To inspire your continued praying here’s a Thought for a New Month at the end of this week, picking up where we left off in yesterday’s prayers for those researching a vaccine for Covid

In a recent article we learned that Dr.Francis Collins, renowned geneticist, has been awarded the Templeton Prize for his work in reconciling science and faith. He and his colleagues in the US’s National Institute for Health are currently working 100 hours a week researching a cure for Covid-19. He says nothing in his life compares to the weight of responsibility he has felt in leading the US’s response to the coronavirus and says his Christian faith has been critical in the spiritual and mental reserves needed to face this new challenge. “Many times I have had to ask God for help. That’s where prayer has really helped me a lot and I’ve been particularly inspired by the Psalms…..”

(For those on line and interested to read more, an interview with Dr. Collins, who is donating his prize to worthy causes, is on Premier Christian Radio’s “Unbelievable” programme for which an App can be downloaded.)

Thursday 30 July

Another good news story in the media today  is that hospital cleaners in Shetland have been praised for their exceptional work in the frontline of the battle against Covid – 19  as they have achieved the best results of any Scottish health board in a national audit. Give thanks for these too often unsung heroes there, and in all hospitals, whose work is so vital in the maintenance of infection control and  “sometimes require them to go into parts of hospitals which are very high risk and often scary, yet……..they do it with courage and diligence”. Pray that all domestic and porter staff may be appreciated and rewarded more than they currently are.

Friday 31 July

Give thanks today for the work of the Church’s social care arm, Crossreach, which has been hugely affected by the coronavirus in terms of both those being cared for and the carers themselves. Pray for all involved and for adequate resources of staff and money to meet the many needs, remembering especially the work at Cumnor Hall in our own parish where most clients have dementia.

Saturday 1 August

As another new month and weekend begin, give thanks for time to relax and recharge batteries in the fresh air and participate in sport, holidays, staycations and exploring the beautiful world which our Heavenly Father has created. Ask that we may appreciate our planet more and treat it unselfishly, with gentleness and respect. Pray for those who have to clear up litter, thoughtlessly and carelessly left by others who appear not to share this kinder view of the world.

Sunday 2 August

Giving thanks that more and more of our churches can now, like St. Columba, be opened for times of private prayer, may we also continue to pray for our Kirk Session team which is planning for public worship to resume again. Pray too for all the acts of worship and reflection which are still available online or by telephone: that these may continue to be a blessing and help to many. Pray again for Scott, David and other ministers who are rising to the considerable challenges of these times as they pastor and care for people, especially those who have recently been bereaved.

Monday 3 August

As another working week begins, pray for all those who are very worried about their jobs and for those who have already lost their work. Pray too for those trying to help them find alternative employment and those who have to undertake training for new roles which may be difficult and taxing. The National Trust is just one organisation which is having to shed over 200 jobs in order to save £200m because of closures caused by the pandemic and nearby Culzean Castle may be only one of their many establishments affected by this decision.

The second wave of Covid – 19, which is happening in many localities in this country and in other parts of the world, makes the possibility of further damaging lockdowns very real and disquieting for the economy. This also affects the fragile mental health of many. Pray for psychiatrists and doctors as they strive to help those who suffer.

Tuesday 4 August

In this, the final week before schools are to resume, pray for our children, young people parents and teachers. Pray for fine weather to enable all to make the most of this last opportunity to build strength and energy for the difficult weeks ahead. Remember also, janitors, cleaners, school meals and admin staff as they cope with the many additional problems which Covid -19 has created for all those involved in running this sector. May they do so in a spirit of confidence and hope despite their inevitable nervousness. Pray too for those who plan and staff our important Sunday Kids work as they prepare for the uncertainties of coming months.

Wednesday 5 August

Pray today for those cancer sufferers and other patients who have had treatment and surgical appointments delayed because of the pandemic. This is creating serious difficulties for those who are in great pain. Pray that long waiting lists may quickly be reduced: that those affected may soon get the help they so desperately need.