Thursday 28 January

Yesterday was National Holocaust Day when we remembered those who suffered under Nazi persecution in World War 2. Let us continue to pray for forgiveness and a change of heart for all who still inflict untold horrors on their fellow human beings. Pray for all who have been forced to flee their homes and seek shelter in refugee camps or in other countries where there is no place for them at a time of pandemic. Pray for agencies like Christian Aid, Tear Fund and others who seek to alleviate their distress and hardship and pray, too, that we may be generous in our support of these, as we are able.

Friday 29 January

This week, we passed the 100,000 total mark of those in the UK dying from Covid-19 which is the unthinkable reality of the impact of the virus on our country. Pray for those nursing people at the end of their lives, especially when family members cannot be with them. Pray for all who have lost a loved one to the virus and who will continue to grieve. Pray for those like hospital chaplains and ministers in the community who continue to care for all of them pastorally.

Saturday 30 January

People seem to be finding this current lockdown more of a struggle than the others probably because it occurs during a particularly chilly, dark and wet winter time. Pay that perseverance and common sense will prevail and that those behaving irresponsibly will understand that this will ultimately harm them and their loved ones and will change their behaviour accordingly. Pray too for those who are abusive towards NHS staff and retail assistants who are all trying their best for patients and customers.

Give thanks for the many who seek to cheer and help all who are finding the days long and lonely, especially folk like our own Columba News Editor, Norman and Irene in the office who helps him, as they prepare the next issue to uplift us and keep us in touch with one another in these difficult days.

Sunday 31 January

“This is the day that the Lord has made!” Give thanks to God that despite the turmoil surrounding us in these times, some things do remain steady, even when we can’t meet in church : access to God through His word; access to God through prayer; the encouragement that can be found in music, songs, DVDs and good news from other parts of the world.

On a day when we are probably setting aside our regular church offerings, let us also give thanks for the response to the Christmas Appeal for Abba’s Rest which has so far raised £1300. Pray that the work which receives our gift will be blest.

Remember our Sunday Kids being taught the truths of the gospel via their Zoom meeting and remember, too, that not everything is “locked down”. The sunshine and fresh air are not! Hobbies and communication are not! The kindness of friends and strangers is not! Give thanks to God for what we do have rather than complain about that which we don’t!

Monday 1 February

Another new month for which to give thanks and in which we can really begin to look forward to spring, as the days lengthen and gardens begin to come to life.

Pray for all who begin this week again without a job, trying to cope with debt, finding it difficult to feed their children, or heat their homes, struggling with every aspect of life which they face in this pandemic. Pray for them courage, strength of body and mind and fresh hope even in the face of so many problems. Pray for their children many of whom are finding it hard to understand what is happening. Pray for those who strive to help and encourage them in various ways, especially their teachers and others involved in home schooling them.

Tuesday 2 February (Candlemas Day)

An old rhyme goes : If Candlemas Day be clear and fair, hauf o’ winter’s tae come an’mair. If Candlemas Day be wet and foul, hauf o’ winter;s gane at Yule.

Candlemas Day marks the midpoint of winter and the spring equinox.

Whatever the weather today, give thanks for signs of new life and fresh growth. Pray for renewed physical strength to go out and enjoy the wonderful and beautiful world that our Creator has made and pray that we may be motivated to guard and protect it in every way possible. Pray for those even now planning the big conference on Climate Change taking place in Glasgow in November when, all being well, Scotland will have an opportunity to welcome world leaders.

Wednesday 3 February

By this week many local people will be grateful to have already received the first dose of the vaccine, but some people have been upset by increasing misinformation or “fake news” about the vaccines and the supplies of them. Pray for truth to prevail and people to be reassured. Pray for all still involved in the research and development of the vaccines to cope with the different variants which are emerging and sometimes causing alarm.