“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6 (ESV)
There can be no more important time to pray than now. As the Covid virus spreads again, Christians across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole are rededicating themselves to work together, to be Hope-bringers to their neighbours, and above all, to pray for God’s Kingdom to come in our towns.
So, local church leaders are encouraging Christians across our towns to pray together now and especially through February – click here for the letter of introduction to “Pray February”
And here is a really useful summary of prayer points for the whole month put together by St Paul’s Canford Heath:
Faithworks and local church/Christian NGO leaders have created some resources below that might help you pray individually, in your church, and with Christians across the area. We’ll add new prayer points on a regular basis… so check in regularly!
From local Leaders:
Debbie Fleming, CEO hospitals:
“…We would ask that the following be included in any future prayers
- For our staff (and their families) – health & wellbeing and additional resilience & strength, given the need to manage a [further] wave of COVID on top of the usual winter pressures
- For our patients – that their treatment and care continues to be delivered to the best and within the safest standards possible, along with a speedy recovery and discharge home
- For our community (Dorset) – retaining the local partnerships and support across the healthcare system / local authority and more broadly i.e. businesses and people coming together
- On-going prayer for the ending of the pandemic and for the country to be able to bring this under control through (a) the vaccine and (b) the expansion of testing”
Ian Girling, Dorset Chamber of Commerce
“…Looking to the future, I would like people to pray for the wellbeing and future of so many employers who are worried about their businesses and employees who are worried about their livelihoods.
I would also like people to pray for those that are alone in this crisis. I count myself as extremely fortunate to live in a nice home with my family around me – it must be so hard for those living alone with no one around them who are very isolated – I can’t imagine.”
Martyn Underhill, Police & Crime Commissioner
“I lead nationally for MH and suicide, and Covid is having awful repercussions on our communities and their wellbeing. Please pray for those that are suffering from fear and poor mental health, it is always “ok to be not ok”.
Secondly, please pray for all of our emergency services, who are under such pressure to deal with Covid in their own lives as well as working to keep our communities safe
Also, please pray for our volunteers working tirelessly behind the scenes to feed the weak, the poor and the vulnerable during this awful time.”
Gracious God, like never before we thank you for the NHS. We thank you for those enlightened politicians who first set it up after the war. Above all, we thank you for what the NHS is doing now. Which means we thank you for the junior doctors and experienced consultants, so skilled. For compassionate nurses scared but dedicated, the heart of the ward. For ambulance crews there in minutes swift, and professional. For porters who get equipment to the right place at the right time, and cleaners who clean over and over again. For lab assistants and scientists working away behind the scenes, testing, testing, testing.
For those who do 100 other jobs, and we never know their names. Lord, thank you for all these people, bless them. Hold in your strong love all those heroes of the day. Our family members working their socks off. The Filipino nurse walking home wearily carrying her ready meal. The young doctor down the road setting off early each morning, the retired nurse next door who's gone back to the hospital.
Today may the NHS be held in the palm of your hand. For Jesus sake and for ours. Amen.
John Pritchard former Bishop of Oxford
Father God we praise you and give thanks for your love and goodness. (pause)
We thank you for answers to our prayers and that you are with us in all circumstances. (pause)
We thank you for the privilege of working alongside people in our towns showing them the love and hope of God’s heart. (pause)
We pray Lord that you would release your transforming love, power and hope on each individual within those towns, and we ask that you give us wisdom in our outreach so that your Kingdom may come on earth as in Heaven. (pause)
Father God we step out in Your confidence, strength and guidance to build your Kingdom to the glory and honour of Jesus, bringing hope and light to the world.
In Jesus name Amen.
We pray for your Protection and Deliverance from the Coronavirus
That anyone infected would be Healed
We ask for your wisdom for Healthcare professionals
and the leaders of Government
Lord, let the spread of Coronavirus stop in Jesus name.
God of hope be with me, calm my anxious mind and remove fear. Surround me, keep me safe until the threat passes. Surround me with love, and deliver me from evil.
Protect my family, preserve us O God, and keep us in health and provision. May my community, despite enforced isolation, be united through acts of loving kindness.
Surround us with love, and deliver us from evil.
Help those in the NHS as they care for the sick and deal with the virus; for businesses as they manage the economic challenges and for employees sent home. Surround them with love, and deliver them from evil.
Grant wisdom to our government and may the PM be surrounded by wise counsel. Guide their decisions today to lead us safely. Surround them with love, and deliver them from evil.
May those working to stop the pandemic globally make the breakthroughs they need to eradicate the virus. Reduce its impact on other nations affected today. Surround them with love, and deliver them from evil.
