Midday Prayers during COP26

Wednesday 3rd November

Forgiving God, we recognise that we have avoided your call, shirked responsibilities and mis-stewarded your gifts to us.

God forgive us; Let your grace live within us

Sharing God; we have resisted expressing your life and bringing to birth your kin-dom.

God forgive us; Let your grace live within us

God who first loved us, help us to love others by forgiving. 

God forgive us; Let your grace live within us.

(Adapted from https://ourcommonprayer.org/2021/09/07/wednesdays-in-climate-emergency/?relatedposts_hit=1&relatedposts_origin=1824&relatedposts_position=0&relatedposts_hit=1&relatedposts_origin=1824&relatedposts_position=0)

Reading: God’s mercy is for those who revere him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their seats of power, and lifted up the vulnerable; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. Luke 1:50-53

On this the third day of COP26 the focus will be on finance, so let us pray:- 

We pray for all the participants,

the decision-makers and the protestors,

the bureaucrats and the prayerful,

influencers and bankers,

shareholders and investors.

May they recognise and understand 

the need to finance what is good for the environment,

to assist those who are vulnerable,

to shift from carbon production to green industries,

to plan for long term not short term gain.

Loving and patient God,

may your will be done.

All: Amen.

We stand at a tipping point, O God,

teetering between life and death:

Shall we fall or rise?

“Chose life!” 

Shall we retreat into our shells, bury our heads in the sand:

Or shall we step forth into a new age of sustainability?

“Chose life!”

Shall we ignore the science, hide ourselves in the trappings of consumerism:

Or shall we openly embrace renewable lifestyles?

“Chose life!”

Shall we pointlessly mourn the loss of polar bears and elephants, bees and butterflies:

Or shall we live our lives so that all may live?

“Chose life!”

Shall we fly to the ends of the earth while ice sheets melt:

Or value the future by enjoying what is local?

“Chose life!”

Shall we disregard floods and droughts, storms and heat waves, as seasonal blips:

Or acknowledge them as already-present signs of climate change?

“Chose life!”

Shall we close our ears to cries of help from farmers and islanders as their lands disappear:

Or shall we join voices in calling for justice?

“Chose life!”

Holy God,

Prompt us and urge us, encourage and propel us,

to now change our life styles so that all may have life and live!

Amen.

Midday Prayers during COP26

Tuesday

We come with faith: 

and we seek understanding.

We come with doubts: 

and we seek understanding.

We come with griefs: 

and we seek understanding.

Pause 

Equip us and strengthen us 

To lean into the flourishing of life on earth. 

Knowing we are enmeshed in the harming of your creation, 

Redeem our failures and bind up the wounds of past mistakes.

Pause 

Rework our anger as energy for repair of the world 

Refashion our guilt as active love. 

And for all this, nature is never spent; 

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; *

Wherever we will tread is crammed with heaven 

And every common bush afire with God.**

(with acknowledgements to *Gerard Manley Hopkins,** Elizabeth Barret Browning;https://ourcommonprayer.org/2021/05/06/climate-emergency/)

Reading: Therefore the LORD God sent them out of the Garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which they were taken. After sending them out, the LORD God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And the Lord God placed a sword of flame that turned back and forth to protect the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3: 23-24

On this the second full day of discussions and decision-making at COP26, let us pray:- 

We pray for all the participants,

the decision-makers and the protestors,

the bureaucrats and the prayerful.

May they recognise and understand 

the interconnectedness of creation, 

the fine balance of ecosystems,

the necessity of biodiversity 

and our dependence on safe carbon levels.

We pray for scientists and environmentalists

whose skills sustain and protect 

the long-term well being 

of our environment, our lives, our world.

Loving and patient God,

may your will be done.

All: Amen.

Painted lady and bumble bee

damsel and  dragon fly: 

their lives praise you, holy God.

Wood mouse and pipistrelle bat,

urban fox and badger:

their lives praise you, holy God.

Buttercup and toadflax, 

cat’s ear and pimpernel:

their lives praise you, holy God.

Girdled snail and leopard slug, 

shield beetle and earwig:

their lives praise you, holy God.

Copper beech and sessile oak, 

black poplar and mountain ash: 

their lives praise you, holy God.

