Sunday Prayers at 7pm in the Week of Prayer

Join us in a short time of music, prayer and bible readings this Sunday evening, 23rd January 2022 in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Brothers and sisters, we are united today with fellow believers throughout the world as we gather to pray for the visible unity of the Church. We do this with worship resources prepared by the Middle East Council of Churches. Our theme is inspired by the visit of the Magi to the new-born King, as described in the Gospel according to Saint Matthew: “We observed his star in the East, and have come to pay him homage.” Let us fix our eyes on the star that was seen in the East and allow it to lead us too.

Let us come into God’s presence in solidarity with all who are sick, suffering, marginalized, displaced and oppressed, knowing that our darkness can be dispelled by God’s light. As we pray today for the unity of the Church, may we all journey together to meet Jesus the Saviour, the light of the world.

Glory be to you Father Almighty, for you have revealed yourself through your creation and invite all people to gather in your presence. We have seen the star of Jesus in our lives and have come to worship him just as the Magi did. We offer him ourselves today and we ask for the presence of the Holy Spirit among us.

Let us pray

We glorify you, O Lord, creator of heaven and earth, for you have set the lights in the vault of the sky. You separated light from darkness and arranged signs to mark sacred times, and days and years. You studded the firmament with stars. How majestic are your works, the heavens declare your glory and the skies proclaim the work of your hands!

We glorify you, O Lord.

We praise you for you did not abandon us despite our rebellion but sent your Son to brighten our darkness and be our light and our salvation. In him was life, and that life was the light of all humanity. And the light shines in the darkness.

We praise you, O Lord.

We worship you, O Lord, for you accompany us in the chaos of our life through the power of your Holy Spirit. You light up our paths and give us wisdom and faith in a world of untruth and doubt.

We worship you, O Lord

We thank you, O Lord, for you send us into the world to witness to this light, in our various churches and diverse cultures, and to proclaim the Good News to Jesus, the one true King, offering ourselves to him.

We thank you, O Lord.

May all the peoples bow before you and worship you. We have often preferred darkness, but you have given us light. Therefore, we come to you confessing our sins and saying:

We confess that we have turned from your ways.

We have harmed your good creation through our greed.

We have polluted and poisoned the air, earth and waters, destroying habitats and species.

Lord have mercy

Christ have mercy

We have acted selfishly towards our brothers and sisters. We have put our own needs and desires above our commitment to justice. We have built walls between us and planted seeds of mistrust.

Lord have mercy

Christ have mercy

We have divided people based on ethnicity and culture, discriminating instead of celebrating difference. We have waged war, claiming Jesus for our side.

Lord have mercy

Christ have mercy

Forgive all these thoughts and deeds, O Lord, as we come before you in repentance.

Lord have mercy

Christ have mercy

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom you have sent in the fullness of time to redeem all people, we ask you to have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and transform us into his glorious image so we can shine as a beacon of hope in our troubled world.

Lord have mercy

Christ have mercy

Almighty God hears our prayers, has mercy on us and forgives our sins.

Thanks be to God, whom we praise with all our voices. Amen.

PSALM 8

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
    in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?[c]

You have made them[d] a little lower than the angels[e]
    and crowned them[f] with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their[g] feet:
all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Nicene Creed

(according to the tradition of the Eastern Churches)

We believe in one God,

the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one Being with the Father;

through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven,

was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary

and became truly human.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father,

who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,

who has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Sharing Christ’s Light

Light a candle representing Christ’s Light, the star that guided the Magi.

A star led the Magi to Christ. Today this star points to the presence of Christ, who has been revealed to us and whose light shines on us. As the Magi followed the star to Bethlehem, we gather under this star today, adding our own stars to the sky, uniting our own gifts and prayers for the visible unity of the Church. As we journey towards that goal, may our lives together give a luminous witness that leads others to know Christ.

Sunday evening prayer at 7pm

Join with us in a reading and some prayers as we come together at the end of the Lords day.

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OUR BIBLE READING

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
   your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
   your judgements are like the great deep;
   you save humans and animals alike, O Lord.


How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
   All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
   and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
   in your light we see light.


O continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
   and your salvation to the upright of heart!

The first four verses of the psalm focus on the character of sinful man. It may be David’s expression of the consciousness of his own sin. When we come to know God more intimately and view ourselves purely in God’s light, we come to see more clearly our sinfulness and arrive at the same conclusion as Isaiah when he saw the vision of God and cried out in response, “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:4). We will no longer compare ourselves with others but with the unattainable standard of God.

Let us pray

We thank You, our heavenly Fatherbecause, by Your divine power,You have given us everything we need for living a godly life.We have received all of these by coming to know You,our Lord Jesus,the one who called us to Himself,inviting us to become part of His family.We thank You for the great and precious promises You have given uswhich enable us to share in Your divine nature,and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.You promised to continue to abide with usand to empower us through Your Spirit.Thank You for the fellowship of believers,for brothers and sisters who are extensions of Your love to us.We thank You for the various gifts and abilities You giveto enable us to fulfil our mandate in the world.Receive our thanks our heavenly Father.We offer them with hearts full of praisein the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord, we pray for the Church,Your body and ambassadors,to which You have committed the ministry of reconciling people to You.Grant us grace to live as light and salt in Your worldthat we may be effective witnesses for You inOur Jerusalem: our family and close friends,in our Judea: our neighbourhood and our city,in our nation and the world at large.Help us to commit ourselves to pray earnestlythat Your kingdom may come in our community, nation and the world.We pray that Your church will stand firmly in Your word.We pray for our ministers and spiritual leadersFor wisdom and grace to proclaim Your truth without fear.We pray for our political leaders in our city, in Scotland and in the United Kingdom,that they may be endowed with wisdom and a longing to serve You faithfully.We pray for Your protection upon our leaders.The winter period is particularly challenging for the poor in our nation.Thank You for our social support system that is in operation,for the NHS and our care system.May we continue to be an extension of Your love to those who are in dire need.Comfort those who have lost their loved ones.Grant healing to the sick.May we all have the assurance of Your ever abiding presence.We thank You because You will abundantly exceed all that we ask or think.Be glorified in Your church and in our life.Amen

