Church of England Diocese of Canterbury Elham

Focus of Prayer

12 Mar 2021, 9 a.m.

There have been many moments in history when we have been disturbed by an awareness of being out of our depth. Caught up in happenings which seem to remind us that our Creator God is ever present in both cause, effect and possible solution.

We are in 2021, experiencing the combined spiritual challenge of anxiety, disunity and separation.

And I would guess that one, if not all have in some way been the focus of our prayers in the last twelve months. It is almost foolish not to have shared Global Warming, European Disunity and Pandemic Separation with Almighty God, for whom nothing is impossible.

Perhaps, to help stimulate a spiritual response to our current predicament, I have searched history for parallel times when the future was predictably uncertain. Just three points in time when the spiritual motivations of anxiety, disunity and separation plagued the nation. With three prayers that were created at those times.

A.D. 1085: An occupied England nineteen years after the Norman conquest. History had taught us that we were an off-shore island of France and visitations from the mainland had been regular. While the Norman conquest wasn’t the first occupation, it could be listed amongst the most successful. Religious buildings and fortifications meant harsh but full employment and French was fast becoming our first language.

Prayer from the Sarum Breviary, 1085:

Merciful God, the Helper of all people, so strengthen us by Thy power, that our sorrow may be turned into joy, and we may continually glorify Thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord…..Amen

A.D. 1680: Restoration of the monarchy did not please everyone, after the separation and divisions of the first English civil war. Loved ones had been lost. Separations and divisions remained permanent, fuelled by the mistrust they encourage. Mistrust that was often taken to the grave well beyond the 17th Century.

Prayer from the Gothic Manual, A.D. 1680:

O Lord, for as much as it is an easy thing with Thee to give life to that which is dead, restore, we pray Thee, to the sick their former health, and grant that they who seek the healing of Thy heavenly mercy, may also obtain the remedies necessary for the body; through Jesus Christ our Lord…..Amen

A.D. 1900: Dawn of the 20th Century. European disunity would fuel two world wars within it’s first fifty years. Both great contributors to global destruction, contamination and warming. Deadly ego-tripping on behalf of world and military leaders, causing the suffering and death of millions. Europe divided into self-serving, almost, tribal countries crying out for unification under God and a European Banner. Even in 1900, the future looked uncertain.

Century National Prayer Union, A.D. 1900:

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, please send your blessing on this Land you have given. Increase in our own and every nation, the Spirit of truth and justice, peace and Godly Love. Turn the hearts of all people unto Thee, and so hasten the blessed times when the kingdoms of the world shall become the Kingdoms of our Lord Jesus Christ, in Whose Name we offer these petitions, even the same Christ Jesus Thy Son our Lord…..Amen

RD March 2021