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Prayers for Planet Earth and COP26 - Week Two

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 second week's prayers:

Day 8

What is COP26? The Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed by 193 nations in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

Dear Lord,
We’ve wasted 30 years as Sir David Attenborough reminds us. Since the Paris Accords in December 2015 carbon emissions globally have risen in spite of promises made and targets set. Hugh Montefiore was warning the Churches as early as 1969 of the threats to the environment from an economy of growth dependent on the gross over-consumption of the earth’s limited resources and driven by the population explosion. Too little has been even attempted since Rio in 1992.

We pray for those who have waited patiently down the years to see the awakening COP26 announces. We can only marvel at the courage and inventiveness of Extinction Rebellion exasperated by these 30 years of hot air and inaction. Please help us to do all we can to ensure that COP26 does not disappoint.


Day 9

Father of all,
Glory to you on earth and in the heavens. Your name is honoured in creation and on the lips of the faithful. May your reign come in us and among us. Make us instruments of your peace and bearers of your grace and witnesses to your love.

The mission field for Paul, in an age when travel was perilous and slow, stretched from Arabia to Spain and Jerusalem to Northern Turkey. Help us not to be small – minded but to inhabit in our prayers the fold-out map in our Methodist Prayer Handbook. You give us a mind and imagination to grasp the vastness of our cosmic habitat.

We are humbled by the scale and complexity of the issues facing us when we try to grasp a subject like climate change. Prayer helps. Thank you.


Day 10

Dear Father God,
How comfortable we are in the lovely world you have given us! Oldies like me will be sorry to leave it. We are comfortable because of the privileges we enjoy, our home, our families, our health and happiness.

It is what is familiar that makes us enjoy who we are and where we are. And Sir David was telling our MPs how all this can change dramatically. “People depend upon the natural world for their very sanity,” he said, and spoke of “nature’s unique power to ground people.” He agrees with Caroline Lucas, our one Green Party MP, that the death of nature will lead to “massive mental breakdown.”

The Lincolnshire District drafted recently a Memorial to Conference *sadly it was not sent* asking for a training programme in pastoral care for likely climate trauma and environment grief. We need to go there again.


Day 11

Creator God,
I turn again to the image of planet Earth with which we began. It’s easy to see why it’s called the Blue Planet. Thank you for the excellent television exploration of this last frontier, beginning with Jacques Cousteau on his ship Calypso and followed by Attenborough’s celebration of the seemingly limitless bounty of the oceans and the picture they offer of the prodigious biodiversity of the universe.

The report of the annual Copernicus Ocean State described here warns of the impact of melting ice, multiple sources of pollution and changing ocean currents which threaten marine species and food security. How dependent we are on forces beyond our reach. Lord have mercy.


Day 12

Yes Lord,
It’s our politicians and world leaders who need to be called to account. We know that the pandemic has been a tragic distraction from the migrant crisis, the growing inequality which will get worse with the decline in government support – more food banks than McDonald’s in the UK.

Thank you for the freedoms we enjoy. Help us to use them for the Kingdom’s sake. Our elected representatives need to hear of our concerns.


Day 13

Thank you for the opportunity you give us to witness to the richly diverse, multicultural, inclusive and tolerant Church we love, even if we are not quite there yet. Thank you for every step we take towards realising it. Thank you for your rainbow sign of hope and of diversity in harmony. Thank you for the chorus of voices who enrich our lives, gay and straight, young and old, people of every colour, people finding their way in gender uncertainty, those in prison, people who love me and those who aren’t so sure. Peace and grace be with us all.


Day 14

Thank you Father God,
for being a father to the many young people in our lives. Keep them in your loving protection as we hold them in our hearts and in our prayers. What a wonderful gift is a new-born child, how precious and how totally dependent and trusting. What a world out there there is to discover and treasure. Can we really believe the words of Professor Jem Bendell, *"Doom and bloom: Adapting to Collapse," in This Is Not A Drill, [Penguin, 2019]:* “Most of all I now grieve for the young, and the more beautiful world they will never inherit?”*

We have less than 10 years to save planet Earth, our and their only home. We are making brave promises. Where’s the plan needed to turn them into action? We know some of the simple things we can do and can go on doing. With the strength of your mighty arm, we can begin to do them.