sinful nature. As adults, we learn to pick and choose what we say for generally good reasons hopefully. But God, we live in a culture that condones "little white lies" with a smirk and they can still do great damage. We ask you to make us more aware of our own manipulation of truth - both intentionally and unintentionally.

*Let me tell you about my Jesus... this is what I believe about God...
Romans 10:14 "...And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 1 Peter 3:15-16 says "And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way."


God, may all of us listen to your Spirit prompting us to talk openly with others about why and what we believe, in joyful ways they can understand. Give us sensitive hearts, as well as the kind of relationships that foster these wonderful conversations. We confess that many of us easily slip into using our "churched" language to people who do not know of you. Such a sacred privilege to speak clearly of your love for us and for our love for you. Amen....and amen - let us go use these powerful words well.

AND A SPECIAL EXTRA FEBRUARY REQUEST: We want to share the following on behalf of many pastors and leaders of ministries. This quote below was an intro to a Leadership Network blog a few weeks ago that seemed to capture well the challenges of this unprecedented (oh that word again) season of life. "For most pastors and leaders, there has never been a year filled with more turmoil, tension, criticism, and anxiety than 2020. Our congregations were divided by politics, masks, in-person gatherings, and the appropriate reactions to racism in our country. Pastors struggled with preaching through cameras to invisible congregations while making impossible decisions, where any choice would disrupt half the church. 2020 was filled with leadership anxiety, and many of us were never fully equipped to manage it well." Would you take a few extra minutes to pray specifically for leaders in London and area that you may know? Use your words to pray for them by name....and if you feel so led, maybe even take another few minutes to use your words to let them know you are standing with them and for them.

And as added trial feature, we've had a couple of requests to provide a brief summary of the monthly prayer prompt.


So, here's our first attempt to do so: What we say matters, so please pray for yourself and for all those who represent Jesus:
  1. To have words of blessing for people (Proverbs 16:24).
  2. To discern any critical spirit in my words (Proverbs 19:14).
  3. For patience and interest to listen well (Psalms 55:1-2).
  4. To verbalize words of love for others (Romans 8:39).
  5. To go beyond words to true helpfulness and solidarity (James 2:15-17).
  6. For the ability to disagree respectfully (James 1:19).
  7. For a humble spirit, seeking and granting forgiveness where necessary (James 3:5-6).
  8. For the ability to speak truth in love (Matthew 5:37; Proverbs 12:19).
  9. To verbalize our hope in Christ in sensitive and welcoming ways (Romans 10:14; 1 Peter 3:15-16)

For our church Pastors and Ministry Leaders: resilience, grace, fortitude and courage to lead well in these challenging times.