Kirk joins in prayer ahead of restrictions easing in Scotland

This Sunday (18 July), ahead of restrictions easing across Scotland next week, Christians across the country – and further afield – will join together in prayer and reflection at 7pm in response to the pandemic.

Old Man of Storr, Skye

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 the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Lord Wallace, is taking part alongside them.

"We should always be mindful for the wisdom handed down to us from past generations; much of it learned the hard way, from mistakes made and consequences suffered," Lord Wallace said.

"So, too, we are grateful for the richness that comes to us from living alongside people of other traditions. In our day and generation we must surely allow our minds and hearts to be open so that we can risk getting to know them and learning from them.

"In this pandemic, our responsibility is to come together and offer our prayers for all the many diverse expressions of our Christian faith that enrich life, as we have done for many months now.

"As we move into a new phase with many restrictions being eased, we call to mind those for whom the restrictions of recent times have been profound and life-changing. We pray that those who are anxious and nervous about change will find reassurance. And in exercising our own personal choices, let us be mindful of the needs and concerns of our neighbours.

"A pattern has been set for us, lived out in Jesus Christ, made possible by the Spirit. May we follow in His way, and be guided by the one over-riding rule of love in all that we say and do."

This week's letter accompanying the prayer states:

"Where do we find ourselves today? Does the light of the day still shine and does the way ahead seem clear and certain? Or, does darkness fall and the way ahead seem uncertain and hidden in the shadows? In whatever situation we find ourselves, the Psalms speak to us and the Psalms speak for us. They speak to us, and for us, in every situation of life.

"Perhaps there is nowhere that this is more evident than in the 23rd Psalm. The resonance of the ancient, yet immediately present, words of the Psalmist can be sensed; such that even now we can hear those words speaking into the depths of who we are: ‘The Lord is my Shepherd… Even though I walk through the darkest valley… Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me.' (Psalm 23)

"To read and to hear the words evokes a response in the very depths of our being. We are addressed by God and the Psalm offers to us words of response: ‘Even though I walk through the darkest valley… I fear no evil.' ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me… and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord.' Wherever we find ourselves today, the Lord speaks to us and graciously offers us words of response."

We pray:

Gracious Lord
And faithful Shepherd,
Lead us to the place of Your presence
And speak to us Your word that brings life.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Gracious Lord
And faithful Shepherd,
Lead us to the place of still waters
And restore our troubled souls.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Gracious Lord
And faithful Shepherd,
Lead us on the paths of righteousness
And deliver us from evil.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Gracious Lord
And faithful Shepherd,
Lead us through the valley of shadows
And bring us to the place of safety.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Gracious Lord
And faithful Shepherd,
Lead us to the place where the table is renewed
And the cup overflows for all.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Gracious Lord
And faithful Shepherd,
Lead us to the place where goodness and mercy abide
And to the house of the Lord forever.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Lord Wallace, 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. Dr David Miller, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Neil MacMillan, 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. Thomas R. Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Ruth Turner, 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)