Joint call to Prayer: Comforting the fearful

8th August 2020

The Scottish Episcopal Church and 13 other denominations join together in prayer at 7pm on Sunday 9 August in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of those joining together in prayer, which appears below, will also light candles.

Churches Together In England continue to pray each Sunday at 7pm and are using the hashtag #prayersofhope to share the message on social media.

In a joint statement, church leaders in Scotland said:

Have you ever been afraid? Even as we ask the question, we know the answer. Have you been especially afraid at any point in these recent months? Once more, to ask is to know. Collectively and as a society, have we experienced in recent decades anything comparable to the fear and anxiety that has gripped us during the Covid 19 pandemic? Fear and anxiety paralyse us and, as we now see, fear and anxiety can at times paralyse a society and leave it profoundly uncertain.

The Gospel of Matthew records that early one morning the disciples of Jesus were afraid. They had spent the night in a boat on the water and had been ‘battered by the waves’ and now they find themselves terrified and unable to recognise the presence of Jesus. Jesus speaks to them and says ‘do not be afraid’. In response, the disciple Peter steps out of the boat and walks towards Jesus. However, as he does so, fear begins to overtake him once more and he cries out: ‘Lord, save me!’ In response, Jesus reaches out his hand and brings him to the place of safety. (Matthew 14: 22-33)

Today, to the fearful and to the anxious, Jesus reaches out his hand.

Lord, you are our Creator and our Maker.
We are fashioned in your image
And all that we are is known to you.
Hear us as we cry out and respond to us in our time of need.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, your Word has become flesh and lived among us
Full of grace and truth.
As the living Word comes, we respond with open hearts
And ask that you will meet us in the place where we are today.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, you see all that takes place around us
And nothing is hidden from your sight.
You see waves that batter us and the storm that seems unceasing.
Come to us in response to the depth of our need.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, your presence is revealed in the life of your Son.
He knows us as we are and even now he prays for us.
May he hear us when we are anxious
And respond when we are afraid.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, you inspire in us faith
And yet we confess that our faith is weak.
Hear us when we cry: “Lord, save me!”
And in response reach out your hand to all who cry to you today.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
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
Rev. John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
Rev. Dr David Pickering, 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. Jim Ritchie, 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)