26 prayers for the planet ahead of COP26 climate talks

The Climate Emergency has prompted the publication of 26 prayers dedicated to the environment by Leeds-based priest Revd Jon Swales.

An Associate Priest at Leeds St George, Revd Jon has long been a champion of green issues and active in efforts to promote awareness of threats to the environment.

In advance of the COP26 climate conference in November, he has produced a dedicated collection of prayers and videos, which are endorsed by the Bishop of Kirkstall, the Rt Revd Paul Slater and many others.

“Over the last few years I have become increasingly concerned about the Climate and Ecological Emergency,” said Revd Jon.

“ As part of my response I wanted to encourage the wider church to both pray and act so that we are better equipped to be the justice-shaped people we are called to be. 

“I set myself the challenge of writing 26 prayers and recording a short video at 26 different locations in and around the Leeds area. These videos can be found here

Revd Jon’s dedicated prayers may be found here and are already attracting global engagement.

“I am pleased that these prayers are being used around the world by individuals, churches and by activist groups.

“They have recently been translated into Czech and are by used by Christians from across a number of traditions,” said Revd Jon.

“Prayer not only seeks to cry out for the resources of heaven, but also challenges and changes us. “My hope is that these prayers wake us up to our urgent situation so that we look and love more like Jesus.”

Bishop Paul said: “I have been impressed with Jon Swales’ leadership and prophetic voice in our city of Leeds as we both lament the ecological crisis our world is in and call for urgent action.

“In this anthology of prayers, which Jon has written, you will find a range of resources which are able to prompt us all into adoration, confession, thanksgiving and urgent supplication. 

“I commend it to you.”

Revd Canon Dr Mark Powley, Principal, St Hild College also endorsed Revd Jon’s work:

“Jon has the kind of gifts that can stir us out of complacency and paralysis on this defining issue of early 21st century discipleship – climate change.

“Class after class of our students have found Jon’s Old Testament teaching nothing short of inspirational, and his insistence on reclaiming the language of lament to be an epiphany.

“In these contemporary Psalms, Jon enables us to connect our deep fears and anxieties about the environment with the loving and listening presence of God.

“They are born out of a deep conviction that the Living God can hear and will act, but they also call us to a lifestyle of ongoing repentance which we are only just beginning to scope out. It’s important that these prayers are now getting an increasingly wider hearing.”

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