Thinking Anglicans

Churches to hold month of prayer as second lockdown begins

Church of England press release

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York and a number of senior church leaders are inviting Christians across the nation to participate in the month of prayer as a second lockdown in England comes into force.

Throughout the month, Christians will be encouraged to pray daily for a specific area of national concern, wherever they are, culminating in a collective moment of prayer at 6pm each evening, with cathedrals and churches across the country invited to ring a bell at this time.

Christians will be encouraged to follow a simple seven-day prayer cycle, praying for a specific area each day including the NHS and frontline workers, the bereaved, and those struggling with physical and mental ill-health, and for children and young people.

Prayers and other resources will be shared on social media with the hashtag #PrayerForTheNation.

The prayer call has the support of senior church leaders including Churches Together in England (CTE) Presidents Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales; Pastor Agu Irukwu, the CTE Pentecostal president; His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, and the CTE Orthodox President; and Pete Greig, Founder of 24-7 Prayer International and Senior Leader of Emmaus Road, Guildford. It is also being supported by the Church of England’s House of Bishops.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “On the brink of this second lockdown we might understandably feel helpless, anxious and vulnerable. And we do what we can to halt the spread of this virus – but we can still feel powerless.

“Is there anything else we can do? Really do?

“Yes. Yes there is. We can pray. Prayer is my first response when I feel out of my depth, when I need help, when I am worried, when I am concerned for those I love.
It is a gift that God gives to all – whether you are a regular pray-er or not – bring your cares and the cares of the nation to God. For God loves and hears and holds. Prayer changes things.”

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said: “Prayer changes things. It changes things by inviting God into the room.

“At this challenging time when all of us are fearful and anxious, and when so many are suffering, it is the one thing we can all do.

“We can pray and invite God to change us, giving us the solace, strength and comfort we need for the difficult winter that is ahead of us.

“Let’s pray together at this difficult time.”

A selection of resources to suit Christians from across all denominations and traditions, and those exploring faith at this challenging time, will be made available on the Church of England website to guide prayer during this period.

This includes several newly written prayers for the nation from Archbishop Stephen Cottrell, NT Wright and Pete Greig.

Cathedrals will ring a bell as a call to prayer for the nation throughout the month. The Dean of Lichfield, Adrian Dorber, who is Chair of the Association of English Cathedrals, said:

“We know our cathedrals are places of assurance and inspiration for many people when life is tough and hope is short, and now more than ever, it is important to show our presence and mark each day of this lockdown with prayers, and keep a time each evening to ring our bells as a call to pray for our nation.”

The call to prayer comes as both Archbishops, in a letter issued last weekend, encouraged churches to redouble their efforts to serve their local communities – caring for the elderly and most vulnerable – ahead of the second lockdown.

To find out more information about the invitation to pray visit: churchofengland.org/PrayerForTheNation.

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Father David
18 days ago

Just as George Carey’s “Decade of Evangelism” proved to be far too long a period of time and ultimately failed in its objectives, I wonder if a month of prayer might similarly be too long a period of time? Would not a National Day of Prayer prove to be the better and more effective option such as King George VI encouraged during the dark days of Workd War II?

Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
18 days ago

I remember well the calls to prayer by our King during the war. He was as a young man, one of my heroes.
Good to see the positive influence by Stephen Ebor on communications from the two Archbishops. I believe the call to prayer a very positive move.. Perhaps a liturgist could produce an up to date Litany for Church members use.

Fr John Emlyn

Philip Groves
Philip Groves
17 days ago

I do love our Archbishops, but I wonder if they know we pray every month.

Father Ron Smith
17 days ago

It seems that God does hear our prayers. Just look at what is happening in the U.S. Elections! It may well be that normal democratic process will be allowed to continue – despite desperate efforts from the While House to extinguish opposition. TBTG.

ACI
ACI
16 days ago

I’m glad your divine confidence extends to keeping the gavel in Senate Republican hands and giving Ms. Pelosi a hiding in the House! Blue Wave indeed…

father Ron Smith
16 days ago
Reply to  ACI

Make no mistake, Christopher. My support, from here in N.Z., has been solidly for the believing Catholic, Joe Biden, whose eirenic faith has alreadfy given him the electoral and moral victory over Trump’s Fundamentalist allies.

Jill Armstead
Jill Armstead
15 days ago

He supports abortion and same sex marriage.

Father Ron Smith
15 days ago
Reply to  Jill Armstead

He supports the primacy of one’s own conscience. Not a bad thing!

