Thursday 11 February

Throughout the pandemic various church leaders and others have been writing daily messages to encourage cheer and inspire others. In one of these recently, the writer drew attention to the number of times in the New Testament there is reference to doing things “for one another!” One of these things was praying for one another and so that is a good place to begin another week of praying. Let’s pray “for one another” in St Columba Church, remembering before God  those we know, members in our districts, if we are a district elders, our young people, our elderly and frail people, our office bearers and those who have been bereaved in recent months.

Friday 12 February

Even if we have recently enjoyed crisp winter sunshine in this area, the recent spell of severe wintry weather has put pressure on many of the services and people we tend to take for granted. Please pray again today for all who have to work outside: the farmers tending their stock; the road gritters and bin men; the police and fire fighters and other rescue services coping with emergencies; asking that all may be kept safe and well as they go about their duties.

Saturday 13 February

As a coastal town, Ayr is a beautiful place in which to take outdoor exercise or to be still as we take in the many beautiful vistas from the beach. However, sight of the sea reminds us of those who have to be on the sea in all weathers: creel fishermen; trawlermen; those on oil rigs or in oil tankers and cargo ships; those providing ferry services to and from our islands. Give thanks for them and in storms perhaps use this line from an old hymn in our prayers: ”O hear us when we cry to thee for those in peril on the sea”.

Sunday 14 February

This is St Valentine’s Day when commercial interests exert pressure on us to give gifts and cards to those we love and for whom we specially pray today. It is also the day on which we would normally gather to worship the God we love and serve together, but even if we can’t do that at present, give thanks for the technologies, especially operated by our team in St. Columba who sacrifice time and effort to ensure that we have a service online or by phone or website in which to join virtually. Pray for all ministers and worship leaders today and for Guild members across the country many of whom will be having a special soup lunch at home today in aid of their six current projects. These are for Crossreach’s work among the lonely and socially isolated, supporting young farmers in Malawi Fruits, work among single teenage mothers in Zambia, providing a safe house for abandoned girls and young women being sexually exploited and trafficked in India, supporting the chaplains who work among sailors in ports across the world and the work of the Boys’ Brigade. The Guild’s customary fund raising for all these has been severely curtailed because of the pandemic and the needs are urgent, Pray for the success of Sunday’s effort.

Monday 15 February

As the working week begins again, continue to pray for people whose businesses have had to close during lockdown, for those who have lost their jobs and are at the end of their tether as they struggle to feed families, keep homes warm in the bitter weather, those running food banks, like the one at Lochside, to try to help and folk like the local farming chaplain Chris Blackshaws who try to offer support in other ways. An alarming statistic last week highlighted the increasing number of suicides in the farming community, so many of whom have to work alone and for whom winter weather adds to their burdens.

Tuesday 16 February

Give thanks for the ongoing rollout of the vaccination programme and for the encouragingly high numbers of those accepting vaccination. Pray for all working long hours in vaccination centres to help speed the process. Pray, too, for those who are resisting the opportunity which the programme presents and appear to be indifferent to the fact that their resistance continues to endanger the overall health of the population by perpetuating the spread of such a dangerous virus, thus delaying any easing of the current lockdown until the numbers being infected go further down. Pray that this will happen soon.

Wednesday 17 February

Today and tomorrow, our minister, Scott, begins a second series of discussion groups online. Pray for him as he leads these and for all who participate, asking that this attempt to inform and educate people in the faith would be stimulating, challenging  and encouraging.