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Scottish Christians join in prayer on second Sunday of Advent

This Sunday (6 December), as the season of Advent continues, Christians across the country – and further afield – will once more join together in prayer at 7pm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Second Sunday of Advent candle

As with previous weeks during lockdown, 14 Christian churches and organisations across the country, including the Church of Scotland, have co-signed the letter calling for prayer.

Scottish Christians have been continuing to answer the call to pray at the same time each week, and Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has been taking part alongside them.

“There are some things which make sense for a certain period of time but which come to a natural conclusion – such as clapping for carers during the spring lockdown. Prayer isn’t one of them,” Dr Fair said.

“The Apostle Paul encourages us to ‘pray without ceasing’ and Jesus himself offers parables where persistence in prayer is lauded.

“It can be hard to keep going when there’s no end in sight; much easier when the finishing line comes into view. In the case of the pandemic, it still feels as if there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

“All the more reason then for God’s people to continue faithfully in prayer. And even better when we can pray across the whole of the Church, unrestricted by denominational divides.

“If Sunday at 7pm is in your diary, keep it there. Thank you. If it hadn’t been, it would be great to have you involved. It matters that we pray.”https://www.youtube.com/embed/AJhNP20cx24

This week’s letter accompanying the prayer, which is also available in Gaelic (a copy of which will be available to read here soon) states:

“‘Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.’ God speaks and the word spoken is a word of comfort to the people of God. The word is spoken to those who feel that they are powerless and to those who are wearied and exhausted by all that they have endured.

“Thereafter, the words of Isaiah take us out into the wilderness and, if we listen with open hearts, we will find ourselves in that place and hear a voice crying out: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’”

“Even in the wilderness, we are called to prepare so that, in times to come, we might see the presence of God renewed in our midst. (Isaiah 40: 1-11)

“The words are taken up again in the beginning of the Gospel of Mark as a messenger announces the coming of Jesus Christ. In every age, and in every time, the words resonate if we listen with open hearts. (Mark 1: 1-8)

“God speaks and the word spoken is a word of comfort for our age and our times. We embrace and hold fast to the word spoken to us through our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

We pray:

Living God,
In this season of Advent,
Speak to us words of comfort.
Speak that we might hear
And, as we do so, find comfort and strength renewed.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
In this season of Advent,
Speak to us as we read the signs of the times.
Speak, that we might understand the times,
And know, even now, your presence restored in our midst.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
In this season of Advent,
Speak to us in the wilderness.
Speak, even in the hard places,
And teach us to mark out the places where you have met with us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
In this season of Advent,
Speak to us that we might learn of the rough ground made level.
Speak of the rugged places made plain
And of the time when we shall hear it proclaimed again that the Lord is coming!
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
In this season of Advent,
Speak to the lonely and to the bereaved.
Speak to the anxious and to the fearful
And carry us as the shepherd carries the lamb, even Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Amen


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