Preparing for the National Day of Prayer

31.3.2020 | Moderator, Prayer, Church Life, Church leaders, COVID-19 Emergency

In a joint statement on Friday, Presbyterian Moderator, Rt Rev Dr William Henry, and the leaders of the Church of Ireland, Methodist Church in Ireland, Roman Catholic Church, and the Irish Council of Churches, together with other denominations and Christian organisations, issued a call to pray over the current Coronavirus emergency. It will take place on Palm Sunday.

Writing in a special blog today, Dr Henry provides some background and practical prayer points ahead of the forthcoming Day of Prayer, which will be held between 3pm and 4 pm on Palm Sunday, 5th April.

“The challenges faced by our world are without parallel in living memory, and the effect upon our society is stark. No one is untouched by the impact of this virus.

So, what is our first response? Yes, we will follow all government advice but let’s, with primary urgency, call upon the one who has the power to change and stop anything, ‘Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always’ (1 Chronicles 16:11), Dr Henry wrote.

“With the leaders of the main churches in Ireland, I have called for a National Day of Prayer throughout Ireland...Materials will be provided here on the PCI website, so get together with your family in prayer, and join me in asking God to deliver our land and our world.”

The Moderator concluded by saying, “I ask you to share this Call to Prayer so that across Ireland we are united in prayer in that hour.”

For everyone taking part, Dr Henry has provided a simple, flexible framework for spending an hour in prayer. He has also included particular prompts for prayer for children in each section.

Beginning with ‘Preparation: Calming our hearts to pray’, the Moderator has chosen Psalm 46:10, ‘Be still and know that I am God, which then leads in to The Lord’s Prayer. Dr Henry has then suggested the following setting:

  • Praise: Centring our thoughts on God as comforter and his work in us and through us - 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
  • Parable: Calling us to neighbourliness and community - Luke 10: 25-37
  • Promise: Creating peace through faith in Christ - John 16:33,
  • Parting: Committing one another to the Lord’s keeping - Numbers 6:24-26

You can read Dr Henry’s full blog here and listen to him talk about the National Day of Prayer in this short video.

In the Church Leaders’ statement, also paid tribute to everyone in the health and social care services and those in the frontline, for their courage in the battle against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Talking about National Day of Prayer on Palm Sunday, the Church Leaders said, “God loves the world and everyone in it. We will pray for those who are sick, and those feeling fearful; we will pray for those who have been bereaved and those who are isolated and alone. We will pray for our healthcare professionals, delivery drivers, essential workers and all who continue to work on the frontline. We will pray for, and with those in our communities, who are fearful about their employment and for those reaching out to provide food and shelter. We will pray for our families and friends, neighbours and civic, business and political leaders for the inevitable challenges that will arise in the coming days. We also remember those across our world who are similarly suffering. We pray for those working hard to produce new treatments and vaccines.

“Though we cannot meet as the gathered Church, we will end the hour united in prayer, asking for the Lord’s healing touch on our land and all its people. All are invited to pray, regardless of where they are in their own journey of faith, even if they have never prayed before. At this critical moment we will bring this land and our world before our loving God in prayer remembering that, “We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy” (Daniel 9:18).”

You can read the Church Leaders' full joint statement here.

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