Worship at home

The Archbishops of the Church of England have taken the step of suspending public worship until further notice owing to the Coronavirus pandemic. St. Mary’s is closed for the foreseeable future

As they wrote in their letter to the church on 17 March:

“We urge you sisters and brothers to become a different sort of church in these coming months: hopeful and rooted in the offering of prayer and praise and overflowing in service to the world.”

It’s important that prayer and worship continues, even though churches are closed.

Many already pray and study our Bibles at home, but it this can be hard to sustain – especially without Sunday worship. This page contains a range of resources to help you pray and worship at home.

You might find it helpful to set aside specific times of the day and week to pray and worship. Find a quiet place in your home and enable other members of your household to join you. You might want to light a candle to create a prayerful atmosphere and to use as a focus for your prayers.

You could also try praying with others while still physically distant – for example, over the phone, via text messaging, or using video calls.


Places to find prayer and worship while at home

  • There will be an act of worship from St. Mary’s every Sunday at 10.00 am.
  • There is a daily service on Radio 4 every morning at 9.45 am.
  • Premier Christian Radio broadcasts Bible studies at intervals throughout the day. At noon and at 2.30 pm they have “worship hours” which include worship songs, prayer and Bible readings.
  • BBC One broadcasts Songs of Praise every Sunday at 1.15 pm.
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral has an excellent YouTube channel.
  • Church of England Daily Prayer can be found on the Church of England website or through the App downloadable for Apple and Android devices.

Prayers about the outbreak

Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress. Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may rejoice in your comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, you taught us to love our neighbour, and to care for those in need as if we were caring for you. In this time of anxiety, give us strength to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick, and to assure the isolated of our love, and your love, for your name’s sake.
Amen.

God of compassion, be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation. In their loneliness, be their consolation; in their anxiety, be their hope; in their darkness, be their light; through him who suffered alone on the cross, but reigns with you in glory, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

For those who are ill

Merciful God, we entrust to your tender care those who are ill or in pain, knowing that whenever danger threatens your everlasting arms are there to hold them safe. Comfort and heal them, and restore them to health and strength; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

For hospital staff and medical researchers

Gracious God, give skill, sympathy and resilience to all who are caring for the sick, and your wisdom to those searching for a cure. Strengthen them with your Spirit, that through their work many will be restored to health; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

From one who is ill or isolated

O God, help me to trust you, help me to know that you are with me, help me to believe that nothing can separate me from your love revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

For the Christian community

We are not people of fear: we are people of courage.

We are not people who protect our own safety: we are people who protect our neighbours’ safety.

We are not people of greed: we are people of generosity.

We are your people God, giving and loving, wherever we are, whatever it costs

For as long as it takes wherever you call us.

Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference

Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray to God, who alone makes us dwell in safety:

For all who are affected by coronavirus, through illness or isolation or anxiety, that they may find relief and recovery:

Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.

For those who are guiding our nation at this time, and shaping national policies, that they may make wise decisions:

Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.

For doctors, nurses and medical researchers, that through their skill and insights many will be restored to health:

Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.

For the vulnerable and the fearful, for the gravely ill and the dying, that they may know your comfort and peace:

Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.

For our homes and families, our schools and young people, and all in any kind of need or distress:

Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.

For a blessing on our local community, that our neighbourhoods may be places of trust and friendship, where all are known and cared for:

Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.

We commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray, to the mercy and protection of God.

Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your disciples,
‘I am with you always’.
Be with me today, as I offer myself to you.
Hear my prayers for others and for myself,
and keep me in your care.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

from St Patrick’s Breastplate

Prayers with children

A prayer for when a friend is ill

Dear God, (name of friend) is ill.

They are not allowed to go to school or come over to play.

I’m sad because I miss them.
They must be feeling miserable and lonely as well. Please be close to them.
Please be with the people who are looking after them.
Please help them to get better and to know that you love them.
Amen.

A prayer at bedtime

Before the ending of the day, Creator of the world, we pray
That you, with steadfast love, would keep
Your watch around us while we sleep.

Tonight we pray especially for (names family or friends who are affected by coronavirus) and the people of (country or place which is affected by coronavirus).

Please give skill and wisdom to all who are caring for them.
Amen

A prayer remembering God is with us

Lord God, you are always with me. You are with me in the day and in the night.
You are with me when I’m happy and when I’m sad.
You are with me when I’m healthy and when I am ill.
You are with me when I am peaceful and when I am worried.

Today I am feeling (name how you are feeling)
because (reasons you are feeling this way).

Help me to remember that you love me and are with me in everything today.
Amen


Bible Passages

(Extracts are given where readings are longer.)

Psalm 23

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, 

I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

(Verse 4)

Psalm 91

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’”

(Verses 1-2)

Psalm 139

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”

(Verse 23)

Isaiah 41:10

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

John 14

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

(Verse 27)

Luke 12:22-34

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 

Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

(Verses 25-26)

Philippians 4:4-9

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

(Verses 6-7)

May the peace of God give you renewed hope and wisdom,
May you find the strength you already carry within you to be enough,
May the grace of God be sufficient,
May you find a deep breath when the air around you is thin,
May you grow in compassion in these days,
May you love well, not in spite of these anxious times,
But because of them.

Sarah Bessey

O Christ, in this time without water,
make us glisten with the baptism of rebirth;
without Bread, satisfy us with spiritual food;
without wine, let us taste your sweet presence.
Nourish us in this time
Until at last we feast in the heavenly Jerusalem.

Amen.

Anna E. Rossi