Thursday 13 August

This morning our thoughts are all with those involved in yesterday’s horrific train crash near Stonehaven. Our Moderator, Dr Martin Fair has written a prayer (to be found on the Church of Scotland’s website) which begins :God, though we can’t begin to explain it, we believe that you are there in the darkest of places and that your compassion knows no bounds…” Pray for all those caught up in this tragedy; for those so cruelly and swiftly bereaved; and for those in the emergency and rescue services, responding with courage and skill and now working to clear the site in what is difficult and awkwardly accessible terrain. Pray also for all who have been affected by the dreadful storms of Tuesday night, with properties destroyed, flooding and other major damage as they too try to salvage from the wreckage of that event and clear up.

Friday 14 August

In the midst of our concerns about the events here at home in these recent days ask God to help us not to forget those in Beirut who continue to struggle with the aftermath of last week’s explosion.  Pray especially for the many who were injured in the blast, for  the thousands made homeless and for the aid agencies like Christian Aid, the Red Cross, Save the Children and others  helping in the rebuild of that city and coping with the traumatised population in these next months and years. Pray that we who, even in the economic downturn following Covid-19, still have so much for which to be thankful, will find it in our hearts and pockets to give what we can to alleviate the suffering of the Lebanese people.

Saturday 15 August

This is VJ Day when there will be commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the ending of the war in Japan and the Far East. Pray for all for whom this will evoke poignant memories of loved ones lost and others who carried suffering for the rest of their lives. Pray that these commemorations will serve to remind us all of the futility of war and move the world to take greater steps towards a true and lasting peace.

Sunday 16 August

Our Moderator, Dr. Fair, has called on the whole Church of Scotland, along with our ecumenical partners, to join him in a week of prayer (16 – 22 August) as “a chance to sense where God is leading us. We’ve come through  the most challenging of times and though there are glimmers of hope…..none of us can be entirely confident that we are out of the woods and that there are many challenges still ahead of us…the Church and the country as a whole…..We believe in a God wo has both map and compass,…knows the way…and will lead us in the right way.” Pray that we will all join in this initiative which has been requested by many people since the epidemic began.  It will be led by Dr. Fair, his chaplains and others and offered online on the Church’s website and Facebook for five minutes each morning and then for a longer evening event. Those not online can still participate, using their own prayers. Ask God to hear and answer all our prayers, beyond what we can ask or think.

Monday 17 August

By this time all our children and young people should be back in schools and settling into new ways of working and learning. Pray for them, their teachers and other school staff: that they may all be kept safe from the virus and, in coping with the necessary restrictions, be kind and helpful to one another. Pray especially for disabled youngsters who may be finding things especially difficult.

Tuesday 18 August

As we have seen in recent weeks, Aberdeen is not the only place where Covid -19 has reared its ugly head again causing problems for many, particularly the medical and nursing staff, plus those trying to re-open businesses. As we descend into the deepest recession for many years pray for our governments and leaders: that they may be wisely guided in the decisions they have to make. Patience and trust are being severely stretched in many parts of the world. Pray for us all as we adjust to this bewildering “new normal”.

Wednesday 19 August

Give thanks for the glorious weather of the past week, remembering that at this tine of year our farmers need good conditions in the coming weeks to bring in the harvests of fruit, vegetables, flowers and crops of all kinds. Pray that we may not take for granted all that they do, asking God to bless them with health and strength for all their tasks. Pray for the farming minister in Ayr Presbytery, the Rev Chris Blackshaw, in his special ministry to them and their families. Pray for the Presbytery’s Mission Committee’s virtual meeting, tomorrow evening, by Zoom and chaired by Mrs Isabell Montgomerie.