Scottish Christians join in prayer as pandemic continues

This Sunday (22 November), as new level restrictions have been introduced across Scotland, Christians across the country – and further afield – will join together in prayer at 7pm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Woman's hands holding a Bible

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."

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

"The imagery of the shepherd is woven into our understanding of the way in which the living God cares for us: ‘I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flocks when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep.' (Ezekiel 34: 11-12)

"These words speak to us and resonate in the depths of our soul. They do so because they speak to our longing to know that, in all we face, God watches over us and searches for us when we are lost. The words speak to us, especially in difficult times, and resonate profoundly in days of darkness.

"The times in which we live are difficult indeed and dark for many. At such a time as this, we still ourselves and listen for the voice of the One who calls us by our name. The Shepherd calls us by our name, even in the darkest of times, and comes to journey with us. The Shepherd journeys until, in God's good time, the darkness yields to the promise of the One who comes to reign as King forever."

We pray:

Good Shepherd,
Speak to us at this time
And hear us when we call to you.
Answer our call
And come to journey with us.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Good Shepherd,
Search for us when we are lost
And gather us safely into your presence.
Speak to the depths of our fears
And still our anxious hearts.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Good Shepherd,
Stand with us in the midst of these times
And do not forsake us.
Search for the lonely and the anxious
And embrace them in your love.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Good Shepherd,
Strengthen us when we stumble
And renew us when we are weak.
Stand with all who are made in your image
And who reflect your goodness.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Good Shepherd,
Support us when we suffer
And bring healing when we are wounded.
Strengthen us that we might strengthen others
And be with them in all we face together.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Good Shepherd,
Speak once more to our hearts
And offer us vision and hope for days to come.
Go before us Shepherd King
And lead us into the future that you hold in your hands.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Signed by:

  • Rt. Rev. Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
  • Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
  • Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Rev. John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Lindsey Sanderson, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. May-Kane Logan, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Claire Fender, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
  • Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
  • Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)