Thursday 17 September

Each year at the beginning of February, Crossreach, publishes its Prayer Diary, inviting the whole church to pray for one of the many aspects of its work every week and offering suggestions for our prayers. As it so happens, this week, the focus is on Cumnor Hall, the care home for dementia sufferers in our parish. Appropriately, at this time when care homes are very much in the news because of the restrictions on visiting caused by Covid-19, we are asked to pray for staff, residents and their worried families. The absence of visits from families, especially over such a long period of time, creates other difficulties for mental health and understanding of what is happening and why. Pray for all caught up in this situation asking that it can be resolved safely for all and soon.

Friday 18 September

The sterling work of many of our district elders, especially in our Pastoral Committee, in keeping in touch with our members, who have no family nearby to help them or who live alone and found lockdown especially hard to cope with, is something for which we should all be grateful. Such work is often in the background, quiet and unseen by others. Pray that they will have kindness, wisdom, patience and persistence in trying to cheer the many in our midst who are lonely, finding their days long, the restrictions tiresome and missing the friendship of our congregation. Ask God for guidance about how best to help, without interfering, in the situations they encounter.

Saturday 19 September

Give thanks for the drier conditions of this week which have enabled those who are able to get out in the fresh air for walks, cycling, bowling or golf. Ask God to help us all take care of the bodies He has given us, maintaining the best levels of fitness we can and enjoying the world in which He has set us for optimum health and well-being. Pray for those being prevented from making the most of the conditions by local lockdowns and other constraints.

Sunday 20 September

On this Lord’s Day, praise God for freedom to worship in peace either back in our church buildings, including St Columba, or online. There will be services at 10 a.m. and 11.15 a.m. in our Sanctuary. Pray for those who, with Scott, will lead these or make the practical arrangements to ensure that all who wish to do so can attend safely and comfortably, despite the current restrictions. Pray that the messages of these services will inspire, comfort and challenge all who hear them. Remember too our children and young people as they respond to what is provided for Sunday Kids online. Christians from many denominations will join in prayer together tonight at 7.p.m. to “continue to pray our way through this ongoing crisis”, says our Moderator, Dr. Martin Fair. This week’s prayer (found on the Church’s website) takes inspiration from the Book of Exodus.

Monday 21 September

As our local schools will be on holiday today for the Ayr autumn holiday pray that children will be kept safe and find interesting ways of spending the break from academic learning. Pray, too, for the refreshment of their teachers for whom this autumn term has brought more than its usual quota of tensions and strains because of the restrictions and health issues.

Tuesday 22 September

For a first time since the spring, our Kirk Session meets this evening by the online method of a Zoom virtual meeting. Pray that this will work well and for our Minister, Session Clerk, Treasurer, Secretary and Committee leaders as they adapt to this different way of conducting business.

Wednesday 23 September

Our TV screens and the front pages of our newspapers have recently been filled with images of dreadful fires in N.America, Australia and on the Greek island of Lesvos where most of the huge Moria refugee camp, housing 13.000 people, has been destroyed. Pray for the relentless work of the fire fighters, for those who have lost everything as a result of the devastation and for the various agencies working to offer relief and help to all who have been affected by these tragedies.

But, to end this week’s Prayer Calendar with a good news story, even if bittersweet,  do look up the Kirk’s website and read about a project, in which some churches have been involved, including the church in nearby Coylton, which has transformed the lives of refugees seeking sanctuary in Scotland. Its funding has been extended for a further three months until the end of the year, thanks to a grant from the Scottish Refugee Council. Give thanks and continue to pray for the refugees seeking to build a new life among us.