Making time to pray before COP26

By our co-chaplain, Andrew Norman

Many people gathered in London on 23 July when it was one hundred days before the opening of the COP26 summit in Glasgow on November 1st. Every day there are fewer days left and the sense of urgency is becoming more intense. Setting aside specific periods of time for prayer is a key Christian practice. We still have time to reserve nine days for that in keeping what is traditionally termed a novena. This relates to the apostles meeting together for nine days before the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, see Acts 1.13-14. It is important, isn’t it, that we pray now for all who will be participating in COP26 as they reach for decisions which will affect us all, and globally so? 

This kind of prayer is called intercession. The belief is that our prayer, offered in faith, can influence others for good. It can truly make a difference. However it sometimes feels as if we are thinking of God as being like a super-satellite. I transmit my prayer up to God who receives it and beams down grace into the situation I prayed about. There are various problems with that. Is it the best way to imagine the wonderful mystery of divine activity? And why does prayer seem to work sometimes, but certainly not always?  

A different approach is to realise that there is no ‘them’ and ‘us’. One way or another climate change is going to impact the lives of us all. It is not that we who are safe in our faith should pray for others. We all suffer, and we all ‘pray’ when we cry out from our hearts. The Holy Spirit, of whose coming at Pentecost the Bible tells us, may be understood as the very spirit of life. When we hurt and are needful, or are shocked into facing the reality of what is coming upon us, and as we begin to cast around for the best ways ahead, then we may find the spirit of life who is in us all connecting with the Holy Spirit. 

A novena could be the opportunity for us to breathe our prayerful hope into the common life of humanity. Praying in the name of Jesus who is Son of Man means including all of God-beloved humankind. Our prayer might be: let each of us be the change we all want to see.  

Our hopes for COP26 are powerfully and visually distilled in our published presentation Why Faith Matters at COP26 (going live on Monday 6 Sept) which we hope will encourage its participants and decision-makers and all who might influence the process. The novena will follow its main themes of nature, climate justice, joy in enough, and hope if we each read through the infographic day by day and slowly reflect on its themes. 

Climate Sunday, September 5th, presents itself as the moment for us to begin the novena. You might like to start each of the following eight days into Creation Season with the prayer written by GC member Catherine Fish. Then simply spend some time looking at Why Faith Matters at COP26 and letting the Holy Spirit move you. Companions of the Green Christian Way of Life community already have prayer as one of our four disciplines. But how good it would be if other Green Christian members and supporters also helped to underpin the visual presentation by forming a wider virtual community of prayer and actively supported our preparation for COP26. 

Andrew Norman. GC co-chaplain


Let us pray…

Lord you are God; we ask you to forgive and transform the greed within and around us.

Lord, have mercy.

We have been like a wild donkey wandering alone.

Lord have mercy.

We have sold ourselves to greed and plenty and have spurned need in others and sufficiency for ourselves.

Lord, have mercy.

We have been unfaithful to your ways; yet you who could destroy, are faithful; great is your faithfulness, stretching to all the earth.

Lord, have mercy.

We have not loved as you love; bloodshed has followed bloodshed, and the land has dried up; your love is all embracing, restoring, freely given and unending.

Lord, have mercy.

We have not acknowledged you; yet your name alone is holy and is the name above all names.

Lord, have mercy.

In knowledge of your faithfulness, love, and holiness, we grieve, we weep, and you weep.

Come, Lord Jesus.

As surely as the sun rises, you will appear, you will come to us like the winter rains, like spring rains that water the earth, and in you all creation will be made whole.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Make us bringers of your peace. May the land be restored.

Come, Lord Jesus.

May the beasts of the fields and the birds of the sky, and the fish in the sea thrive and rejoice in their maker.

Come, Lord Jesus.

May your kingdom come, in me, and through us all.  Amen.

Catherine Fish, based on verses from Hosea


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Author: Ruth Jarman | Date: 23 July, 2021 | Category: Chaplain's Blog Prayers | Comments: 1


Comments on "Making time to pray before COP26"

Faith Kenrick:

July 23, 2021

Arising from the preparation for COP26 in Glasgow, organisers from campaign groups abroad are seeking hosts to put up delegates in and near to Glasgow.


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