The national leaders of all the churches in Scotland recently put their names to an ecumenical prayer and the Moderator of the General Assembly prayed this prayer at the start of his term of office. In these times when we cannot be together in worship and fellowship, it is meaningful to use a part of this prayer (in italics) each week to lead and inspire our own prayers.
Week 1: Creator and giver of life
Let us pray:
‘The gift of life’ – What a gift!
Faced with a pandemic that has devastatingly threatened human life across our world and brought severe restrictions on our daily freedoms and the opportunities life brings – it is time to reflect and give thanks to God for the world he has created, the vitality of life itself, the gifts of countryside, the gifts and talents God has given us, the opportunities of every day and challenges of every day, the resilience of people, and the joy of family life, friendship and fellowship. Reflect – and give thanks!
LIFE! – Physical and spiritual!
Reflect on the best of days and times – and for all that God’s creative genius and generosity has given to us and ours. Thank God for the days when you have felt so much alive and have been energised and blest by the vibrancy of nature, the determination of children to grow and learn, the beauty of the earth, the bounty of nature, the refreshment of sunshine and rain and the times when God has refreshed your soul with forgiveness and hope! Give thanks to the giver – and rejoice!
Remember God’s generosity in nature and the resilience of the natural world that produces year on year a bounteous supply and variety! Give thanks for the ‘bringing in’ of harvest and for the labours of the farmers and workers. Give thanks for the peace and order of our nation, which ensures harvests are gathered and our food is readily available.
Pray for our Families with School Children
There is nothing quite so energising as a group of children going to school. Their shared enthusiasm for life and learning exudes the joy of life. However, many parents and their children are still anxious about the dangers of COVID-19 and are concerned about going to school. Pray for our parents and children – Pray they may be kept safe – and may recover their joy and zest for life.
Week 2: The greatest gift!
Let us continue in prayer:
The gift and giving of your Son – the greatest gift of all!
God so loved the world!
Pray for Revival!
Pray for Graham and our Church leaders.
Week 3: Powerful protection of faith!
Let us continue in prayer
‘The gift of your Spirit’ – Another great gift!
Jesus promised us – ‘another comforter’, ‘counsellor’, ‘a teacher’. The glorious truth is – we are not alone! Many today are facing mental health issues, loneliness, bereavement, grief and even self-pity. These feelings have led many to feelings of desperation, despair, despondency, depression, severe anxiety and uncertainty. ‘Living God, Your promise is we will not be left alone to face the world…’ If you share some of the above feelings then – take hold of God’s promise!
Pray right now – and our loving God will be with you, listen to your prayers and fears and His Spirit will hear your cries and comfort you and minister to your needs. This is the time to make your faith a reality. Others will be praying for you and praying with you – join us right now in prayer!
Pray for others! One of the best and quickest ways to healing our anxiety and loneliness is to think of others and pray for them – ‘Lord, Speak into the depths of their incomprehension and fear…’ There are times when we, or our loved ones, seem so overwhelmed by anxiety or depression that we feel utterly helpless – our prayer above invites us to reach out to the very depth of our despair and find the Spirit of God is near and is with us! David’s experience was: “I can never escape from your spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go to the place of the dead, you are there….even in the darkness I cannot hide from you…’ Psalm 139:7-12 (NLT) Let’s talk with Him – He has never left us!
Pray for the needy - In God’s world made imperfect by our humanity, sin and greed there are many with little food in a world of plenty – give thanks for every charity seeking to supply the needs of the needy and pray the helpers may be encouraged in their labours. Pray for mothers and fathers unable to provide for their children – pray they may have their anxieties and prayers answered. Pray earnestly that the needy may recognise their greater need of spiritual food and nourishment. Pray for our communities and families to regain their spiritual health and wellbeing.
Week 4: Sustainer of daily life!
Let us continue in prayer:
The Giver that keeps giving – ‘we are not alone’!
We most often meet God’s presence in every day life as we experience the love of God through the practical, everyday love and service of others around us. We can heighten this experience if we take time to remember in our prayers those who provide services to us and those dealing with the practical issues.
Let us pray for:
Pray for own Church re-opening group who have been working so hard to open up the church buildings. There is still a way to go and the road ahead will not be easy. Pray for those juggling work responsibilities and giving time and talents to the re-opening programme. Give thanks to God for the re-opening of the Hall and pray all will continue to go well. Pray for the parents committee and the leaders of the Out of School Club.
Pray for our own congregation who might be able to return to some kind of Church service but it will not resemble anything we are used to – pray that those attending may still be enriched and blessed in every way.
Pray for newly qualified ministers looking for congregations – pray opportunities will open up for them. Pray for ministers in training – that they may be re-assured of their calling and see ways forward in these uncertain times.
Pray for our health workers gearing up for winter flu vaccinations as well as re-starting clinics and out patient appointments. Keep all our NHS workers constantly in our prayers.
Pray for staff and pupils back at school and the need to keep everyone safe and well. Let us pray for vulnerable children to be supported and for parents to feel re-assured the schools are safe places for their children to be.