Yaffle and mistle thrush,

jackdaw and sparrow:

their lives praise you, holy God.

But we humans – blinkered and wasteful, 

short-sighted and careless –

do our lives praise you, holy God?

Renew us, your people;

pardon our failings

and bless our strivings 

that our lives may praise you.

Amen. 

Midday Prayers during COP26: Monday

Compassionate God, you know our hearts and share our sorrows.

We are hurt by the despoiling of the living Earth, which we love.

We are angry at the loss we contemplate. 

We long for words of comfort, yet find them hard to hear.

Turn our grief to active love

Turn our anger to energy for repair of the world

Turn our guilt to solidarity

and by your forgiveness make us whole with all creation.

All: Amen Andii Bowsher, Green Christians 

A short reading: Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. James 1:19

As the climate talks start in earnest at COP26, let us pray.

We pray for all the participants,

the decision-makers and the protestors,

the bureaucrats and the prayerful.

May they be gifted with empathy, 

with patience and with determination.

May they be good listeners and considered speakers.

May they be guided by science rather than politics,

by the collective needs of the world rather than short term self interest.

Loving and patient God,

may your will be done.

All: Amen.

A drop of water

falls.

Drip.

Another.

Drip.

Drip, drop – more fall.

The drip becomes a trickle;

drip, drip, drop –

the trickle a stream.

The stream becomes a river,

a down pour, a torrent – 

surge, rush, roar.

A flood begins with just a drip.

Snow.

Sun on snow.

A little warmth,

a little melting.

A moment of easing,

loosening,

a shifting of weight,

gathering momentum-

And whoosh!

A million tonnes of speeding snow.

An avalanche begins with just one flake of snow.

A swallow

perched on a telephone wire,

teeters slightly.

Now or later?

One swallow, two.

Another, three. Sway.

Now or later?

Four, six;

Eight, ten. Now?

Gather, check, sense the air.

Now? Now!

Up and away,

wings beat, compass set.

Off – 

Fare well.

Where one or two are gathered,

change begins.

May God bless our endeavours.

This time of prayer finishes with the Grace.

Praising God

Maxpixel painted lady butterfly

Painted lady and bumble bee

damsel and  dragon fly: 

their lives praise you, holy God.

Wood mouse and pipistrelle bat,

urban fox and badger:

their lives praise you, holy God.

Buttercup and toadflax, 

cat’s ear and pimpernel:

their lives praise you, holy God.

Girdled snail and leopard slug, 

shield beetle and earwig:

their lives praise you, holy God.

Copper beech and sessile oak, 

black poplar and mountain ash: 

their lives praise you, holy God.

Yaffle and mistle thrush,

jackdaw and sparrow:

their lives praise you, holy God.

But we humans – blinkered and wasteful, 

short-sighted and careless –

do our lives praise you, holy God?

Renew us, your people;

pardon our failings

and bless our strivings 

that our lives may praise you.

Amen. 

Using our Senses

Listen; attune your ears – what do you hear? 

The excited chatter of children,

and the chatter of jackdaws,

wind rustling the leaves,

and feet tapping the road.

Or the drone of cars – too much!

Or the whine of planes – too many!

Look; focus your vision – what do you see?

a lacework of branches against the sky,

and curvaceous clouds,

tawny shades of fallen leaves,

and the tight curl of a snail shell.

Or traffic crawling bumper to bumper – too much

Or discarded tatters of plastic – too many!

Stretch; bare your skin – what do you feel?

The warm caress of the sun, 

the chilly nip of the breeze,

the prickle of grass,

the textured bark of a tree

Or the rasp of exhaust in your throat – too much!

Or the scratch of particulates in your eyes – too many!

Sniff; breathe deeply – what do you smell?

The aroma of fresh coffee,

and the zest of orange juice,

the fragrance of the last rose,

and the warmth of ground spices.

Or the reek of petrol – too much!

Or the sting of pesticides – too many!

Savour; let it linger on your tongue – what do you taste?

The fresh acidity of an apple, 

and the earthy satisfaction of bread,

the squashy sweetness of banana,

and the melting delight of chocolate.

Or the fake sweetness of green wash – too much!

Or the gall of climate injustice- too many !

Merciful God, 

bring us to  our senses.

Help us rebuild a world 

of right experiences.

Amen.

