To begin with a question – who do you actually pray to? Well, God, of course, as Jesus taught us, we pray to Our Father, to God himself. But a few months ago I was invited to a group which meets regularly for friendship and coffee and to pray together for other friends and for people who are in particular need of prayer at that time. And I was struck by the fact that many of the prayers were being addressed, unselfconsciously, to Jesus himself. So perhaps quite a few people find it comes naturally to ask Jesus for the things we need, especially for other people;

Very many of our hymns are addressed to Jesus, and we may find that we can use them as private prayers as well as in worship together. Some Jesus hymns strike us as too sentimental, but I’ve picked a modern one who is very direct and straightforward, and definitely not sentimental or soppy. ‘Lord Jesus Christ’, it begins. Patrick Appleford, who wrote both words and music, was part of the Twentieth Century Church Light Music Group around 1960 and this is his best known hymn, No. 505 in Common Praise. I would say it works very well as a prayer. A comprehensive thanksgiving and acknowledgement of all that Jesus Christ has done for us and means to us. The first verse gives us in simple words Christ’s incarnation, his redeeming love for us and our response to him


Lord Jesus Christ, you have come to us,

you are one with us, Mary’s Son;

cleansing our souls from all their sin,

pouring your love and goodness in;

Jesus, our love for you we sing, living Lord.


The second verse reminds us of our activities as Christians. We recall how Jesus himself gave us the words to pray to Our Father, and he also gave us the actions to use when we come together in worship and celebrate communion together:


Lord Jesus Christ, now and every day

teach us how to pray, Son of God.

You have commanded us to do

this in remembrance, Lord, of you;

into our lives your power breaks through, living Lord.


We come to the essential truths of the Gospel: Jesus’ incarnation, his birth at Bethlehem, his crucifixion on Calvary, his death and resurrection to be Lord and God.


Lord Jesus Christ, you have come to us,

born as one of us, Mary’s Son.

Led out to die on Calvary,

risen from death to set us free,

living Lord Jesus, help us see, you are Lord.


The final verse gives us the opportunity to respond to these great acts of salvation, by dedicating our lives to his service. It reminds us of his two great commandments, to love God and love our neighbour, and all the gifts and benefits that we receive from the power and love which he gives us.


Lord Jesus Christ, I would come to you,

live my life for you, Son of God.

All your commands I know are true,

your many gifts will make me new,

into my life your power breaks through, living Lord.

                   Copyright: Josef Weinberger Limited


My next talk will be the final one in this summer series on using hymns for private prayer, after which we will probably go back to thinking about our set readings. The final one will focus on a hymn not addressed to God or to Jesus at all, but still rather relevant for praying. And we will turn to our prayers together now.