Scottish Christians join in prayer on third Sunday of Advent

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."

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

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)