Sunday evening prayers at 7pm

We gather as the people of God in a short time of stillness, contemplation, praise and prayer. We look to the Prophets in this season after Christmas

Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com

Isaiah 43:1-7

Restoration and Protection Promised

But now thus says the Lord,
   he who created you, O Jacob,
   he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
   I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
   and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
   and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
   the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
   Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my sight,
   and honoured, and I love you,
I give people in return for you,
   nations in exchange for your life.
Do not fear, for I am with you;
   I will bring your offspring from the east,
   and from the west I will gather you;
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up’,
   and to the south, ‘Do not withhold;
bring my sons from far away
   and my daughters from the end of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
   whom I created for my glory,
   whom I formed and made.’

On reading this passage from Isaiah we are immediately drawn to the hymn “Do not be afraid” (CH4 191). In many ways these words of scripture create a sense of calm in this soothing passage, given that in the lectionary calendar it comes to us at the beginning of January, after the rush and excitement of Advent, Christmas and after the bringing in of the New Year and all that accompanies it. The words of Isaiah bring for us – all of us, regardless of our background, ethnicity, age and stage in life, ability or disability – assurance and comfort. At the start of this New Year, we are assured that we do not face things alone, we go in the strength and presence of God. So, we can allow ourselves to take a deep breath, exhale and utter, ‘With God, I can do this.’

Intercessory prayers

We pray for all who are bearing heavy burdens:
those facing difficulties and problems to which they can see no solutions,
wrestling with inner fears and racked by anxiety for themselves or loved ones;
troubled about money, health, work or relationships;
all who crave rest for their souls but cannot find it.

We pray for the influence of Your Holy Spirit in the troubled places of the world.
Fill us with Your passion for justice that we may strive to build bridges of reconciliation.

Pause

We pray for all who are happy and for whom things are going well,
that they may know the source of their blessing.

Pause

We pray for all who are distressed.
Comfort the sad, be present with the sick and make Your will known to them.
Strengthen those who are depressed by failure.

Pause

Our dear God,
we ask that You will help us to spread Your love to our friends and neighbours.
Let us think of one or two particular friends
and ask that God will help us tell them the good news.

Pause

Let us think of the people sitting on either side of us
and ask that God will be especially close to them.

Pause

We also remember those people who are not with us today,
perhaps through illness or because they are on holiday.

Pause

Lord, thank You that You listen to our prayers – spoken and unspoken –
in Jesus name. Amen

New Year Prayers

On the first day of 2022, 15 Scottish Christian churches and organisations across the country, including the Church of Scotland, have co-signed a letter calling for prayer in response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Robin in the snow

Scottish Christians are invited to join in prayer today, reflecting on the suffering of 2021 and turning towards the new year with the knowledge that the light of the Word is not overcome by the darkness.

The letter accompanying the prayer states:

“‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.’ (John 1: 5)

“As we reach the end of a year and turn towards the year that is to come, the dark shadow of Covid-19 still lies over us and the community of which we are a part.

“There is no part of our society that has not been impacted and no part of our community that has not suffered.

“We have endured much and struggled with the abiding uncertainty that still clouds our vision of the year ahead.

“Nevertheless, no matter how abiding the uncertainty and the darkness of the shadow, the Gospel affirms that: ‘the darkness did not overcome it’.

“The darkness has not overcome the ‘light that shines in the darkness’.

“The Gospel affirmation is especially resonant at this time for it affirms that at no point is the light of the Word come from God consumed by darkness.

“We know and affirm by faith that the ‘Word became flesh and lived among us’. (John 1: 14)

“In the year that is to come, the light of God abides and no darkness will consume it.

“We ask the One who is the light of the world to give us light that we may walk safely, even where darkness abides: ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.'”

We pray:

Light of the World,
May You arise and shine even in the face of darkness:

We come as those who have dwelt in the shadows
And shared in the suffering and uncertainty of these times.
Abide with us and shed Your light amongst us
That we might know Your abiding presence.
Lord, in Your mercy
Hear our prayer.

Light of the World,
May You arise and shine even in the face of darkness;
We come as those who have sought Your light
In the year that is now past.
We give thanks that You have led us safe thus far
And that You shall lead us home.
Lord, in Your mercy
Hear our prayer.

Light of the World,
May You arise and shine even in the face of darkness:
We come as those who journey on towards the horizon
Where light shall surely break and the darkness be vanquished.
We pray for the bereaved and for the bereft
And ask that You would draw near to them in Your compassion.
Lord, in Your mercy
Hear our prayer.

Light of the World,
May You arise and shine even in the face of darkness:
We come as those who now step forth
Into the year that is to come.
We ask of You light for the days that lie ahead
And, once more, the knowledge of Your abiding presence.
Lord, in Your mercy
Hear our prayer.