Sunday Evening Prayers at 7pm in response to the pandemic

This Sunday (21 March), ahead of the anniversary of the first lockdown on Tuesday 23 March, Christians across the country – and further afield – will once again join together in prayer and reflection at 7pm in response to the pandemic.

Hands praying on a table outside on a sunny day

As with previous weeks during lockdown, 15 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:

“On the anniversary of the first lockdown on 23 March, we will undoubtedly reflect on all that has happened in the past year and acknowledge the profound impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had upon us personally and communally.

“There is not one of us who has not felt the impact of these times in one way or another. Above all else, we shall acknowledge the loss of life and recognise that behind each number recorded there lies a person whose life is known to God and who is mourned by those who have loved them.

“In their passing, we are the poorer. In the remembrance of a life given by God, we are the richer.

“The Letter to the Hebrews records that: ‘In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears’ (Hebrews 5: 7). Jesus is called to take the place of the one who offers prayers on behalf of us all, and does so with ‘cries and tears’ because He Himself has ‘suffered’ (Hebrews 5: 5-10). He shares in the suffering of the world and brings the suffering of the world before God.

“In all our reflections at this time, we remember the One who prayed for us in ‘the days of his flesh’ and who, even now, lives to pray for us once more.”

We pray:

Living God, in whose image we are made,
Hear us we ask, through Your Son who prays for us.
Hear us, as we recall all we have endured as community and nation
In the year that has passed.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God, who knows us in all our suffering,
Hear us we ask, through Your Son who prays for us.
Hear us, as we reflect across the nation
And remember those who have suffered the deepest loss.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God, whose name is Love,
Hear us we ask, through Your Son who prays for us.
Hear us, as we reach out our hand to those who suffer still
And stand with them in the face of all that is to come.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God, who gives good gifts to all Creation,
Hear us we ask, through Your Son who prays for us.
Hear us, as we give thanks for those who, in hospital and in care home,
Have cared for the dying and the sick.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God, who inspires hope,
Hear us we ask, through Your Son who prays for us.
Hear us, as we acknowledge and give thanks for all who have created the vaccines
That give hope to the peoples of all nations.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God, who gives light to the world, even in the face of darkness,
Hear us we ask, through Your Son who prays for us.
Hear us, as we bow in the presence of the One who,
In the days of His flesh, shed tears for us.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

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