Scottish Christians join together 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."

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

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. 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. 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)