Christians encouraged to join together in prayer this Sunday

This Sunday (19 September), Christians across the country – and further afield – will join together in prayer and reflection at 7pm in response to the pandemic.

A cross by the sea

Scottish Christians have been continuing to answer the call to pray at the same time each week, and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Lord Wallace, is taking part alongside them.

"We should always be mindful for the wisdom handed down to us from past generations; much of it learned the hard way, from mistakes made and consequences suffered," Lord Wallace said.

"So, too, we are grateful for the richness that comes to us from living alongside people of other traditions. In our day and generation we must surely allow our minds and hearts to be open so that we can risk getting to know them and learning from them.

"In this pandemic, our responsibility is to come together and offer our prayers for all the many diverse expressions of our Christian faith that enrich life, as we have done for many months now.

"Let us not forget that behind each death there will be grieving family and friends; behind each hospitalisation there will be a suffering patient, an anxious family and a caring and skilled medical team.

"And behind each vaccination, let us recognise, with thanks, the skill of the scientists' research and those who make distribution and vaccination possible. Let us remember, too, those in countries who still wait anxiously for vaccines to arrive. May our leaders respond imaginatively and generously to that challenge.

"A pattern has been set for us, lived out in Jesus Christ, made possible by the Spirit. May we follow in His way, and be guided by the one over-riding rule of love in all that we say and do."

This week's letter accompanying the prayer, which you can find here in Gaelic, states:

'May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.' (Psalm 19: 14)

The Psalmist turns to God, as we ourselves do, in search of the One who will accept us as we are and who will be our strength in hard times. The times in which we live will feel to many of us like hard times. In these times, the Psalm speaks to us and for us.

We are conscious that the words we offer are but frail and we sometimes fear that they will not carry to God. Likewise, we fear that our hearts are faint. In these times, the Psalmist stands where we stand and calls upon the Lord as the One who is our rock and strength, and as the One who will bring us into the living presence of God. The words are offered from open lips and an open heart and rise into the presence of God. The words are offered trusting that they will be pleasing before God. In similar fashion, we offer our words from open lips and open hearts and we trust, that in these times, they will be heard by the One who is our Rock and Redeemer.

We pray:

O Lord,
You are our Rock and our Redeemer,
Hear us as we call to you
With open lips and open hearts.
Hear us and accept us we are.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

O Lord,
You are our Rock and our Redeemer,
Hear us as we call to you
In the times in which we live.
Hear us in hard times and answer us in your time.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

O Lord,
You are our Rock and our Redeemer,
Hear us as we call to you
With the words that you have given to us.
Hear us with words hewn from the experience of life.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

O Lord,
You are our Rock and our Redeemer,
Hear us as we call to you
Though our words are often frail and our hearts sometimes faint.
Hear our words and accept the offering of our hearts.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

O Lord,
You are our Rock and our Redeemer,
Hear us as we call to you
And may the words we offer and the meditation of our hearts
Be acceptable in your sight.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Lord Wallace, 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. Dr David Miller, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Neil MacMillan, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Thomas R. Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Ruth Turner, 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)