Pontypridd Advent Prayer Trail 2020
This year, amongst numerous other lessons, we have been reminded that a building – often a blessing; sometimes a burden – is not a necessary in order for us to worship God. As Anne of Green Gables once noted;
“Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I’d do. I’d go out into a great big field all alone or into the deep, deep, woods, and I’d look up into the sky – up – up – up – into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I’d just feel a prayer.”
In recognition of this, and of our desire to enable all kinds of worship during this unusual advent, we have created this prayer trail from St. David’s Uniting Church through the park.
Ynysangharad War Memorial Park is the perfect location for this because, as a place of beauty and peace that came out of human violence and division, it is, in itself, a symbol of God’s grace.
We hope that this guide will aid your advent reflections this year.
What you will need: This prayer guide; up to 2 (socially distanced!) people. A phone/camera and ribbon are optional whilst Christmas jumpers/clothing are definitely recommended!
Prayer Point 1: St. David’s Uniting Church
Read: ‘Look at God’s beauty around and above; We bring you God’s peace and a bundle of love’. Luke 2:14 – The angels to the shepherds, Good As New
Do: Consider/share what good news you’ve given and/or received in this difficult year. Who have been the angels you would like to thank?
Think: I wonder how you could send a message of good news to someone in need today.
Pray: Loving God, we thank you for the friends and family members, strangers and keyworkers who have brought good news to us in a difficult time. Bless them all this Christmas. Amen.
Prayer Point 2: The new office buildings by the river
Read: “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jeremiah 29:7
Do: Take a moment to look around the new buildings and ask God to bless those who designed them, built them and work in them.
Think: I wonder how we might act and pray for the peace and prosperity of our town.
Pray: Gracious God, reveal to us how we can be ambassadors of your peace in our families, churches and towns. Amen.
Prayer Point 3: The middle of the new bridge.
Read: ‘There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.’ Psalm 46:4
Do: Consider or share at least three reasons why you can be thankful that you live where you do.
Think: In Christ, God came to live amongst us – to dwell in our cities. I wonder where you see God at work in our town.
Pray: Divine Spirit, blow through this town once again, scattering signs of hope far and wide. Amen.
Prayer Point 4: The entrance to the park.
Read: ‘The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.’ Psalm 19:1
Do: Spend a minute looking up at the sky. If there are clouds about, watch them make their way across the horizon.
Think: I wonder what is unique about the sky and skyline you can currently see.
Pray: Thank you God for the Sun and clouds; the moon and stars; for all the beauty of the skies. Amen.
Prayer Point 5: The tree-lined walk
Read: ‘She gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.’ Luke 2:7
Do: After God and people, trees are the most mentioned living thing in The Bible. Think of all the times that trees, and the things out of which they are made, feature in the life, death and rising of Jesus.
Think: I wonder what you think that Jesus’ humble birth tells us about God.
Pray: God-with-us, we praise you for putting aside power and might to come and live amongst us in vulnerability, poverty and humility. Help us to follow in your footsteps. Amen.
Prayer Point 6: The Statues of Evan Janes & James James
Read: ‘Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.’ Psalm 95:1
Do: Take a minute to listen to the song of creation all around you.
Think: I wonder what we can do in our Christmas celebrations to listen to, learn from, and care for, God’s creation.
Pray: Creator God, we are sorry for the times we neglect or abuse your world. Help us to be caring stewards of your wonderful cosmos. Amen.
Prayer Point 7: The War Memorial
Read: ‘For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ Romans 8:38-39
Do: Take a moment to think of those within our community and on the other side of the world who might need to hear of God’s love as revealed in Jesus Christ.
Think: I wonder what small act you could do to share God’s love with someone in need today.
Pray: Magnificent God, we thank you for revealing your extravagant, eternal love in the person of Jesus. Help us to remain anchored in that love during the highs and lows of this Christmas season. Amen.
Prayer Point 8: The Sunken Garden & Band Stand
Read: ‘People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.’ Luke 13:29
Do: The bandstand and sunken garden are often the focal point for picnics and parties in the park. Share some of the joyful occasions that you’ve had in the park. Who was there; what was the event; and what do such times reveal about God’s kingdom of justice and joy?
Think: I wonder how we can share the joy of God’s love with our community in the coming year.
Pray: Party-loving God, we thank you for the joy that comes from knowing that you love us deeply and that nothing we can do can make you love us any more or any less. May our thanksgiving be not just our lips but in our living in the year to come. Amen.