Where one or two …

 

A drop of water

falls.

Drip.

Another.

Drip.


Drip, drop – more fall. 

The drip becomes a trickle;

Drip, drip, drop -.

the trickle a stream.

The stream becomes a river,

a down pour, a torrent –

surge, rush, roar.


A flood begins with just a drip. 

Snow.

Sun on snow. 

A little warmth,

a little melting.

A moment of easing,

    loosening, 

         a shifting of weight.

                 gathering momentum –

 And whoosh! 

A million tonnes of speeding snow.


An avalanche begins with just one flake.

A swallow

perched on the telephone wire,

testers slightly. 

Now or later?

One swallow, two.

Another, three. Sway.

Now or later?

Four, six; 

Eight, ten. Now?

Gather, check, sense the air.

Now? Now!

Up, and away, 

wings beat, compass set,  

off – 

fare well.


Where one or two are gathered, 

change begins.

May God bless our endeavours.

Rejoice!

May my heart be an altar  

pure and simple

where I praise God.

Not in oil fields 

but in wheat fields 

does my heart rejoice.

Not stuck behind the wheel

but freely on two wheels

does my heart rejoice.

Not coddle by a boiler 

but warmed by the sun 

does my heart rejoice.

Not gorging on steak 

but feasting on beans 

does my heart rejoice.

Not jetting above the earth 

but swimming in the water 

does my heart rejoice. 

Nor gasping on fumes 

but smelling fresh rain 

does my heart rejoice.

Not imprisoned by concrete 

but shaded by trees 

does my heart rejoice.

Not deafened but explosions 

but transfixed by bird song 

does my heart rejoice.

Not by hoarding everything 

but sharing with all 

does my heart rejoice.

.

Accept my praise, 

and my joy, 

Lord of my heart.

The Fragrance of God

I have no burnt offerings, 

nor fragrant incense to offer –

Yet I will praise you,

God in highest heaven,

for the joy of the gift of smell.


The tantalising aroma

of fresh coffee beans

that presages 

a heart-lifting brew.


The apple-ripe scent 

of yeast

and the warm smell

of fresh baked bread.


The fragrance of strawberries 

perfectly captured

in the jam,

as a delight all year round.


The complex layers

of red wine,

hints of berries and spice,

intoxicating my nose.


The sweet perfume of honeysuckle

and rose,

when I peer into the heart 

of each delicate bloom.


The smell of the river,

with muted undertones 

of weed and mud,

floats along on the breeze.


The musk of the stag

as the rut begins;

and the tang

of autumn’s decaying leaves.


Thanks be to you, Our God,

for such fragrant offerings

that lift heart and soul

in endless praise.

Running Prayer

 

Running, step by step

Mile after mile.

Left, right, left, right.

Leg forwards and pull back.

Breathe.

Running, step by step

Mile after mile.

Under trees, across the grass, 

along a track, follow the path.

Breathe.

Running, step by step

Mile after mile.

Frees the mind to engage with God.

God in this space sharing my thoughts.

Breathe.

Running, step by step

Mile after mile.

Green, the glory of God,

grandeur of trees, panoply of sky.

Breathe.

Running, step by step

Mile after mile.

A rosary of prayers for those I love, 

for those on my heart.

Breathe.

Running, step by step

Mile after mile.

Baring my soul, God may your will be done –

this world: its plight, our mistakes.

Breathe.

Running, step by step

Mile after mile.

Strained, worn down, 

stay firm, keep faith.

Breathe.

Stop. Rest.

Amen.

Lord, who controls my life?

The Sun that wakes me in the morning, 

or the dark that lets me sleep at night?

The seasons that provide times for growing and harvesting, 

food to eat and food to store?

The cycle of the years that moves me from infant vulnerability 

to mature accountability – and back?

Shop windows, supermarket displays and the internet browser 

that urge me to ‘Buy! Buy! Buy!’?

Businesses who use my money to fund their profits 

yet cheat on wages and despoil the earth?

Financiers who see only the £ sign 

and neither the beauty nor the poverty of the world?

Governments who make the rules they then bend, 

who promise a future they won’t deliver?

Is it me – sometimes misguided, sometimes mistaken – 

with the choices I can make?

Or could it be you Lord God, 

if I would trust, if I would open my heart to you?