Another new month which means that we are halfway through the year 2021 already! This Prayer Calendar has been offered as a resource to the congregation for two years now and as usual at the start of a new month, a reflection is included along with the suggestions for prayer. In the past week my reading has included the following thoughts about prayer which are shared in the hope that they may be of help to others also:

“Prayer means launching out of the heart towards God. It means lifting up one’s eyes quite simply to heaven, a cry of grateful love from the crest of love or the trough of despair: it is a vast supernatural force that opens out my heart and binds me close to Jesus “ (St. Therese of Lisieux) This week let’s ask God to enliven and deepen our prayer life and help us realise how vital it is for our spiritual wellbeing. Pray that as a congregation, our hearts will be opened to God’s vast Spirit, binding us closely to Jesus and to each other. “The message of the Cross is essentially about the meaning of forgiveness” (The Very Rev Albert Bogle) “Prayer is worship. It is the highest expression of our dependence on God. We can ask for anything – even the most difficult things. ‘Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving. present your requests to God’ (Phil 4, v6) In the quiet place of prayer, God comforts, instructs and listens to us. There we learn to love and worship Him.” (from Seeing God by David Roper)

Thursday 1 July

The UK government’s decision to allow an increase of up to 40% in the country’s nuclear stockpile has been described by our immediate past Moderator, Dr. Martin Fair, and many other Scottish church leaders, as “deeply worrying, retrograde, a reversal of 30 years of gradual disarmament and in contravention of UK obligations under the UN Non-proliferation Treaty.” Pray for this policy change to become too difficult or too expensive for it ever to be implemented.

Friday 2 July

Give thanks for the beauty of the natural world and for the fact that we have been able to enjoy more of it in these glorious summer days. Ask God to help us value His creation and do all we can to protect and preserve it when we are out and about. Pray for those who see no obligation to care for it and are careless about things like litter or their carbon footprint or their use of water and so many of the basics of the world which we tend to take for granted, failing to realise that these are finite and some may, if we are not careful, run out.

Saturday 3 July

Today is National Bereaved Parents Awareness Day, raising concern for all who have lost a child. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts, healing and helping to restore them to cope with loss and heartbreak.

Sunday 4 July

This is Thanksgiving Day in the USA and many of us will have family there or friends whom we specially wish to remember at this time.  Today also in the UK we are being asked to make it a day of thanksgiving for those who have helped and are still helping to bring us out of the Covid pandemic, many of them having gone away beyond the call of duty to do so. Give thanks for all who voluntarily gave practical help and support to many in our communities, for medical and vaccination teams, for postal, cleansing and other public services which were maintained despite the demands, for shop and supermarket workers who worked long hours to ensure that supplies of food and other necessities were available. As this is Sunday, give particular thanks for our church families throughout the country who, despite restrictions and closures of buildings, helped to keep spirits up by offering online and other means of worship and inspiration, with all the adaptation and extra work which these entailed.

Monday 5 July

Pray for all waiting anxiously for news of their loved ones following the disastrous collapse of the flats in Miami but in the growing realisation that they are unlikely to have survived.

Pray too for all in the Czech Republic affected by last week’s sudden tornado which has destroyed many homes and other buildings.

Tuesday 6 July

As the pandemic situation here worsens, with the further easing of restrictions, please pray today for the situation in Nepal, highlighted so graphically at the recent General Assembly, which is even worse. Vaccines are scarce and the difficulties of travel are immense. Pray that the rest of the world, including the UK, may reach out to help despite our own difficulties.

Wednesday 7 July

Continue to pray for our young people, especially those awaiting assessment results  (this year these have replaced national exam results) which will enable them to confirm or search for places in higher education and make plans for their future. After the very difficult year they have had in school, pray that hope will be renewed and energy restored as they try to move on with their lives.