A prayer in challenging times - Martin Johnstone

Over the coming weeks, as the UK faces huge changes in our relationships with the EU and as Rt Rev Susan Brown, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, invites congregations across Scotland to do all we can to demonstrate care and hospitality, we will be providing a prayer each week that we hope might be useful in personal devotions and public worship. Please feel free to change and adapt these prayers to suit your own context.

This week’s prayer reflects some of the themes from Luke’s account of the temptation of Jesus, a passage that will be read in many churches across Europe and beyond on this first Sunday in Lent. It is written by Martin Johnstone, Secretary of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council.

Martin Johnstone, a UK flag and an EU flag
This week’s prayer reflects some of the themes from Luke’s account of the temptation of Jesus, a passage that will be read in many churches across Europe and beyond on this first Sunday in Lent

“Jesus … was led by the Spirit in the wilderness where, for 40 days, he was tempted by the devil.” (Luke 4:1-2)

God,
present in the wilderness,
in these challenging and uncertain times,
we pray with those who feel cut off and excluded:
those who fear that the place they belong
is less like home;
those who worry that the little they have
needs to stretch even further;
we pray for
those whose concerns are present and tangible;
and those whose worries are imagined but just as acute.

God,
who overcomes,
who resists temptation,
we pray for those we are tempted to blame.

We pray for
the leaders of our nations:
that we may give thanks for them
and together seek the common good.

Silence

We pray for
our neighbours throughout Europe,
that we may give thanks for them
and together seek the common good.

Silence

We pray for
those who see things differently,
that we may give thanks for them
and together seek the common good.

Silence

God,
who in the wilderness resists temptation,
give us a fresh vision for the days that lie ahead:
of a people who know that You are the bread of life;
of a world where power is demonstrated in service;
of simple lives lived trusting in You.

May we
be open to Your Spirit;
be open to one another;
and in our opening of doors;
and sharing of our lives;
live out Your love;
demonstrating Your ways.

May we together be
a sign of Your upside down,
everlasting kingdom,
right here
and right now.

In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen.