Prayers for Planet Earth and COP26 - Week One
The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31st October – 12th November 2021. Leading up to that event Deacon Cedric May is writing a series of prayers, one for each day of the month throughout October. The theme is "Prayers for the Planet and COP26".
Here are the first week's prayers:
Father of All,
We bring our prayers for planet Earth, our neighbour we are commanded to love and cherish, our Mother who cradled us into existence and whom we are hurting and who is crying out in pain. We bring our prayers for our sisters and brothers here and around the world, on the move, seeking a refuge from what we are doing to their homes and their children.
We praise you for your creative power and the beauty and abundance of your creation. Thank you for our gardens, for the green which bathes our eyes and the flowers , great and tiny, the giant Verbascum and the tall sunflowers and the winking oxalis, the violets, the cranesbill and ivy leaved toadflax. Bless them to us, Lord; source of refreshment and fair graciousness. Your precious gift to us.
Lay your gentle hand on Alok Sharma, your servant charged with the heavy task of chairing the meetings of COP26 in Glasgow in November. 193 nations, 4,000 negotiators, countless scientific advisers, hosts of journalists, whole armies of protestors, the police in serried ranks. Keep them all safe and keep him in your protection, in Jesus name we pray.
“Nowhere near enough,”
Our politicians are doing nowhere near enough. Our churches are doing nowhere near enough, we as individuals are doing nowhere near enough to avert the impending climate catastrophe. The signs, the threats are everywhere around us. Open our eyes, dear Father of all, to see the signs of the times, to read your precious word: “Today, if you will hear my voice …” Today’s prophets are the scientists, the biologists particularly who see nature dying. Wake us up, Lord, to your truth.
What is net carbon zero?
It means that we compensate for inevitable carbon emissions – car, bus, train, aeroplane travel, house heating, electricity production other than from renewable sources – by our serious efforts at decarbonisation – tree planting, peat bog conservation, solar panels, house insulation, minimal waste disposal, walking, cycling and electrification of all forms of transport, air-pumps and ground –pumps and all ways of maximising our use of God’s gracious provision of life through sunshine.
And then, in the 3 Circuits update, over the signature of dear Angy: “set a target of net zero by 2030. Deliver this target in partnership with our local communities.” What magic, what words of grace and power, and we can do it with the might of your arm, Lord.
We can’t face failure. Are we a race of failures, Lord? Are we on earth to be humbled by our near success? You humbled the Israelites in the wilderness (Deuteronomy 8) and perhaps we need this again. We are making the wilderness this time. But this time it’s human civilisation at stake. Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.
We thank you for raising up Greta Thunberg to be a role model and a spokesperson for young people today. She has been the target of shameless media attacks as all your prophets in the past. Keep her safe and protect her fearless word to us.
She is not certain that she will attend COP26 though she doesn’t minimise the importance of this crucial gathering. She fears that many delegates from the smaller and poorer nations will be prevented from being present by the cost and by the need to be doubly vaccinated. They couldn’t afford to have their stay lengthened by the need to be quarantined.
We bring this urgent need to you, Lord and confess our powerlessness to help. Thank you for Greta Thunberg’s heart for the poor whose plight is most critical and whose need most acute.
We invoke the blessed name of Jesus over the concerns of our hearts.
In the Sunday service last Sunday on the radio, I was struck forcibly by the dependence of the early Church on the efficacy of the name of Jesus. The version read spoke of “using the name of Jesus.” Acts chapter 4 and indeed the whole of the Acts of the Apostles, speaks constantly of the name of Jesus. “There is no other name under heaven …” This is not about the exclusivity of Christianity but about the power of the name for salvation.
Lord Jesus Christ, we fail to live in the power of your holy name. We should do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus. Let us not be ashamed of your name with which we are named.