Praying in a time of pandemic

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Once people have gathered, a candle may be lit or an item to focus thoughts may be placed centrally among those present. Each paragraph may be said by the leader or by members of the group in turn while parts in bold italic may be said by all.

Opening

One:
See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,
and he rules with a mighty arm.
Two:
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.
Three:
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
he gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.   Isaiah 40
All:
Blessèd be God for ever!

Prayer

One:
We come to you in a time of uncertainty and anxiety, gracious God
All:
and we trust in your greatness and compassion
for they endure for ever, as does your living word. 
Two:
We come aware of grief and sorrow across the globe
and fear that sadness and loss may come to us, too.
All:
Still we trust in your faithfulness and tenderness
for they do not end, and you remain the God of all the earth.
Three:
Enable us to see your power and goodness O Lord,
All:
and declare with bold love that there is no need to be afraid.
Four:
Lord, you reign in glory
and do not need us to teach you or instruct you.
You have come among us in love divine:
All:
hear us as we bring to you:
those who are sick and in need,
those upon whom heavy demands are placed,
those who are uncertain about the future.

Five:

In our weariness may we know your strength
and in our weakness may we discern your power
All:
that our hope may be renewed,
our strength replenished
and love drive out all fear

Six:
Through Christ our Lord, Word made flesh in whose words we pray:
All:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever.
Amen.

Scripture Readings (select one to be read)
1
‘All people are like grass,
and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures for ever.’
Isaiah 40

2
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?
Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord,
or instruct the Lord as his counsellor?
Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him,
and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge,
or showed him the path of understanding?
Isaiah 40

3
‘To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.
Isaiah 40

4
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40

Prayers for a time of pandemic

One:
God of life:
we pray for those across the world caring for those who are ill,
particularly when resources are scarce and decisions are difficult.
All:
May compassion and understanding rule in heads and hearts.
Two:
God of the living:
we bear before you those who have lost loved ones.
All:
In grief and confusion may people everywhere know your peace.
Three:

Caring God:
we remember in your presence those who work in our Health Service
and all who care in communities, in residential homes and elsewhere.
All:
May they carry with grace the burdens of care
and meet with perseverance the demands placed on them in these days.

Four:
We are grateful for those working in laboratories and conducting research: testing samples, developing vaccines and seeking ways to limit infection spreading.
All:
Give them renewed strength to observe well,
work methodically, and proceed with determination
but not undue haste.

Five:
We pray as instructed for governments and authorities,
those whose decisions and declarations may be of lasting significance.
All:
May their decisions be wisely made,
based on sound advice,

and carefully considered for the common good.
Six:
We remember before you, God of the nations,
societies and communities across the face of the earth.
All:
Enable people in all places to seize opportunities
to demonstrate care and self-control;
not to seek profit or gain but to work for the benefit of all.
Seven:
We especially bear before you those who are most vulnerable:
people living alone, those who are poor, those who live rough. Bless the ministry of the Lodging House Mission in Glasgow, addressing deep need in challenging circumstances.
All:
May this crisis bring out the best in humankind, and not its worst.
May we build bridges and not barriers
as we seek to endure, protect and move forward.

Eight:
Bless, we ask, those whose work and income is adversely affected,
those who must amend long-cherished plans,
young people dealing with disrupted learning and exams.
All:
Give us imagination that creative ways
to continue to live and flourish may be found;

that helpful and sensitive ways
to keep in touch may be developed and used.

Nine:
Inspire us through your Spirit’s present help:
that we may live well,
that we may exercise faith, generosity, hope and love:
All:
that we may not be burdened by undue anxiety
but, rather, live full of trust,
a people of quiet hope in God’s care.
Ten:

We ask this confident that our ways are not disregarded by God,
All:
and trusting in the love of Christ now and always. Amen.

Hymn

When we find ourselves in trouble,
when we’re overwhelmed with care,
faith is shaken to foundations,
or we’re tempted to despair:
then it is we call on Jesus,
then we’re pleased to give him thanks;
then is time for peace and joy to
flow from Jesus to our hearts.

We determine we’ll keep praying,
not ignore the pain and needs.
We determine we’ll keep praying,
for our God hears all our pleas.
When surrounded by such sickness,
when we see a world in pain,
we will take it all to Jesus
for his love remains the same.
From Noel Richards

Blessing

One:
Most merciful God,
you saved the world you loved
by the death and resurrection of your Son:
grant that by faith in him
we may triumph in the power of his victory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
All:
May God our Redeemer
show us compassion and love. Amen.


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