As the Season of Creation begins, we pray that it touches hearts around the world. We give thanks for progress on renewables and reducing transport emissions. We pray for those advocating for climate action – and, in response to the damage we see around us – ask God to guide governments, businesses and individuals in effective change.
We’re praying this month for those affected by the serious flooding in South and East Asia … and in response to new warnings from scientists about methane under the sea bed in Antarctica. We’re giving thanks for indigenous communities’ approaches to caring for creation and praying for their rights and concerns to be honoured. We’re looking at sustainable ways of replacing plastic, how churches are seeking to achieve net zero by 2030, and lifting before God a new organisation networking young Christians concerned about the impact of climate change.
As we see climate impacts in the midst of the current crisis, we wonder – what will the world that emerges from our current crisis look like? How can we pray and act to promote a just and green recovery?
Join us in prayer …
How do we care for our common home? As we reflect on the events of May’s Laudato Si week and look forward to the UN climate talks next year, we are conscious of the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. Cyclone Amphan in India and Bangladesh, the floods and locust swarms affecting East Africa and the Arctic heat remind us of the importance of protecting the most vulnerable people and ecosystems. And we have new tools to help us play our part – for which we give thanks!
Join us in prayer …
At this time of global upheaval and loss, we join in lament. With Christians around the world, we bring before God the difficulties and traumas we, and our local and global neighbours face. But as we pray for the present, we pray also for the future.
The Coronavirus has caused an unprecedented shock to the world’s social and economic systems. As Cristiana Figueres, former head of the UN climate talks, said, “Moments of crisis, such as the one we are living, are deeply painful in ways that cannot be underestimated. The social and emotional impacts of Covid-19 will be felt even after we return to normal global health conditions.” But, she noted, “We will emerge, albeit more slowly, from the unprecedented economic paralysis. The question is how we emerge: whether we return to the ways of the past or whether we derive valuable lessons, to emerge wiser and better equipped to continue to deal with our longstanding emergency of climate change.”
She is not alone in hoping that we can rebuild in a way which both addresses the issues caused by the Coronavirus and protects the future of all who share our common home..Our prayers this month reflect on these questions, beginning with Pope Francis’s wonderful reflections on the links with the resurrection story, and continuing to look at a variety of comments and new developments.
The prayer points are found below.
We pray for the climate this month in a time of pandemic. The historians will no doubt make much of this period. But will they be able to convey the sense of dislocation that comes with sudden seismic shifts, or our concerns and fears of not knowing what the future brings? Few of us would have dreamed that such rapid social change was possible. We see this change bringing immense pain – the agony of separation; of being unable to be with loved ones, even at their time of huge need. This breaks our heart, as do the sufferings of the vulnerable – those of us who have lost jobs and are struggling to get by, those of us in lockdowns who have inadequate housing and little or no access to food or water, those of us locked in with perpetrators of domestic violence.
But we cannot give up hope, and we cannot cease our striving to do our best to fight the virus. The Coronavirus requires the efforts of every community, every country, every continent if we are to contain its impacts and protect the most vulnerable … just as we continue to hope and pray and act to protect the world we love from the climate crisis.
We are sustained in this hope, as we near the end of our Lenten period of reflections, by the thought of our celebrations of Easter this month. We hold fast to the amazing truths of our faith and belief in Christ’s resurrection; – gaining comfort and inspiration from the knowledge that “He is risen!” and that the power of death has been broken forever.
Our prayer points cover all these themes.
As we begin Lent, there are signs of hope – among them a new 2030 net zero target to explore for the Church of England … and a precedent-setting ruling in the UK that requires government policy to take into account the government’s climate commitments under the Paris Agreement. Our prayer points look also at a range of Lent resources from around the world that encourage us to place the world’s brokenness before God and to change our ways. There’s also news that underlines the urgency of such change – especially around Arctic and ocean warming. Join us in prayer …
2020 needs to be a year of action. Our February prayer points highlight a call to action – and we pray for people affected by the East and Southern African floods, for humans and all living things affected by the Australian fires, for people and businesses leading the way on climate action, and for ourselves, as we seek to live the changes we want to see happening more widely.
As the new year … and new decade … begin, we look back at recent developments, including the UN climate talks, and look forward to developments in 2020.
As Advent begins, and with it the new Christian year, we pray for new progress in the UN climate negotiations … and for a renewed and increased commitment to climate action from people, businesses and countries around the world.