National prayer

Sunday marks four consecutive weeks of joint calls by Scottish churches to pray at the same time in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Thousands of people across Scotland have been answering the call to join in prayer during this time of sacrifice, difficulty and bereavement.

Rt Rev Colin Sinclair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said:

“Prayer has become increasingly a valued time for Christians as they pause to pray, conscious that many others will be sharing the same prayer at the same time.

“It helps create a sense of community when we are isolated through lockdown.”

Churches Together in England will also be praying each Sunday at 7pm and will be using the hashtag #prayersofhope to share the message on social media.

The churches have issued a letter with this week’s prayer that reads:

“As we find ourselves living through a renewed phase of lockdown, we see in the Gospel of John (20: 19-23) that, in part, the experience of the disciples, even on the day of Resurrection, was one in which they found themselves locked in and behind closed doors.

“Their experience of lockdown was interrupted by the presence of Jesus as he came and stood among them.

“He speaks into the depths of their fears and anxieties: ‘Peace be with you.’

“We hear these words and know that they speak to us.

“We listen again for what he will say and discover that Jesus simply repeats himself: ‘Peace be with you.’

“As we still ourselves, we hear those words of peace spoken and sense that they are spoken to us and to all who long to hear a word that heals and reassures: ‘Peace be with you’.”

Let us pray:

Living God, speak into the depths of our experience,

Speak the word that stills our fears

And calms our anxieties:

‘Peace be with you.’

Speak your word to the lonely and to the broken,

To the bereaved and to those whose world has crumbled:

‘Peace be with you.’

Faithful God, speak to us behind locked doors

As we remember others, who risk their own safety,

In order to serve others:

Peace be with them.

Carers and nurses, doctors and ambulance drivers,

Delivery drivers and shop assistants:

Peace be with them.

God who inspires Hope, speak to us in the present

And speak to us of the future,

For though the doors are locked, in time they shall be open:

Peace shall be renewed.

For those who lead the life of our Nation: Our Queen Elizabeth,

First Minister and Prime Minister, and all who shape our common life,

For us all: Peace shall be renewed.

God whose name is love and whose gift is love,

Open our hearts to know you and to love you,

To love you and to love our neighbour

And as we do, to hear again: ‘Peace be with you.’

May we find our strength in you,

And hear again:

‘Peace be with you.’

The statement and prayer is signed by:

Rt. Rev. Colin Sinclair, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of ScotlandMost Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic ChurchMost Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal ChurchRev. John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of ScotlandRev. Dr David Pickering, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of ScotlandRev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)Rev. May-Kane Logan, Chair, Congregational Federation in ScotlandLt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation ArmyAdwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)Rev. Jim Ritchie, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the NazarenePastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of GodBishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)

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