Thursday 7 January

Last night’s ugly scenes on TV of the divisions in the USA fill us with horror and distress for the future of democracy. Pray that wisdom may prevail and peace and healing be restored. Pray too that there may be a new calm and sense of perspective in all who feel disappointed by the US election results. Pray for Joe Biden as he prepares to take up office as President in the face of the current situation and its worldwide impact.

Friday 8 January

Yesterday’s TV news pictures of the dire situation in many of the hospitals in the UK, as the fight against Covid-19 accelerates, underline the virulence of the virus, especially in the new strains of it, and the exhaustion of the medical and other staff who are having to cope with it. Pray for all involved: that each new day may bring fresh energy, that the wider public may have a firmer grasp of the situation instead of suggesting that Covid-19 is a hoax (as indicated on notes left on the windscreens of some ambulances down south!) and for adherence to the government rules about isolating as much as possible.

Saturday 9 January

Many people, especially those who live alone, are despairing about the latest restrictions and finding them almost intolerable. Pray for people you know in this position and consider ways in which, in addition to your prayers, you might help to ease the strain for them with a cheery phone call or note. Give thanks for the many who are trying to help keep spirits up in a variety of imaginative and caring ways, not least the various supportive mental health charities, including the work of our own Church of Scotland’s Crossreach, in this area.

Sunday 10 January

This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!”  Give thanks that this statement is true as our ministers lead us in online or phone or TV and radio worship and pray that many will tune in to them. Pray that these will be uplifting, challenging and helpful to all who participate. Remember especially our own ministers and youth leaders in St. Columba and Lochside who prepare these and ask that they may be blest themselves as they share the Good News which reminds us all that “The joy of the Lord is your strength” in these difficult days.

Monday 11 January

Today our schools will remain closed and teachers are having to organise online education for children and young people. Pray for teachers as they rise to the challenges this mode of teaching requires and for children, especially those in areas of deprivation, who lack the necessary equipment to enable this, as they struggle to participate. Pray also for their parents and carers who have to help implement what is provided by the schools, but many of whom also have to keep their own work going from home where possible.

Tuesday 12 January

As the month moves on, the small increase in the light of each day is perceptible. Give thanks for this and for early signs of spring in bulbs already protruding in our gardens or greenhouses, or tiny buds appearing on trees and bushes, sometimes in unexpected places. Give thanks for the fresh air we breathe as daily walks or strolls are taken, even in the recent freezing, treacherous conditions. Pray for safety as people take exercise or participate in fitness classes and choirs offered by means of Zoom. Give thanks for the technology which enables these and for the ways in which those who lead them cheer participants.

Wednesday 13 January

Despite the stringent lockdown, pray that the light, joy and love of Christmas may remain with us through the dull, cold days of winter and early spring. Ask God to help us to value and share small things which yet mean so much – a smile, hello or kind, appreciative word to those we meet in supermarkets, or when we put out bins, or over our garden walls, or when we take walks, even if socially distanced.