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Join us in prayer this Sunday

This Sunday (17 January), as restrictions tighten across Scotland, Christians around the country – and further afield – will join together in prayer at 7pm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Praying hands

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/JN0NJC3CP50

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:

“‘O Lord, you have searched me and known me.’ The words of the Psalm speak. The words speak into the uttermost depths of who we are and the word of the Lord searches to the furthermost limits of our being. (Psalm 139: 1-6, 13-18) The word of the Lord speaks to us in every season and searches us at all times. Nevertheless, there are times in which we are especially conscious of the immediacy and relevance of the word spoken and we might judge that this is such a time.

“We may say at this particular time that we are truly being stretched to the uttermost as human beings and to the furthermost limits of our endurance as a society. These are hard times. At the very moment in which hope has been offered to our society in the form of a vaccine, the risk faced by our society has increased considerably. In the light of this, the challenges we face are difficult beyond measure. Notwithstanding all of this, the word of the Lord endures and still speaks into the uttermost depth and to the furthermost limit.

“We are not hidden from God and all we face is known by the Lord whose word endures. Humbly recognising this to be so, we pray.”

We pray:

Lord, you search us and you know us
And we bow in your holy presence.
You know us this day in all we face
And you are with us through the hours of the night.
Guard us and keep us till the day is done
And the darkness is no more.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, you search us and you know us
And we bow in your holy presence.
You have made us in your image
And woven us together in the womb.
Guide us to the place where life is renewed
And our shared life restored.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, you search us and you know us
And we bow in your holy presence.
You know the challenges of this time
And of all the days that lie before us.
Give hope to all who despair
And comfort to those who grieve.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, you search us and you know us
And we bow in your holy presence.
You know all who by their work serve the common good
And who by their gifts renew hope in dark times.
Keep safe the most vulnerable
And walk with those who are fearful this day.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, you search us and you know us
And we bow in your holy presence.
You are the beginning of all things,
And you are the end of all things, in Jesus Christ.
Guard us and keep us till the day is done
And the darkness is no more.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Join us in prayer this Sunday at 7 pm

This Sunday (10 January), as restrictions continue across Scotland, Christians across the country will join together in prayer at 7pm in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cross by the sea

As with previous weeks during lockdown and the phased easing of restrictions, 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.

“I’m delighted to have read that in the last couple of months online searches for ‘prayer’ have increased dramatically,” Dr Fair said.

“But reading about what prayer is and how to do it is only the start of it. After that it’s time to actually pray.

“And what better than to join with brothers and sisters from across the nation at 7pm on Sunday to pray our way through this ongoing crisis. I commend it to you and look forward to being with you, in Spirit, on Sunday evening.”https://www.youtube.com/embed/lCq5RrodtGY

This week’s letter accompanying the prayer states:

“As we journey into the year to come, we find ourselves once more in a desert place and in that place there are many who are deeply uncertain as to what the year will bring.

“At this time, there are many who feel locked out of the pattern that has previously shaped their lives and the absence of that pattern can be profoundly unsettling.

“Yet even in the most uncertain of times, there are moments of discovery, and rediscovery, where we are shaped by a new pattern.

“As this takes place, we are renewed and affirmed as those who are made in the image of God.

“The Gospel of Mark opens by taking us to a desert place and in that desert place there takes place a renewal signified in baptism which marks the beginning of new life.

“Indeed, Jesus Christ himself comes to the waters of the River Jordan to be baptised.

“As he does so, he hears the words of affirmation: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’ (Mark 1: 4-11) In our own desert place, may we find renewal, affirmation and the living presence of God.”

We pray:

Living God,
Be with us in the desert place
And renew us as those who are made in your image.
Hear us as we call to you
And answer our cry.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Be with us in the desert place
And meet us in the place of suffering.
Hear us as we call to you
And bring healing to the broken.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Be with us in the desert place
And come beside those who are sorrowing.
Hear us as we call to you
And have compassion upon us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Be with us in the desert place
And lead us to the places of discovery and rediscovery.
Hear us as we call to you
And reshape the pattern of our lives.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Be with us in the desert place
And may we know that Christ is with us.
Hear us as we call to you
And lead us to the place where we hear your word of affirmation.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Happy New Year

Latest News

Scottish Church leaders release Christmas message

The Scottish Church Leaders Forum has released a Christmas video.

Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly, is one of 10 figures who have each recited a line of a heartfelt message.

