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Prayer in action

How different people in the UK are joining our prayer chain for climate justice

Published on 19 May 2020

Parliamentarians join Rev Dr Rowan Williams in Westminster

On a sunny March afternoon, before lockdown, Parliamentarians, church leaders and climate campaigners gathered outside the Houses of Parliament. Together we raised our voices in prayer and in song.

What a profound moment; to stand outside the seat of power in the UK and call for climate justice!

Dr Rowan Williams led a short reflection alongside Amanda Mukwashi, our CEO and Hannah Abban, a young activist taking part in Christian Aid’s prophetic activist scheme.

Rowan Williams spoke powerfully of our call to be witnesses to the world God wants us to create.

'We live in a world where communication and travel mean that issues which begin in one very remote part of the globe become literally and immediately the issues of ourselves and our next door neighbours. And that’s very clear with the Corona virus, but it’s clear too in the way in which the impact of climate change on the poorest drives instability, injustice and conflict.

When St Paul writes about the kind of human community that God wants, he writes about a community where one persons’ suffering is everybody’s issue. And that can’t be repeated too often. That’s the kind of community God asks us to create. So, the crises we face in this moment in history, are crises which really reinforce for us the interconnectedness of our world and we’re called to witness to the truth.'

Standing together in prayer that transforms us and the world around us, we believe we can stop this climate crisis.

African trees

Praying alone for climate justice

Praying by yourself for a whole hour might feel a little overwhelming, but Jess from Walthamstow signed up to pray for climate justice and made herself a plan – a prayer plan!

'To get through what felt like it was going to be a marathon hour, I did what any good runner would do – set some short distance targets. I decided to split my hour into 15 minute chunks, with each one dedicated to a particular type of Prayer: Thanksgiving,  Lament, Confession, Petition.

Praying for an hour - or even 15 minutes - didn’t mean I had to be in constant spoken word with God, I could read the bible, sit in contemplation, speak and listen. 

Praying from the confines of my bedroom, I wanted to find a way to connect to the living world that surrounds us. Rather than crack open the window to listen to the sounds of my urban London street, I found myself a video on Youtube of a beautiful stream surrounded by woodland and listened to the trickle of water, sound of birds and the rustle of leaves as I entered my time of prayer. 

To put yourself in the attitude of unceasing prayer even just for an hour is a powerful and transformative act.  I was blessed to be part of the prayer chain and to say Amen To Climate Justice.'

Praying apart, together

Since the start of the lockdown, the way that we worship together as communities of faith has had to change dramatically. But there are still ways we can gather in prayer, despite staying remote from each other physically. In fact, it feels more important than ever that we do so.

Groups of Christian Aid colleagues have been doing morning prayer via online meeting platforms, churches have been streaming services and WhatsApp groups are buzzing with prayer requests.

Starting your own mini prayer chain with a group of friends by choosing a day to set aside, with a simple rota could be a great way to stay in touch with each other and continue to stand in solidarity with people around the world. As each person finishes their slot, they could call the next person on the list to check in with them and then pass on the prayer baton! At the end of the day, take some time to regroup and talk about how each slot went. There are other ways to pray in our recent guide to praying in a pandemic.

 

We’ll be praying for climate justice every day until COP26, the crucial UN climate talks that were due to take place in Glasgow in November. They’ve been postponed, but our prayer will remain unceasing. Sign up now to join in.