‘Pray!’ wasn’t one of the top things I expected people to shout out at a church service recently when I asked people to call out ideas as to what we can each be doing to play our part in caring for our world. And yet there it was, amongst all the usual things that we tend to think about: recycling, driving and flying less, reducing food waste and so on.
The lady who said this was absolutely right, though, and we paused for a moment to think about why that might be a crucial thing for us to be doing alongside all the other practical ideas that people had and that we are looking at in the Green Living series on this blog
I love this reminder from Justin Welby (reflecting Stanley Hauerwas) that, ‘the church should always be engaged in doing things that make no sense if God does not exist. The thing that would most make no sense at all if God does not exist is prayer. [Being part of] a praying community is the ultimate wager on the existence of God, and is anything but comfortable or risk-free’.
A wonderful new movement has begun, launched at a special service back in November of last year that I was a part of. Pray and Fast for the Climate offers an opportunity for Christians to join together on the first of each month to pray for climate justice. It’s part of a worldwide movement – we’re joining people around the globe who are praying and fasting monthly for meaningful action on climate change, recognising that this year is a crucial year with some key climate discussions coming up, culminating in Paris in December.
In the UK, Pray and Fast for the Climate is an initiative of the agencies and churches that form the Faith for the Climate Network, including A Rocha, Christian Aid, Operation Noah, Tearfund, CCOW and many others – a network that I am very involved with. Different groups have contributed prayers and service resources, so there’s plenty of material to help plan a service or prayer event. You can sign up to receive updates and the prayer points for the first of each month. If you are already meeting with others to pray, however small your group, do enter it as an event to enable others in your area to join you and to encourage others.
In both February and March, the first of the month falls on a Sunday, which gives us a great opportunity to engage our whole churches in prayer. There are some useful inputs and a PowerPoint that may help.
So please will you join with me in this community of people, determined to do something that makes no sense to anyone else; determined to pray as if God exists; determined to declare that climate justice is something we should all be concerned about; determined to do what we can to work for a greener, just and sustainable world?