Jesus Christ
A child is born.

They decided to come together in recognition that many individuals and familes are grappling with difficulties and uncertainties due to the impact of COVID-19.

It is hoped that sharing the Good News about the birth of Jesus Christ will bring some comfort, hope and peace to those who are struggling.

The Scottish Church Leaders Forum was formed in March in response to the pandemic to speak on issues of mutual concern with one voice.

They are responsible for the ecumenical prayers published for use every Sunday at 7pm.

The text as narrated in the video has been translated into Gaelic.

Scottish Christians join in prayer

This Sunday (20 December) marks the fourth Sunday of Advent. As Christmas Day draws ever closer to us, Christians across the country – and further afield – will once more join together in prayer at 7pm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fourth Sunday of Advent

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/siFjpecgvZY

This week’s letter accompanying the prayer, which is also available in Gaelic, states:

“The words of the angel to Mary bring this assurance: ‘The Lord is with you’ (Luke 1: 28). The words are clear and unequivocal: ‘The Lord is with you.’

“Nevertheless, Mary is ‘perplexed’ and clearly fearful as she tries to comprehend the words spoken to her. The message of the angel that she is to become the bearer of the Christ-child leads her to ask: ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ In response, the angel speaks of the promise of the Spirit and Mary affirms and embraces the promise: ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word’ (Luke 1: 26-38). It is as if Mary hears and embraces the first words spoken to her: ‘The Lord is with you.’

“As we come near to the point where the promise of the Advent season is fulfilled in the birth of the Christ-child, we are conscious of the renewed challenges we face within the communities of which we are a part. In the face of this, each one of us longs to know the assurance of the promise: ‘The Lord is with you.’

“In the perplexities and challenges of the times, and to each one of us, the words of assurance are spoken. The Lord is with us and we are invited to embrace the promise of the Christ-child who is to come.”

We pray:

Lord, draw near to us
And to all who long to hear your Word.
We give thanks that the promise of the Advent season
Will soon be fulfilled in the birth of the Christ-child.
May we embrace the promise and share in the hope it brings.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, draw near to us
And to all who long to hear your Word.
We pray for the lonely and the perplexed;
For the anxious and the fearful.
Be near to them as you are to us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, draw near to us
And to all who long to hear your Word.
We pray for the families and communities of which we are a part
And for our Nation.
Sustain us in these times and renew us in times to come.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, draw near to us
And to all who long to hear your Word.
We give thanks that, in all things, you are with us
And we embrace once more the promise of the Christ-child.
May the light of Christ shine in the darkness and bring hope to the world.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Fourth Sunday in Advent

Christmas

Third Sunday in Advent

Scottish Christians join in prayer

This Sunday (13 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.

Third Sunday of Advent candles

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/B7cZ3dvFjNE

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:

“At this time, we find ourselves deeply conscious of the challenges that we still face and yet also of the hope that lies on the horizon. It is as if we have journeyed through a time of darkness and deep uncertainty with no seeming end in sight. Then, even as darkness seemed set to engulf us once more, a light has dawned and has brought hope to the world and to the community of all peoples.

“In the past we have prayed:

Lord, we pray for scientists and researchers;
For those seeking to understand the challenge we face;
For those creating potential vaccines;
For those advising decision-makers.
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

“Notwithstanding the challenges we still face, we give thanks to God for those who have created the vaccines that have the potential to restore life to the communities of which we are all a part.

“As we continue on in our Advent journey, we hear of a witness who has come ‘to testify to the light’. The light is not yet with us but the messenger comes to bear witness to the ‘true light’ of God that will soon break into our world (John 1: 6-9). Even now, the light breaks on the horizon for the light of God is coming into our world once more.”

We pray:

Lord, we are your people who have journeyed in darkness
And who long to see your light once more.
We are those who have journeyed through hard times
And who long to see life and community renewed.
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, we give thanks for scientists and researchers
And for those who have created the vaccines that give hope to the world.
We pray for the just sharing of these precious gifts
And for the renewal of life in every nation.
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, we are those who journey on
Towards the horizon where light shall surely break.
We journey in times where we are distanced
And trust that in time the distance shall be overcome.
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for those who care for the living
And for the dying.
We pray for the bereaved and for the bereft
And ask that you would draw near to them in your compassion.
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, we are those who have heard
Of the true light that is coming into the world.
We ask that we might become your messengers
And bear witness to Jesus Christ, the light of God that is to come.
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Amen