Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23: 4
There are many aspects of the pandemic that are difficult and challenging. As a result of these dynamics, many people are suffering in so many ways. Their heartaches profoundly touch us. We also look forward to consoling those in our communities who have lost jobs or are facing financial uncertainty. We celebrate the courage and the dedication of front-line health care and nursing home staff, grocery store workers, and others now recognized as essential. We remember with gratitude those who work every day to care for the vulnerable and marginalized. We seek systemic policy changes to create a safety net under those struggling with hunger and homelessness and those who have to choose every day between work and their safety.
Amid all these circumstances, each day, we read the growing number of those who have died. Deaths that are often experienced through great suffering and fear and separated from the direct presence of loved ones. The rising number of deaths can be so overwhelming and yet, a constant factor in our daily lives. However, we can quickly become numb and can begin to only see the end as another number to track before moving on.
We are asking our Southern New England Conference United Church of Christ (SNECUCC) clergy and laity and the wider community to participate in a daily discipline of prayer for those who died due to COVID-19 and to support the families and loved ones who are grieving their loss. As God’s beloved children, we are asking in prayer to lift them to God’s eternal care and comfort.
The method of practicing this discipline is an existing prayer ministry called “Park and Pray at 1:11 PM,” started and developed by Rev Cleo Graham in 2015. We are encouraging others to participate in “Park and Pray at 1:11 PM” as a spiritual practice of daily prayer by stopping to pray at 1:11 PM each day. For additional information, you may refer to the website. www.parkandprayat111.com.
Please consider joining us in this daily discipline of prayer by first dedicating yourself to set your alarm to pray each day at 1:11 PM, and then going further to encourage those in your congregation, family, and friends to join with you in prayer.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalms 23:6
Let us Pray:
(You may use your own prayer or the suggested prayer below)
Almighty God, we humbly park and pray at 1:11 PM.
In your Holy presence, we imagine lighting a candle.
For there’s no place, we’d rather be than in your presence.
God, we come before your presence with praise and thanksgiving,
We come as privileged people who can go to God in prayer, to receive God and for God to welcome us.
“What a fellowship, what a joy divine to lean on the everlasting God.”
Bread of Life, Breath of Life, Light of the World, and our Hope eternal. Thank you for your sinless sacrifice to redeem us and restore us to a right relationship with you O God.
We seek your guidance, your healing power, and the blessings of your Holy Word and protection.
We call on You O God to:
Forgive us for disconnecting our lives and separating from you.
Forgive us for failing to seek you during these difficult times.
We seek forgiveness for our sins and we ask you to make us whole again.
God, we pray the world may know you, hunger, and thirst for you.
We pray for our homes, our families, our friends, and neighbors.
We especially pray for our children who are missing schools and friends.
We pray for children who will experience Confirmation, Baptism, and other milestones in new ways.
May the glory of God’s Peace rise above any strife, neglect, disharmony, and bitterness.
We pray for a united church that seeks Christ, his wisdom, his word, his will, and his ways.
We pray for (Names) those who are unemployed. Gracious God, build new employment.
We pray for (Names) who are sick and distressed, especially all who are affected by the Covid-19 virus may they experience your healing.
We pray for (Names) those grieving from a loss. May they experience your Comfort, O God.
We pray for (Names) those who have died. May the end of each life journey celebrate in the kingdom of God’s eternal home.
We pray for (Names) those who are financially burdened and unemployed that they may experience your Grace, O God.
We pray for all who keep us safe, that all will practice social distancing, barrier protection, and social isolation as protective measures warrant.
Relieve the stress associated with loneliness and solitude.
Merciful God, help us to unite in prayer this day and every day.
Strengthen our faith and renew our daily commitment to prayer.
O God, we glorify your name as we Park and Pray at 1:11 PM.