“Tomorrow will be another good day!”  As another new month began, we all learned with sadness of the passing of the remarkable Captain Sir Tom Moore, the centenarian who so inspired the nation with his daily walking for the NHS and other charities last summer and who was knighted by the Queen for his service to the country. He demonstrated Jesus’ teaching of literally “going the extra mile” for others.  His outstanding achievement not only raised a vast sum of money but also boosted morale and encouraged a “can do” attitude in many others who followed his uplifting example. “Tomorrow will be another good day” was his modestly cheerful way of expressing his optimism and became the title of the book describing his wonderful story.

Are you optimistic as we begin another month of lockdown? Can you find something to be cheerful and hopeful about? There are signs of hope in the rolling out of the vaccines, the advent of increasingly longer days, the kindness of strangers and above all, for those of us who believe, the eternal Hope we have in Christ, our Lord and Saviour. He is with each one of us all through these difficult times and has promised never to “leave us. nor forsake us”. As we reflect on that glorious truth, we DO have reason to be optimistic!

Thursday 4 February

This is children’s mental health week and today, on the social media platform, Facebook, there are some very short, but interesting interviews, entitled “See Me Time To Talk” day, with trained people who can give good advice about looking after our mental health and that of the children or youngsters with whom we may be in touch. One of these interviews is with church elder and retired consultant psychiatrist, Dr. Tom Brown. Give thanks for the willingness of such people to share their experiences and pray that many will be helped by him and the others who have been interviewed. More helpful information about this important aspect of health is available too on NHS and Government websites.

Friday 5 February

Yesterday was also World Cancer Day. Pray for all who are suffering from any form of this disease and especially for strength and comfort for those whose treatment has been delayed because of the pressures caused by Covid-19. Pray for the specialist medical staff who are helping them but whose efforts are also constrained and frustrated by the pressures.

Saturday 6 February

Our current Moderator, Martin Fair, has recently been interviewed on Trans World Radio UK about how it is “vital” that Christians should be engaged with politics and praying for both our leaders and Christians who work in the world of politics. Today therefore, let us pray for all in these positions: that they will lead wisely and well, especially through the complexities of decisions which have to be taken to help the nation move out of the pandemic, sometimes unpopularly.

Pray also for the Fair family at this time when they are mourning the death last week-end of Elaine Fair’s father.

Sunday 7 February

Pray for all who have the privilege and responsibility of leading worship today whether online or in other ways: that all who participate may be uplifted and helped by the words and music and remembering especially our own team of Scott, David, Rachel and Matthew and their helpers who provide the service from St. Columba. Give thanks that the BBC in Scotland is still offering “Reflections from the Quay,” albeit at different times each week, and pray that these will continue to inspire and help many people. A kind letter to the BBC, expressing appreciation of these broadcasts may help to ensure this!

Continue to pray for our Sunday Kids also, asking that more will join in the excellent activities the leaders are able to offer online and giving thanks for their imaginative contributions to the wellbeing of our youngsters.

Monday 8 February

In these wintry days, especially further north in Scotland, pray for all who are homeless and lacking adequate shelter. Pray for the agencies like Bethany Trust in Edinburgh, the Lodging House Mission in Glasgow and Crossreach in various parts of the country, as they try to help them. Borderline, supported by our two Churches of Scotland in London, also needs our prayers as it ministers to Scots, some of whom are veterans and homeless, in the capital. It has had financial and prayer support from Guild Projects in recent years.

Tuesday 9 February

Tonight our Kirk Session meets virtually, by Zoom. Pray for our Session Clerks Bob and Walter, as they prepare for this with Scott and for Andrew Muirhead who facilitates the technicalities of meeting in this way. Pray that the decisions taken will be wise and imaginative. Pray for our Treasurer, Tom, who will be reporting on our financial position, given lockdown and services not being held; and also for our Beadle and Fabric Convener, John, reporting on our buildings, including those at Lochside, over which he has a special watching brief at this time when some of them are not in regular use.

Wednesday 10 February

In preparation for the first full Ayr Presbytery meeting of the year in March, some of its committees will be meeting, virtually, tomorrow evening and also need our prayers. Remember our Presbytery elder, George Park and the current Moderator of Presbytery, the Rev. David Prentice-Hyers of Troon Old.