Many people are feeling anxious during these challenging times and where many would usually find peace and solace in the quietness of our churches to spend time in personal reflection and prayer, our churches are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, our ministry to the community continues.
As the current logo for Emmanuel, Billericay states:
If you feel as though you want to pray, but don’t know how, The Lord’s Prayer is as good a place as any to start:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name;
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done; on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
As we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation:
But deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
And the glory are Yours,
Now and for ever.
At times like this we can feel very alone and afraid. But know that even in quarantine the Lord is always with you. Psalm 121 is a wonderful Psalm to remind us of God’s presence with us wherever we find ourselves.
1. I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from?
2. My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
3. He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber;
4. Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5. The Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
7. The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life;
8. the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
I’ve never been a fan of Russell Brand, but I know he’s someone who is searching for the meaning of life, both philosophically and religiously. This two minute video asking why people are googling ‘prayer’ is quite insightful.
I’ve pasted below some suggestions about ways in which you can pray for yourselves, your community, your nation and our world. Please choose the one(s) which works best for you.
- DAILY HOPE To date, hundreds of thousands of free phone calls have been made to the phone line, to hear hymns, reflections and prayers as well as a welcome from the Archbishop of Canterbury.
- DAILY PRAYERS FOR THE ARMOUR OF GOD In Ephesians 6:10-20 the apostle Paul explains how each of us are involved in a spiritual battle between the forces of good (God) and evil (the devil) and the spiritual powers who are fighting over our lives. It may be helpful, therefore, to put on God’s armour of protection first thing on a morning but also last thing at night when we lay down to rest.
- PRAYERS FOR STRENGTH & COMFORT When you are weak, weary or unready to stand, and unsure of what to ask, pray along with these words! God is waiting and wants to offer us strength in time of need.
- PRAYERS FOR USE DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC The Church of England have issued a collection of prayers at this challenging time in our lives, especially when we are struggling to find words to express how we feel. CofE Prayer Book Digital – Coronavirus
- MORNING PRAYER Is said at 9.00 am. We are using the contemporary version of Morning Prayer produced by the Church of England https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-daily-prayer
- MIDDAY PRAYER Is usually said at 12.00 noon. We are using the contemporary version of Prayer during the day which can be found here https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-daily-prayer
- NIGHT PRAYER Is said at 7.00 pm – please join with us by lighting a candle in your window We are using the contemporary version of Night Prayer which can be found here https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-daily-prayer
- COMPLINE Every evening at 8.00 pm a friend of mine Stephen Dray is leading a short service of Compline on his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/stephen.p.dray
- EXAMEN PRAYER An Examen Prayer (after Saint Ignatius) is a wonderful prayer to end every day with God.
- CHELMSFORD CATHEDRAL In addition, the Cathedral are livestreaming Morning and Evening Prayer each day on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/chelmsfordcathedral/
- A LORD’S PRAYER FOR JUSTICE At a time when we have worldwide protests about #BlackLivesMatter this is a very powerful read.
- 24-7 PRAYER Have produced a special Lectio, focused on praying through the Coronavirus Pandemic Coronavirus Lectio 365 Week PDF There are also some excellent resources available here
Be sure to let me know if there is anything I can do for you at any time. I’m more than happy to have a Skype or Zoom with you, speak on the phone or have a conversation on your doorstep (at 2.0m distance of course). Contact me on 01277 658055 or email@example.com or DM me on Facebook or Twitter
THE UK BLESSING At this unique and challenging time in the United Kingdom over 65 churches and movements, representing thousands of Christians, have come together online to sing a blessing over our land. Their desire is that this song will fill you with hope and encourage you.
As Emmanuel’s current logo states: “Our doors are closed but our hearts are open.”
Please be assured of my prayers for you in these challenging times.
Be safe and be blessed