Together we pray

Have you heard?

This year, the General Assembly asked the Church to focus on prayer and particularly to pray as the Church thinks about its priorities for the future.

Source: http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/connect/together_we_pray

Back story

In 2016 a series of meetings were held around Scotland
a) to listen to the hopes and concerns of church members and
b) to explore solutions to the challenges of ministry and discipleship in the 21st century.

One of the outcomes is a prayer initiative called “Together We Pray” that runs from September 2017 to the next General Assembly in May 2018, with a National Day of Prayer scheduled for 25 November 2017.

“Our hope is that through Together We Pray, people will join together bringing all of life before God in prayer and imagine the future for the Church of Scotland and our communities.”

It would be good if we, as the International Presbytery of the Church of Scotland, also responded to this call to prayer, giving “Together We Pray” an international dimension.


Check out the Church of Scotland website for inspirational resources and for information on how you and your congregation can get involved.

God of grace

The World News in Prayer entry for this week weaves together the particulars of current events with the John Newton song Amazing Grace in a prayer to the God of grace, relief and safety.

You can find the prayer here.

Why not use one of your favourite hymns as an inspiration for prayer this week?


See also: Balm to heal the world

Tips for using a Prayer Sheet

List of prayer sheet blog posts

I’ve been compiling prayer sheets for some years now. It’s my way of “preparing the way for the Lord” (Isaiah 40:3) when asked to lead a prayer meeting. The prayer sheet serves as a framework, with prayers and responses to share, as well as room for silence, personal concerns and spontaneous prayer.

I’ve repurposed some of the prayer sheets to share via the blog, with more in the pipeline. I’m also keen to compile prayer sheets to complement the theme of the month. A prayer sheet on a water-related theme is already in the making.

Prayer sheet blog posts include all the individual components, as well as a link to a pdf version in a handy format you can print out for personal use or to share.

My friend, Margriet, has a whole collection of prayer sheets that I’ve compiled over the years. She often has one tucked in her diary to refer to when she needs a moment for contemplation in her busy life. She says: “I draw strength from the prayers and readings so I can better help others.” For my part, I’m grateful that the prayer sheets continue to bear fruit.

Some ideas for using a prayer sheet in its printed form

1. Annotate the prayer sheet to personalize it, adding related verses, prayers and prayer requests.

2. Use the prayer sheet as a book mark, or keep a copy in your journal/diary, so you can refer to it when you have a moment for reflection.

3. Take a few copies with you on holiday to use as an aid to contemplation while out in nature or other quiet spot. On your own or with family/travel companions.

4. Take copies of a prayer sheet on an appropriate theme with you when you visit someone who might appreciate a time of prayer and reflection together. Possibly leave a copy with them.

5. Use a prayer sheet as a devotional with your Bible Study group or in family worship.

Prayer sheets currently available

Theme: Sharing in Jesus’ ministry
Theme: Do not lose heart
Theme: God makes all things new
Theme: Ever sustaining


If you have ideas or stories related to the use of prayer sheets, please share them in the comments.

Word study: Shema

The Bible Project
Someone in my congregation sent me a glowing commendation for The Bible Project, especially their video devoted to the first word of the ancient biblical prayer called “The Shema”.

Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

(Deuteronomy 6:4-5, NIVUK)

The second video in the series explores the word, “Lord”.
Here’s the link.

Four more videos to come in the series.

About the series

“For thousands of years Jewish people have daily prayed these words which summarize the Bible’s call for faithfulness and devotion to God. We will explore all of the key words in this prayer and what they meant in their original language and historical context.” (https://thebibleproject.com/product/word-study-shema-listen-2/)

Balm to heal the world

Balm definition from dictionary.com

The World News in Prayer entry for this week is pretty moving in the wake of recent attacks in Manchester and London and the fear and anger these attacks inspire in us and in our leaders. I want to commend it to you.

You can find the prayer here.

I was particularly taken with this paragraph:

“So again I turn to all the pieces of my faith – to hymns and scriptures, to prayer and worship. Maybe there is a Balm in Gilead, or a Blessed Assurance, even an Amazing Grace.” (World News in Prayer June 8, 2017)

The reference to the “Balm of Gilead” (Jeremiah 8:22) really resonated with me since I was inspired to use the phrase “balm of Calvary” in one of my recent songs, a song called All is accomplished.

Verse 1
All is accomplished,
He bowed his head.
The man, the crucified
His name be blessed.
He bore the blame,
became accursed.
He is the the balm of Calvary
that heals the world.