Psalm 88      Please read the whole Psalm:

You have taken from me friend and neighbour,- Darkness is my closest friend. 

This is such a despairing psalm  It seems almost without hope.  Yet it begins with an acknowledgement of the God who saves.   It is a song that reminds us how we need God is desperate times.   One of the greatest sermons I have ever heard was preached on this psalm in Holy Trinity Brompton (London) by Tim Keller.  You can listen to it here:

“Enemy-occupied territory – that is what this world is.  Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.  When you go to church you are really listening in to the secret wireless from our friends: that is why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us from going.  He does it by playing on our conceit and laziness and intellectual snobbery. (C S Lewis – Mere Christianity).

Petition: Please join with us in praying for:

1.The World   – The number of confirmed cases is 106,042,078 (up 3,049,758 from last week – a similar increase).  The number of deaths of people with Covid is 2,314,602 (up 87,667 –a slight decrease).  There are signs that the vaccination programmes are beginning to have an effect – particularly in the UK and Israel.  

2. AustraliaThere have been 28,850 cases in total (up 49 compared with 45 the week before, with 2 being community transmission – 0 last week)

State Total Cases Weekly Change TW/LW Total Deaths Change in Deaths TW/LW
ACT 118 +0 (0) 3 0
NSW 5,120 + 16 (17) 54 0
NT 102 +4 (+0) 0 0
QLD 1,312 +2 (9) 6 0
SA 602 +5 (1) 4 0
TAS 234 + 0 (0) 13 0
VIC 20,455       +7 (12) 820 0
WA 907 +5 (+8) 9 0

There are 11 people in hospital (-3) with 0 in intensive care (+0). 310,113 tests have been carried out in the past week with 0.2% positive. There are 52 active cases (-14).   There have been two cases in hotel quarantine workers – one in Perth and one in Melbourne.  And one person who tested positive two days after leaving quarantine.       

3. Vaccine and Cures – Over 127 million vaccines doses have been administered worldwide (up from 97 million last week.) Israel has vaccinated over two thirds of its population.  The next large country is the UK with 18% and then the US with 12%.   It is being reported that the AstraZeneca vaccine is less effective against the South African strain.  However, it was also reported that it is effective in preventing the spread of Covid 19.   

4. Church – There are many other issues in the public domain, apart from Covid, that the church has to deal with.  Pray for the Church in Victoria which is about the face the consequences of what is being termed ‘the anti-gay conversion therapy bill’.  There are genuine concerns that this is about a whole lot more than the question of gay conversion therapy.  What happens when we are forbidden from teaching what the Bible says about sex and sexuality?

5.  Personal and Family –  The busyness and worries of life can easily come in and choke our personal spiritual fruitfulness.  Pray that we would stay close to the Lord and grow in grace through his Word and his people.   

A Prayer of Repentance:    “O Almighty God, who in your wrath did send a plague upon your own people in the wilderness, for their obstinate rebellion against Moses and Aaron; and also, in the time of king David, did slay with the plague of pestilence the 70,000, and yet remembering your mercy did save the rest;  Have pity upon us miserable sinners, who now are visited with great sickness and mortality; that like as you did then accept of an atonement, and did command the destroying Angel to cease from punishing, so it may now please you to withdraw from us this plague and grievous sickness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.” (The Book of Common Prayer).

Song:  One of the most viewed worship songs online is Matt Redman’s 10,000 Reasons.  Here is a version of him singing in Times Square New York.  

May the day return soon when we can sing publicly the name of Christ. A Prayer of Thanksgiving:  O Lord we bless you that you have given us thousands of reasons to bless you.  We thank you for all your blessings – but most of all we praise you for your greatest gift, our precious Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.