Last Sunday I was leading worship and preaching at a local United Reformed Church. I began in this way:
I would imagine that all of us here this morning have been deeply shocked by the death of our late Queen, Elizabeth II. Although it was clear that her days were numbered, I confess that I was surprised how emotional I was when I heard the news. Tears filled my eyes. As we discovered at her Platinum Jubilee, at a time when we as a nation are divided by our politicians, she united us. She was a wonderful Queen – and a committed Christian to boot.
Now, of course, we have a King: Prince Charles III. The Queen is dead, long live the King!
A little later in the service, I led the congregation in a series of five short prayers I had written for the occasion. I reproduce them in the hope that they may be of help to those who read today’s blog:
- A prayer of thanksgiving for Queen Elizabeth II. Father God, we thank you for the life of Queen Elizabeth II, and for the difference that her life has made to our nation. Thank you for her commitment not just to duty but also to service; thank you for the way in which she travelled throughout our country and indeed the world, taking an interest not just in the high and mighty but also people like ourselves; thank you for her willingness to share her faith in her Christmas broadcasts; thank you for her devotion to you and to her people; thank you for a life marked not by ego, but by humility.
- A prayer for our new King, Charles III. Father God, we thank you for our new king, and for his clear commitment to serve the nation. Give him all the wisdom and grace that he needs to adapt to his new role, and may he be surrounded by helpful advisors. Help him too as he deals with his own grief and the grief of his family; and as the family comes together, may broken relationships be healed.
- A prayer for our politicians. Lord we thank you for the way in which our politicians have come together at this time of national mourning. We pray that in future days there may be more respect for one another, whatever the political differences may be.
- A prayer for our nation. Lord, as our nation mourns its loss may many be comforted by the hope that is ours through the resurrection of Jesus. We pray for all those involved in the service, and not least for the Archbishop of Canterbury as he prepares his sermon for the funeral of our late Queen.
- A prayer for ourselves. Lord, as we talk to friends and neighbours, and perhaps too to a stranger at the bus stop, give us opportunities to speak of the difference that Jesus makes to living and to dying. Help us to be sensitive in how we share our faith, but help us too to be winsomely bold.