Evening prayer

This Sunday (18 April), as restrictions ease across Scotland, Christians across the country – and further afield – will join together in prayer and reflection at 7pm in response to the pandemic.

A Cross on a hill

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:

“During these past months, we have been disturbed and disturbed profoundly. All that we had taken for granted, up until even a year ago, seems to be placed into question. Things are not as they were and we do not yet know how they will be.

“The disciples of Jesus had been disturbed and disturbed profoundly by all that had happened in the events leading up to His crucifixion. The reports that had come to them since that time had, in a sense, disturbed them even more.

“All that they had taken for granted seemed to be placed into question and they remained afraid. It is to those disciples that Jesus comes and speaks these words: ‘Peace be with you.’ The Risen Lord stands among them and His word is: ‘Peace be with you.’

“So disturbed have they been that they react with fear and doubt. In response, Jesus invites them to reach out as His presence is renewed and revealed. (Luke 24: 36-48)

“In the providence of God, we give thanks for the progress that we have made as a society in addressing the challenges of our times. In the providence of God, we give thanks for the presence of the Risen Lord whose word to us today is: ‘Peace be with you.’”

We pray:

Living God,
Your word to us through the Risen Lord is:
Peace be with you.
Amidst the disturbance of the times,
May we hear your word and embrace the peace you offer.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Your word to us through the Risen Lord is:
Peace be with you.
When the foundations are shaken and the certainties no longer sure,
May you speak to us in the still small voice of calm.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Your word to us through the Risen Lord is:
Peace be with you.
When we are fearful and troubled,
May you speak to the depths of our fears and still our troubled hearts.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Your word to us through the Risen Lord is:
Peace be with you.
As we hear his voice,
May we reach out to the One whose presence is renewed and revealed before us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Your word to us through the Risen Lord is:
Peace be with you.
As we experience the renewal of life within our family and community,
May we bear witness to your abiding presence among us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

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