Kirk continues to join in prayer every Sunday

This Sunday (25 April), on the eve of further restrictions lifting in Scotland, Christians across the country – and further afield – will join together in prayer and reflection at 7pm in response to the pandemic.

Praying hands with a cross in the middle

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 imagery of the ‘shepherd’ is woven into Scripture and offers to us a picture of how God relates to us. When we read the words of Jesus in the Gospel: ‘I am the good shepherd’, they create in our mind’s eye a picture of the One who ‘lays down His life for the sheep’ in order that we might be shielded and guarded.

“The ‘good shepherd’ lays down His life because He knows those whom He cares for. In similar fashion, those who are cared for know who the ‘good shepherd’ is and they listen for His voice. (John 10: 11-18)

“The imagery is nurtured by the words of Psalm 23 which, especially when paraphrased and sung, resonate deeply in the hearts of many:

The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green: he leadeth me
The quiet waters by.

Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale,
Yet will I fear none ill:
For thou art with me; and thy rod
And staff me comfort still.

Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me:
And in God’s house for evermore
My dwelling-place shall be.

“When we strip away all that clouds and confuses us in this life, there remains that which abides forever: the Good Shepherd who will journey with us into the deepest depths and who will lead us safe home.”

We pray:

Lord our God,
We listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd,
For he is the One who will guard us and keep us
And lead us safe home.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord our God,
We listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd,
For he has spoken to us throughout all our days
And still he speaks, even amidst the clamour of the day.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord our God,
We listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd,
For he has nurtured and provided for us
And lifted us up, even when we have fallen.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord our God,
We listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd,
For he is the One who has laid down his life for us
In order that we might have life, even in the face of darkness.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord our God,
We listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd,
For your goodness and mercy still follows us
And you shall lead us safe home, even at the end of our days.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Rt. Rev. Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
  • Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
  • Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Rev. John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Donnie G. MacDonald, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. May-Kane Logan, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Claire Fender, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
  • Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
  • Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)