ACI
ACI
14 days ago

A good protestant, individualist opinion, uttered as if self-evident, going back to Jan Hus and Martin Luther. And here, from ‘Father’ Ron!

ACI
ACI
15 days ago

Just out of curiosity, what is a ‘believing’ Catholic? Sounds like a Protestant adjective. Or is this a way to avoid the usual word, ‘practicing’, given that he has been denied communion? This is not an arch reply. I just do not know what you mean.

I get it that Trump irritates people. Many feel they have not much choice, given the corrupt character of silicon valley and mainstream media in the USA, and Democrat alternatives. I have been living in France where, given all their own failures/challenges, at least this has not transpired.

Be well.

Father Ron Smith
15 days ago
Reply to  ACI

We, here in N.Z., use the word ‘practising’ Christian, which is what Joe is – as opposed to the previous POTUS, whose spiritual advisor must be pretty disappointed with the outcome of her raucous prayers in the White house – claiming it to be ‘holy ground’ recently, not being answered for her boss. Incidentally, Joe IS a regular Mass attendee – together with his family!

ACI
ACI
14 days ago

I get the allergy to Trump. You spoke of Biden as a ‘believing Catholic’ — an odd phrase.

ACI
ACI
15 days ago

I just checked on absentee voting in NZ, or mailed out ballots. Pray you do not come to a place in trusting electronic vs human individual voting, which makes the USA distinctive vis a vis most Western countries. Voting over several weeks, relying on computer programming, votes counted after the day — I pray this never comes to a country like yours (which has about the same number of people as one state in the USA, Louisiana). Let’s let loathing Donald Trump not run interference for a monster that has been released this voting year. I do not want my… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
15 days ago
Reply to  ACI

You may have heard, Christopher, that there is a global pandemic called ‘COVID19’ which – even in little old New Zealand – had required the government to allow many of the public to vote by post. In the U.S. this was surely much more necessary (considering the terrible toll of COVID infection and deaths, partly due to Trump-fuelled disregard of infection dangers). However – despite being prayed for by his Pentecostal S.D. in the White House, claiming it to be ‘Holy Ground’ for her boss – this did not stop Trump trying to declare postal votes ‘Invalid’ (excepting those voting… Read more »

ACI
ACI
14 days ago

Here is one big difference between you and me. I know little about NZ and so know enough to say little. It is a country the size of Colorado with the population of Louisiana, and so impossible to compare culturally, geographically or politically. Mail-out ballots was an idea condemned previously by Democrats, because of the problems inherent in it. I voted in person and I suspect the number of people who did so and got covid is .0000000%.

ACI
ACI
14 days ago

Let me un-flummox you. In places with long history, it works as you describe the situation in the UK. You speak of ‘several decades.’ So the system is in place, has been road tested, kinks got out.

That reality pertains in about 15% of the USA.

And of course, how much larger is the USA. Five times? And the UK is a nationalized voting system.

The USA voting is a state-by-state reality, fifty states, fifty different systems. There is simply no analogy in the UK. None.

I hope the flummox is at peace now!

Stanley Monkhouse
14 days ago
Reply to  ACI

I’m enjoying this lively exchange, just as I enjoy US politics – it’s a laugh. It’s good to know Fr Ron’s God sees it in such black/white terms. I’m not so sure. Reportedly there are plenty of nasty grubs wriggling about under the good Catholic’s stones. Froghole directed me to this – it’s worth reading: https://greenwald.substack.com/p/no-matter-the-liberal-metric-chosen
and so is Gabriel Byrne about US politics in yesterday’s Guardian.

ACI
ACI
14 days ago

Thank you very much Mr Monkhouse. Having lived abroad for a good deal of my life it is good to see a sober look at the realities involved. Lots of people who ‘support’ Trump just see the alternative as ghastly/ier. Great essay.

ACI
ACI
14 days ago

You have to live here to get the obvious hypocrisy. No one should vote in person, but 10s of thousands are cheek to jowl celebrating in DC the very day after.

Thank God Trump’s Operation Warp Speed has given rise to the Pfizer vaccine, as news breaks this morning. Two doses with 90% effectiveness.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
15 days ago
Reply to  ACI

I suspect there will now be quite a struggle over the future direction of the Republican party.

ACI
ACI
15 days ago
Reply to  Perry Butler

Why would you say that? I think most people wonder what kind of Democrat government ensues. The ‘squad’ almost immediately doubled down on their stance against Biden’s instincts (which is why other Democrats have been denouncing them).

I doubt that Mitch McConnell has very much to worry about in his party, but will Ms Pelosi retain control? She lost a good number of seats.

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