Churches have done their very best to adapt to the lockdown. Services and other activities have moved online. Contact has been maintained through telephone, zoom & social media. Church-based care for the community, e.g. food banks, has continued.
How will churches enable buildings to be open, scrupulously clean and safe? How will numbers of people be controlled and appropriate distancing maintained? If services for small numbers are able to begin, who comes, and who stays at home? How to maintain a sense of welcome, rather than control? How to have a sense of togetherness – when only a few are physically together, but also they must keep apart? What about communion? Or crèche? Or coffee? Or…?
Let’s pray for our church leaders as they ponder all of these difficult questions:
- that the Holy Spirit will strengthen the bonds of fellowship and unity.
- for those who must not or do not feel able to attend activities due to health reasons. Let’s pray for imaginative ways to ensure they feel completely included.
- for the right kind of impatience to worship, pray, learn, celebrate and simply be together as Church but that Christians will also be disciplined in patience, vigilance and grace, especially remembering those who are more vulnerable.
- for a volunteer army of gracious cleaners, door-openers and general welcomers to make possible opening up buildings and, when permitted, the beginning of services.
- that the Church can continue to be bold in being and proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ during lockdown and when it begins to loosen.
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (2 Tim 1:1-4)
Let’s remember all those who lead us in this area.
We are asking them for 3 things that we could pray for, but in the meantime, you might want to pray for Godly WISDOM, GRACE, and renewed ENERGY
These people include
- Councillor Drew Mellor, leader of the BCP Council
- Graham Farrant, CEO of BCP Council
- Kelly Ansell, Head of Communities for BCP Council
- Debbie Fleming, CEO of local NHS hospitals
- Sam Crowe, Director of Public Health, Dorset
- James Vaughan, Chief Constable, and local Chief Inspector Danny Thompson
- Faith & voluntary sector leaders
Over 300 people moved from rough sleeping or incredibly precarious housing situations in to emergency hotel/B&B accommodation back in March – for many this was the first “space” they had had for a long time.
Since then, over 80 have moved on to more secure accommodation. Many have seen an improvement in their health as they have good sleep and food (in many cases provided by churches and Christian NGOs).
However, some couldn’t live in such surroundings and returned to the street. Others found the boredom and isolation hard to bear and battled with addictions. Meanwhile others (including an increasing number of families) found themselves in similar need and were found a room in this emergency accommodation.
So, the homelessness landscape has radically changed – but will we be able to continue with this support?
Let’s praise God for what He has done, and pray:
- that local and national leaders will commit themselves (and the necessary finances) to maintaining this “everyone in” approach
- For those who are still on the street, that they will find hope and help
- For those who are finding it hard to maintain their current housing, that they will find help early and not become homeless
- That there will be a reduction in the amount of drugs on the street, and people in the emergency accommodation will not be drawn into that life
- That new housing provision will be found so that more and more of those in emergency accommodation will be able to have not just a room but a home of their own
- That the amazing new partnership working that has brought more than 50 charities, agencies and statutory services together around a common vision, will continue and bear fruit
- And that the work of churches and Christian NGOs (such as Routes to Roots and Faithworks/BCARS) will be fruitful and God-inspired
Lockdown is especially difficult for those who live alone. Young or old, introvert or extrovert, everyone will have times when they struggle.
It is hard for those who miss seeing family and friends, who miss a hug or sharing a coffee together. For some older people, connecting via social media and video calls may simply not be possible. The sense of isolation and worry can be especially acute when the person is classed as “vulnerable” due to health or age. Who will care for me if I’m ill? Will people even
notice? Lockdown may be eased but am I going to be left behind? Will I ever see my family again?
For some, isolation is decreasing confidence or increasing problems like anxiety or addictions. It is reported that some older people are not accepting or asking for help from neighbours because they “don’t want to make a fuss.”
So let’s pray for all who live alone
- That friends and family would be faithful in finding ways to talk or write to them and make them feel loved.
- That neighbours would find ways to show they care and will not automatically take “I’m fine” at face value.
- That the more vulnerable people alone would be safe and feel safe.
- That people would find ways to maintain their physical, mental and spiritual well being.
- That many folk living alone would find ways to be a real blessing to others, taking the initiative in interceding, in encouraging others, in finding other ways to help.
Let’s pray for those who seek to support
- For the BCP Council Community Development Team as they set up virtual coffee mornings
- For churches and others as they find ways to create togetherness for those who used to come along to lunch clubs etc. – For the PramaLIFE Friendship phone line (01202 022987: 7 days 8am-7pm)
There are a huge number of care and nursing homes in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (at least 1350 beds in Poole alone). There are also many, many carers and district nurses who visit people in their homes. They are under extreme pressure at the moment.
