Can you credit that we are already into the second week in Lent and our time of repentance, and reflection before we reach the rejoicing of Easter! Even in these irksome days of lockdown, time , for many, seems to be going so quickly and, as Irene said in her reflection on Facebook the other day, most of us still have long lists of things waiting to be done. Throughout this time, praying continues.

A noted Christian teacher once said “intercession is having God’s mind and perspective.” By this he meant that we pray for others in the light of what we know about God and His love for us. A recurring theme in Scott’s sermons for us each Sunday, together with his intercessory prayers for the world at this time, is that very love of God, best known in stillness and silence and, as we trust Him, to hear and answer our prayers, shown often in unexpected ways and not always immediately. In that knowledge please continue to pray on, using these weekly suggestions and of course your own prayers…..and thank you!

Thursday 4 March

This is National Book Day, an annual celebration of books and reading. A friend recently told me that during both periods of lockdown she has read more books than ever before in her life! Give thanks today for those who patiently taught us to read, for literature of all kinds, for the enjoyment it gives to many and for how it can increase knowledge or simply transport readers to another place for a little while. Pray, too, for those around the world who struggle with literacy skills, those whose impaired sight makes reading difficult and those who lack access to books. Remember librarians who are unable to provide their customary services because of the current situation.

Friday 5 March

Today is the annual World Day of Prayer, an international, ecumenical prayer movement initiated and carried out by Christian women in more than 180 countries and over 1000 languages. Men now attend WDP services and there is a special children’s version of the service also.

This year’s Order of Service on the theme: “Build on a Strong Foundation” has been prepared by Christian women in the Republic of Vanuatu, roughly 1100 miles to the east of Australia. The women in Vanuatu will be some of the first who will begin praying on 5 March, setting off a wave of prayers worldwide. In Scotland this would normally be an ecumenical event hosted by different congregations up and down the country. Because of restrictions, the main Scottish service will be hosted on Zoom by Augustine United Church in Edinburgh at 2.p.m. or later in the day on YouTube. For access to this, the live webinar ID is 895 9398 3883 and the Passcode is 901656 or by telephone on 0131 4601196 (where people may also be asked for the above webinar ID and passcode.). Pray for all who will lead this and for all who join in to be enriched by participating.

Saturday 6 March

Someone put up a picture on Facebook last week of the first local lambs of 2021. That was a reminder to pray for farmers in our community. For those who keep sheep, lambing time is always a great joy, welcoming new life in creation with the birth of lambs. With this, however, come working long hours and being out in all weathers. Pray for farmers and their families at this busy time

Pray also today for our hurting planet: global warming and climate change lead to millions of people being uprooted from their homes and fish, flora and fauna species are potentially facing extinction. Pray about what we can each do in future to repair some of the damage we have caused.

Sunday 7 March

Give thanks for the encouragement which online services and Sunday Kids, or equivalent events, including our own from St. Columba, are giving people. Pray again for all who enable these to happen, especially our own team. Give thanks too that many, who would not normally come to a church service, are being reached by these events and helped by them to feel less anxious and overwhelmed by the current situation and restrictions.

Monday 8 March

This is International Women’s Day. Some may ask why such a day is necessary to celebrate the lives and work of women but there are still women around the world who face cruelty and abuse daily, or who are disenfranchised from education and opportunity, or who lack home and jobs, or who have to bear the main work of raising and training their families, sometimes as single parents. Pray for all in these categories and for all the agencies and supports which exist to help them, notably Women’s Aid refuges, local Food Banks and organisations like Feed the Minds which offer training in skills and education. Give thanks for the women who have helped and inspired your own life.

Tuesday 9 March

Following the plea for prayer for Myanmar last week our Moderator Martin Fair has written to the UK Ambassador to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar calling for an end to violence in the S.E.Asian country, the release of the elected leaders and for democracy to be restored. He wrote also to the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in similar terms early in February. Pray for the impact of his letters and for an end to the current situation there.

Wednesday 10 March

At this time of concern for the Queen and her family, pray for them, especially for the Duke of Edinburgh recovering in hospital from a heart procedure. Pray, too, for all those still in hospital suffering from Covid and for the many doctors and nurses and other care workers coping with the stresses of caring in this long pandemic.