A Prayer of Hope

Added about 5 months ago by Ian Black

A prayer by Ian Black seeking to find hope in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

God of hope and consolation,
in times of anxiety,
may we be drawn by your hope,
not driven by fear.

In sickness and in health,
may we find your song of praise
to lift our heads in thanksgiving and joy.

When times are hard,
inspire us with your generous love
to be mindful of the needs of all people.

In isolation and physical distance,
helps us to reach out to others
with words of encouragement and companionship.

Bless all whose work ensures our common well-being,
that together we may travel through this vale of misery
to the bright dawn of your new tomorrow,
which is always much greater than the past; 
through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Amen.
 

Commentary
 

Hope and consolation, with which the prayer begins, are the two guiding themes I wanted to hold: hope that all shall be well and that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8: 38-39); consolation because there will be so many tears and some will be so hard to console.

Anxiety: this is a majorly anxious time for everyone. It is behind any of our experience. “Drawn by hope, not driven by fear” is a phrase that Nick Baines used and I liked it.

In sickness and in health” is borrowed from the marriage service, but it recognises that this prayer needs to cope with the darkness, not just smother it “and this too will pass”. It will, but we might not make it through! However, may we have a song of praise whatever comes. God is God.

Generous love” and “mindful of the needs of all” are a counter to the panic buying, stripping the shelves so there is nothing for anyone else.

Reaching out in isolation and physical distance reflect that while we are separated physically we do not have to be separated socially; indeed we need to remain connected, to encourage and be alongside.

There are those who are working to keep common life functioning and the prayer seeks their blessing. As we “travel through this vale of misery”—it is, but here this reflects the valley of the shadow of death in Psalm 23 and looks for the bright dawn of Easter hope, where the promise is beyond our imagining. It is greater than the past because, according to the Astronomer Royal, the universe is not quite half way through its life expectancy, so there is so much more ahead. In God’s grace there is life beyond measure, so we look forward in hope.


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