2020 has been rough. The unfolding of the Covid 19 pandemic is a tragedy of global proportions, bringing with it an immeasurable breadth and depth of human suffering and panic.
Families struggle to isolate at home while still maintaining some semblance of a normal working and learning schedule. Across the nation, jobs disappeared overnight as restaurants and retailers shuttered some temporarily, some for good. And like everyone else, farmers have felt the pandemic pinch.
Embedded in all our faith traditions are stories of suffering and hardship, of plagues, famines and pestilence, of loneliness and despair. At the same time, there are positive stories that breakthrough from time to time.
As disciples of Christ, we know that ‘faith, hope and love abide, these three, and the greatest of these is love’ (1 Corinthians 13:13). May we discover the grace to be people of faith, hope and Love, even and especially when these qualities seem to be in very short supply all around us.
With that in mind, I would like to commend for your use some prayers I found on the Christian Aid website (www.christianaid.org.uk/pray/churches/coronavirus-prayers). I urge you not just to read these prayers but to take time to pray them – slowly, thoughtfully and passionately.
Heavenly Father, we thank you that Love never fails
Even in the darkest moments, Love gives hope.
Love compels us to fight against coronavirus alongside our sisters and brothers living in poverty.
Love compels us to stand together in prayer with our neighbours near and far.
Love compels us to give and act as one.
Now, it is clear that our futures are bound together more tightly than ever before.
As we pray in our individual homes – around the nation and around the world – we are united as one family.
So, let us pause and find a moment of peace, as we lift up our hearts together in prayer.
PRAYERS OF THANKSGIVING AND INTERCESSION
For the health workers tending the seriously ill
for the scientists working on a vaccination
for the researchers analysing data and identifying trends
for the media outlets working to communicate reality
for the supermarket workers, hygiene and sanitation providers
for the good news stories of recoveries and effective planning
for the singing from balconies by locked-down communities
for the recognition that isolation doesn’t need to mean loneliness
for the notes through letterboxes offering help and support
for the internet and telephones and technology that connects
for the awakened appreciation of what is truly important
Thanks be to God.
For those who are unwell and concerned for loved ones
for those who were already very anxious
for those immune suppressed or compromised
for those vulnerable because of underlying conditions
for those in the ‘most at risk to coronavirus’ categories
for those watching their entire income stream dry up
for those who have no choice but to go out to work
for those who are afraid to be at home
for those who are more lonely than they’ve ever been
for those who are bereaved and grieving.
God be their healer, comfort and protection
be their strength, shield and provision
be their security, safety and close companion.
And raise up your Church
to be your well-washed hands and faithful feet
to be present to the pain
to respond with Love in action
if even from a safe distance.
God, in your mercy
Hear our prayer.