The responsibility of trying not to infect residents & clients is heavy. The risks they face themselves of picking up Covid-19 are reasonably high. They may not always have all the protective equipment they would like.
The responsibility on managers of care and nursing homes is acute. How do they keep everyone safe and maintain morale? How do they enable contact between residents and family? How do they nurse those who fall ill with Covid-19 and isolate them from others? This will especially be hard when looking after those who live with memory loss. It is, of course, very hard for the cared for – and them may well be more vulnerable to infection than if they were at home.
There are also many people who are caring for elderly or sick or family members or those with special needs. In normal times, there would perhaps be day care, respite care, special needs education and other support services available. Lockdown has removed these. Isolation is likely to be especially hard.
So let’s pray. Here are some suggestions but pray for anyone you know by name under these headings:
- that all carers will feel appreciated by us all and be motivated to persevere in being as careful as they can in staying safe and keeping their clients and residents safe.
- for care home managers to be able to handle the stress and have all that they need to keep people safe and motivate their staff to continue to be excellent in all their work.
- for divine protection over care and nursing homes and the vulnerable living at home. Maybe commit to praying for a care or nursing home near where you live.
- for resilience and patience for all who care for family members and that some support would still be available.
- that carers would have both the equipment and the virus tests that they require.
- that the most vulnerable would feel safe, respected and cared for with compassion; pray for any who feel “imprisoned” at home.
- especially for those with memory loss or mental health issues, including those being treated at St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital. The stress of lockdown or the incomprehension of lockdown may make their vulnerability worse.
Lockdown is not easy for anyone. Those living on their own may face the emotional hardship of loneliness. But it can also be really tough for families when there’s no release from being together as school, work and leisure activities or seeing other people become impossible.
It can be especially hard for lone parents who must care for / teach / entertain their children. And how do they buy essentials when the shops don’t really want their children to come along?
Some relationships were fine until the pressure of coronavirus was piled on. Others were already in trouble. How many families will break? How much more child or domestic abuse might there be?
Other families would be fine but sudden financial pressure is creating great tension.
There are agencies and charities who are finding ways to help online, and emergency refuges are still available – but it is not easy. And it can be really difficult for someone who is struggling to ask for or accept help.
So, let’s pray:
- for peace, patience, forgiveness, creativity and fun in family homes across the BCP area.
- for all parents with children at home to have strength, love, wisdom and confidence as they care, entertain and teach.
- for parents caring for children on their own. May they find ways to connect with friends and others who can encourage and support. Pray for Smile which provides online peer to peer support.
- for families where relationships are straining. Wherever possible, may people want to prioritise protecting and healing those relationships, taking on changes of attitude and behaviour that are needed. But, where danger has come, may God protect. Pray that people will seek and receive hel
Here at ICN supporting refugees and vulnerable migrants we would appreciate prayer as follows:
- Pray for refugee families who are separated from loved ones, isolated at home and who are anxious about the virus, as it brings back memories of previous traumatic experiences.
- Pray for ICN, much wisdom is needed as we open up our much needed ESOL classes, homework clubs and creches in a Covid secure way.
- Pray for a new, younger generation of staff taking over the leadership and management of ICN in the coming weeks and months.
- Give thanks for BCP council’s continuing support and welcome for asylum seekers and refugees in Dorset.
There are many excellent prayer resources that you might find helpful – here are a few we have found:
- “Daily Hope” offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line: 0800 804 8044
When the multitudes needed food, Jesus provided for them. He found out what resources were available, brought order to the crowds and organised a delivery mechanism. But the most important action was prayer, thanking God for the meal and asking for His blessing. (See Matthew 14: 13-21)
There are so many people in our area who need support to get basic groceries. And there are plenty of efforts to make sure that no one runs out of what they need. Let’s pray for God to bring need and supply together, to multiply resources and bring great blessing.
Let’s pray that the Lord makes sure that
- All the necessary people, agencies, businesses & charities are able to work together well.
- All the necessary volunteers, vehicles, storage and other equipment are available.
- People get the information they need, especially those in sudden desperate need.
- Issues get sorted like payment (where needed) without getting to the bank or accessing e-vouchers for foodbanks.
- There are enough groceries so that all are provided for and that worries subside.
- All this provision will be done without putting anyone’s health in danger.
Thanks for praying that God will bless all those involved with and served by