Prayers for all, Sunday at 7pm

The death of the Duke of Edinburgh marks the end of an era in the life of our nation. Prince Philip’s naval service to our country in time of war, and his enormous service to the nation afterwards, and his support of many organisations and charities in industry, education, conservation and sport have been an example to many.

Prince Philip visiting St Columba's Church of Scotland in London in 2015. Image by Matthew Bruce
Prince Philip visiting St Columba’s Church of Scotland in London in 2015. © Matthew Bruce.

“Throughout his long life, Prince Philip has shown how privilege ought to be marked by service. In his dedicated and distinctive way, he has shown our nation what this looks like, and what kind of difference it can make.

“The inception of the Duke of Edinburgh Award to recognise significant leadership and community service in the lives of young people has inspired generations to look to ways to make a difference in communities and the wider world. The award has transformed the lives of many young people, giving a sense of confidence and self-worth through achievement and hard work.

“The Duke’s constant support for Her Majesty the Queen as her consort throughout their marriage has been unswerving. He was, in the Queen’s own words, “her constant strength and guide”.

“The Church of Scotland shares in the nation’s sense of loss at this time, and gives thanks for the Duke’s life. We offer our prayers and sincere condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and the members of the Royal Family.”

Prayer following the death of HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh

Almighty and everlasting God, ‘the life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.’

But You are forever, from everlasting to everlasting, and we put our trust in You for You have promised never to leave us nor forsake us.

Loving Lord, in this last year, through the worst of a global pandemic, we’ve been face to face with our fragility and vulnerability, perhaps for some of us as never before.

Against that backdrop of hurt and loss, we give you thanks for the life and service of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. Some are called to the front of the stage, others to supporting roles and we rejoice in the way he supported Her Majesty the Queen through all of the years of her reign.

We remember, too, his work supporting charities and, perhaps most memorably for young people for over sixty years, his patronage of The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

In this hour of loss, we offer our heartfelt prayers for Her Majesty and her family. Comfort them in their loss, bind up their wounds and grant them the consolation of a store of treasured memories. Grant Her Majesty the peace that comes from knowing you and which passes all understanding.

These and all our prayers we ask in the name of Jesus, who through his life, death and resurrection offers us hope instead of despair, life instead of death.

Amen.

Prayers for Covid-19

More than 10,000 deaths in Scotland have been linked to COVID-19.

We pray for the families and friends who are hurting over the loss of people who were loved.

Lord God, we give thanks for all who work to bring healing in homes, hospitals, communities and all who deliver the vaccine.

We give thanks for all who offer compassion and healing to the broken hearted today.

Lord God, surround all who are grieving in your love and strength.

May they know your peace when their spirit feels crushed.

May they know your hope in all their days to come.

In Jesus mighty name we pray.

Amen

Rev Andrea Boyes, Durness and Kinlochbervie Parish Church.

The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18

Kirk joins in prayer this Easter Sunday

On Easter Sunday (4 April), the day of Jesus’ Resurrection, Christians across the country – and further afield – will join together in prayer and reflection at 7pm in response to the pandemic.

Easter Sunday empty tomb

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:

“The day of Resurrection begins ‘while it was still dark’ and takes us to the place where the Lord has been buried and sealed away.

“The journey through the week past began with ‘Hosanna!’ and ended in ‘Crucify!’ In the darkness of that morning, it is Mary Magdalene who first senses that the journey, seemingly ended on the Cross, has yet further to unfold. Mary remains at the tomb, consumed by sorrow and tears, until she finds herself in the company of a person whom she does not recognise. Into the depth of her sorrow, a voice speaks and calls her by her name: ‘Mary!’ It is as if the voice speaks into the very depths of her heart and her eyes are opened. In that moment there is the recognition that she stands in the presence of the risen Lord and in time Mary will bear witness: ‘I have seen the Lord’. (John 20: 1-18)

“On this day of resurrection, the risen Lord speaks to all who have journeyed in dark places and who have known sorrow and tears. He speaks into the depths of our heart and calls us by our name.

“In response, we join with the people of God and proclaim: ‘Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!’”

We pray:

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
In Your great mercy
You give us new birth into a living hope
Through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
On this day, receive our praise and our thanks forever!
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
In Your great mercy
You have journeyed with us through the darkness
And You bring us now to the day of light.
Lead us through the darkness and into the abiding light of Your presence.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
In Your great mercy
You journey with those who have known sorrow and tears.
In Your compassion, journey with them still
And bring to them healing and the hope of the life everlasting.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
In Your great mercy
You speak into the depths of our hearts
And You call us by our name.
Call us by our name that we might proclaim: Christ is risen. Alleluia!
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
In Your great mercy
You give us new birth into a living hope
Through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
On this day, receive our praise and our thanks forever!
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Kirk joins in prayer this evening on Palm Sunday

Today on Palm Sunday, as Holy Week begins, Christians across the country – and further afield – will once again join together in prayer and reflection at 7pm in response to the pandemic.

A Cross and a palm leaf

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:

“As we stand at the threshold of the final journey of Jesus into Jerusalem and on towards the Cross, we find ourselves in the company of those who have gone before us on that journey.

“The ‘great crowd’ who enter into Jerusalem are those who gather for the annual marking of the Feast of the Passover. They come to remember and to give thanks for the enduring love of God.

“One of the Psalms used in the Feast opens with the call: ‘O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His steadfast love endures forever!’ In turn, the Psalmist cries: ‘Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.’ (Psalm 118: 1, 19)

“In the Gospel of John, we see Jesus entering Jerusalem and welcomed, as one ‘who comes in the name of the Lord!’, with shouts of ‘Hosanna!’ and ‘palm branches’. (John 12: 12-16) The cry ‘Hosanna!’ shall soon be replaced by ‘crucify!’ and the ‘palm branches’ by a Cross, but in faith we believe that ‘the enduring love of God’ shall remain unvanquished.

“On this Palm Sunday, we stand on the threshold of a time of renewal within our community and in the life of the Church and we join the company of all God’s people to give thanks for the love that endures and conquers even death.”

We pray:

God whose love endures,
Hear us as we welcome the One who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hear us, as we remember
All that You have done in times past
And give thanks that Your enduring love has embraced even us.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love endures,
Hear us as we welcome the One who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hear us, as we gather in the company of Your people,
Or in company alone with You,
And lift up our voices to cry: Hosanna!
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love endures,
Hear us as we welcome the One who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hear us, as we journey
Through the week that is to come.
May we journey in the presence of the One who goes before us, even to the Cross.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love endures,
Hear us as we welcome the One who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hear us, as we listen to the voices
Who now cry: Crucify!
And may we know it was for us He hung and suffered there.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love endures,
Hear us as we welcome the One who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hear us, as we wait
For the dawn to break
And for Your enduring love to vanquish the darkness.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

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.