Psalm 126

When the LORD restored the fortunes ofZion, we were like those who dreamed. 2 Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”  3 The LORD has done great thingsfor us, and we are filled with joy. 4 Restore our fortunes, LORD, like streams in the Negev. 5 Those who sow with tears will reapwith songs of joy. 6 Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. 

As this is the second last prayer notes I thought I would just use two of the psalms we have not yet meditated on.  Ps 126 is a real favourite.    The Lord’s people reflect that when God restored their fortunes (returning from exile to Jerusalem) they could hardly believe it.  It was like a dream.  It was so remarkable that even the non- believers marvelled.   We need to see this.  We need to sow in tears – praying with passion and compassion for the Lord’s blessing, as we seek to spread the Good News – and see people coming to a saving faith in Christ. 

 “When there are great differences amongst God’s own people, the end is bitter.”   (Thomas Manton) 

Petition: Please join with us in praying for:

1.The World   – There have been 274,695,106 cases (up 4,570,324 – a 5% increase on last week). 5,354,310 deaths of people with covid (up 48,635 – a slight decrease).  China has now had its first Omicron case.  The Netherlands is back into lockdown and the UK is considering the same.   There is evidence that South Africa has passed its Omicron peak – with little impact on its hospitals.  Its Covid death rate is now one in 200, ten times lower than last September.  

2. AustraliaThere have now been 250,728 cases (+21,798 – a 90% increase)

StateTotal CasesWeekly Change TW/LWTotal DeathsChange in Deaths TW/LW
ACT2,278 197+81 (+39)15+0 (+1)
NSW97,558 85,924+11,634 (+2,736))643+4 (+9)
NT357+46 (+17)1+0 (+0)
QLD2,297+129 (+16)70
SA1,296+288 (+40)40
TAS247+ 7 (+ 0)130
VIC145,570 135,959     +9,611 (+8,1701,454 +48 (+44)
     
WA1,125+2 (+1)90

There are 759 people in hospital – 109 in ICU.  The rise in cases is not being seen by a similar rise in hospital cases.  There has also been a large increase in testing – to over 1, 600,000.  There are 27,749 active cases in Australia – up over 12,000.  

3. Vaccine and Cures – 4.47 billion people have received at least one doze – 58.3% of the population. Australia now has 80% one doze, 77% two doze and 5.8% triple.   Pfizer’s Covid-19 antiviral pill Paxlovid cuts the risk of hospitalisation or death by up to 89 per cent in high-risk patients, according to final trial results that confirm earlier data.

4. Church – For the second year running for many people it will not feel a lot like Christmas.  The concerns, fears and separations are troubling many people.  But pray that people would see that Christ came to bring light into the darkness. 

5.  Personal and Family – I had the joy of seeing two of our grandchildren this weekend.  It was a bittersweet reminder of how enforced separations have caused so much harm and hurt.  Others have gone through a lot worse.  Pray for family reunions this Christmas – and for those who experience the loneliness of loss. 

A Prayer of Repentance:   Lord we confess how little we have wept for our lost world, and how much we have wept over our own trivialities.  Forgive us and teach us to have your heart and compassion for the lost, in Jesus Name, Amen.   

Song:  This is a lovely fun version of a classic carol for Christmas from Kate Rusby – for adults and children alike – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71D2ShDGqdM

A Prayer of Thanksgiving:   Father, we bless you that you sent your Son as the greatest gift of all.  Lord Jesus, we praise you that you were prepared to come from the glory of heaven to the lowliness of the manger.  Holy Spirit – we thank you for your enabling work and power in the giving of the greatest gift.  Our triune God – we owe you everything.  We praise you name.  Amen.