As the Church’s senior office bearer, and principal public representative, the Moderator can call the Church to prayer at any time over any issue. On this occasion, he has written to all ministers in PCI’s 500-plus congregations across Ireland calling the Presbyterian family to pray over the weekend of 27-29 November, which includes the first Sunday in Advent.
Having written to ministers, Dr Bruce has also recorded a special call to prayer message for the Church, which you can watch on this page. Beginning with the stark words, ‘We need to pray’, the Moderator encourages members to pray, not only for Ireland in these days of pandemic and for PCI’s partners overseas, who have been devastated by Covid-19, but also the ‘big decisions facing us as Brexit approaches at the end of December’.
In his video, Dr Bruce said, “This is an important message for the whole church. We need to pray. These are times of deep challenge and crisis for the whole of our society – and we in the churches are facing our share of demands as we have had to reinvent almost everything we have been doing….
“As I’ve said, many of our congregations can’t meet in the normal way, and I also know that many others are using Zoom or other online conferencing apps to help them get together. Can I encourage you to make space over the weekend of 27th – 29th November to pray for our land, for our partners overseas who have been devastated by these events, for the big decisions facing us as Brexit approaches at the end of December, and for our commitment as the people of God to be faithful to his calling and command to be his witnesses in the world, come what may. Let us call out to God as a people united in this purpose.”
Speaking about his call to prayer, Dr Bruce said, “Prayer is the ultimate expression of our helplessness. We pray because we desperately need to – and in the firm belief that prayer materially affects the course of human events. Prayer changes things. When we pray we are invited by God to tell him what we think, and to align ourselves with his will. He hears our passion and pain.
“Paul teaches in Ephesians that we need to “pray always, on all occasions and with all kinds of prayers and requests”. In issuing this call to pray to the whole church, I am simply doing what God’s Word clearly tells us to do.”
As part of his call the Moderator also acknowledged that PCI’s congregations in the Republic of Ireland were still closed for face-to-face worship, while in Northern Ireland, the restrictions on the Church’s activities were constantly under review. As a result, the call to prayer is one of a group of initiatives, along with resources, that the Church is launching in the run up to Christmas for congregational use, under the broad title ‘At home for Christmas?’
With specific prayer points, you can find more about the Weekend of Prayer, here.