Thursday 8 July

Despite our high vaccination rate the Covid situation in Scotland is causing serious concern. Code black status has been declared at two more hospitals in Inverness and Elgin which means that they have reached capacity in terms of being able to cope with Covid patients and other urgent medical cases. Pray for all those who have contracted Covid, those who are caring for them and our politicians and scientists as they have to make the difficult decisions about whether and when to relax the restrictions.

A heartfelt plea for prayer from our partner church in Myanmar has arrived today. It tells of the deaths from Covid of over 60 ministers from different denominations there and that numbers of people dying are at their highest level since the beginning of the pandemic.

Friday 9 July

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the world’s newest nation – South Sudan. The Church of Scotland has joined other ecumenical partners to congratulate the country and to call for international efforts to secure peace and reconciliation across Sudan. The Very Rev. Dr Susan Brown, Convener of the CofS Faith Impact Forum, is encouraging everyone to join her in prayer for Sudan. She said ”We have been working with our partner there, the Presbyterian Church of S. Sudan, in training church leaders in mediation and peace building. Using our “Place for Hope” materials, spear funded by the Guild some years ago, there has been some progress but on the whole, the last decade has been marked with ongoing violence, particularly against women and girls, and huge humanitarian needs in the country including extreme levels of food insecurity with 8.3 million people expected to need support this year. I would be grateful if you would stand in solidarity and prayer with our partner church and all the people of S. Sudan,” Dr Brown has compiled a beautiful prayer for this anniversary which can be found on the CofS website.

Saturday 10 July

Pray for the many in our congregation who are currently on holiday at this time, including our minister, Scott, and his family. Pray for all to enjoy rest, relaxation and recreation, safe from the epidemic in the lovely country that is the UK.

Sunday 11 July

At both services in St. Columba today, the preacher will be our own Muriel Wilson, who is a Deacon. Pray for her as she prepares for the services, asking God to bless her work amongst us and her care for her mother who, later this month, will notch up her remarkable 109th birthday, making her one of the oldest people in the U.K.. Pray too for our Moderator, Jim Wallace, as he joins with other church leaders, in the now customary weekly prayer for the country in this time of pandemic.

Monday 12 July

Extreme weather is affecting vulnerable communities in Nepal, Malawi and across the world, reminding us of the effect climate change is having on some of the areas where the CofS’s overseas partners are based and the importance of COP26 in November in Glasgow for people of faith.Pray for all the preparations currently being made for this event.

Tuesday 13 July

“The sense of isolation we have all felt has been palpable” (The Rev Mike Gargrave) “ When the opportunity is taken away, then we understand the value of being able to see people face to face” (The Rev Neil Campbell) These two quotes remind us to pray for all the people who have felt increasingly lonely in the last 18 months, asking God to bring them into contact with a smiling face and a warm greeting and for Him to suggest to each one of us whom we might contact in Jesus’ name to bring them friendship and hope.

Wednesday 14 July

This is Emeline Pankhurst Day, I learned this week! – Did you know? It reminds us of the courageous struggle of the suffragettes over 100 years ago for full equality and emancipation for women. Pray for every part of our country to value women as highly as men, to prioritise their promotion and their full protection  from every danger.

Today the CofS has received figures presented to the UN Human Rights Council on 5 July which indicate that between 40 and 68 per cent of young women with disabilities experienced sexual violence before the age of 18. Today and every Thursday we are invited to stand up and speak out and, in the case of the Christian churches, to pray for a world without the horrors of rape and violence.