At the beginning of another new month and almost at the half way point of another difficult year for so many, it is good to pause and reflect on the value we place on the role of prayer in our congregational life and work. Few people in the congregation appear to find this resource of weekly prayer topics useful and I have wondered why? Of course numbers of users don’t really matter. The important thing is that help is offered to those who feel they need somewhere to start and, if nothing else, my own prayer is that those who do use it are stimulated to pray more, using their own topics and thoughts also.

In his remarkable book in our Church Library : How to pray, a simple guide for normal people, Pete Greig says ”Everyone prays but no-one finds it easy. We all need a little help “. In the book: Seeking God – the way of St Benedict, which is being used in Scott’s latest discussion groups, we read “In an age of extreme complexity men and women look for vision even more desperately since without vison there is no hope.” This underlines the contemporary nature of Benedict’s Rule and its relevance for times like the ones through which we are living. Another thought to fuel our prayers for fresh vision in this new month, perhaps?

Thursday 3 June

On Tuesday, the new minister in training, Gillean Richmond  began her full-time probationary placement under Scott’s supervision. Pray for her as she begins her work in St. Columba: that she may feel welcome and settle in quickly to the programme which she has to follow for the next fifteen months. This will not be easy at a time when so many of our groups are not meeting and there will be limited opportunities to engage with many of the congregation.  Pray that we may all be encouraging and helpful as she learns about the complexities of ministry in these changing times for St Columba and Lochside and for the wider Church of Scotland.

Friday 4 June

Just at the time when further relaxation of the rules was expected it looks as though the governments at Holyrood and Westminster may have to proceed with greater caution than was being planned. Pray that people will be patient, more thoughtful of others and accept what is necessary to protect the population.

Saturday 5 June

Please pray today for the people of Bangladesh as the country deals with the aftermath of last week’s cyclone Yaas (which is an effect of climate change) and with the pandemic for which supplies are low in the country. The Rev John Hira of our partner Church of Bangladesh said ”We will survive by the grace of God. Along with our church partners we are using whatever limited resources we have and serving the people of God to witness to Christ even in the midst of the pandemic”. Give thanks for their optimism and courage. (For more info. about this see the Life & Work website)

Sunday 6 June

“This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it! ”Pray that, despite current circumstances, there will be a sense of rejoicing and thanksgiving in our worship today, whether  this is in the Sanctuary, online or by telephone or at Sunday Kids. Today it will include Communion. Pray that each of our ministers and teachers in St. Columba and at Lochside will be encouraged by the response of the congregation to all that is offered. Remember also our hard working technical team in the important work they do week by week to provide the necessary backup and those whose gifts in arranging  flowers, music and other items enhances the experience of drawing closer to God in praise, prayer and meditation. Pray that we may never take any of the efforts for granted.

Monday 7 June

Pray today for all the planning which is going on in organisations like Boys and Girls Brigades, Scouts and Guides and Scripture Union for summer events: that these may be able to take place out of doors and be a blessing to many youngsters and their leaders. SU has published a holiday club resource called Jungle Adventure which has been specially written for outdoor holiday clubs. Give thanks for the creativity and imagination which has brought this into being specially for a time like this.

Tuesday 8 June

Our Kirk Session meets this evening by Zoom. Give thanks for those who serve our congregation as elders: that they may regard serving in this capacity as a privilege, as well as a responsibility, and pray for all the matters which will be on tonight’s agenda, including an important paper on church re-organisation. Ask that all may catch a vision of God’s plan for St. Columba in the days ahead. Pray especially for our Session Clerk, Bob and Treasurer, Tom who have particular and demanding responsibilities. Remember also the various Committee Conveners as they try to promote and develop different facets of the life of the congregation in these difficult times for much activity or holding events: that they may not be discouraged but instead enabled to find new and creative ways of moving forward.

Wednesday 9 June

Tonight and tomorrow the Discussion groups meet again by Zoom, led by Scott. Give thanks for these informal and stimulating opportunities to reflect on spiritual growth and development in a congenial and relaxed atmosphere. May they be a blessing and encouragement to all who participate.