photo: Nursing Times


(as our world stutters into yet another difference Coronavirus season, I prayed this prayer in Fitzroy)


Lord we thank you for being in Church again

For seeing one another

For feeling the communal sense of belief


We thank you for the vaccines that made this possible


Yet Lord we live through uncertainty, danger, fear

It is a stuttering start to the church year

Things seem less locked down

But we are not back to any kind of old normal

As we stutter through yet another new unique season

Be with us - Emmanuel


Be with our medics, all who work in hospital

And take the brunt

Who’ve been through the trauma

Who carry the wounds

Who are perhaps a little demoralised

Be with them Lord - Emmanuel


Be with our teachers

Trying to do school in a mad environment

Suffering the pingdemic

Trying to manage the fluctuating classes

Not sure who has been taught what

Trying to me more than teachers to our children and young people

Be with them - Emmanuel


Our youth and children 

Trying to go through adolescence in strange days

Trying to shape their future in uncertainty

Missing out on life memories

And rites of passage

Be with them - Emmanuel


Be with our students just off to University

As they our crammed into halls

If they have halls

As they try to make friends behind masks

As no one has experiences what they are dealing with

Be with them - Emmanuel


Be with our business men and women

So much uncertainty there

As furlough ends

As apprentices haven’t been trained

As exit from the EU adds to the confusion

Be with them - Emmanuel


Lord be with all of us

In our more stressed family lives

As we love

And grieve

And go through illness

And worry about getting or spreading the virus


Lord may Love thy neighbour be a radical daily act


But Lord give us patience

Patience with each other

Patience with ourselves

Patience with society

Patience Lord to take a day at a time


Be with us Lord - Emmanuel




Climate Sunday
Good morning Fitzroy,
As we begin our prayers this morning it is wonderful to be entering into this season of creation. A season observed by churches all around the world.
A time over these next 2 months for us to intentionally focus on the incredible world that we are an integral part of.
A time for gratitude, lamenting, forgiving and petitioning for change.
This afternoon people of faith gathered in person and online at Glasgow cathedral at the heart of the city where the UN climate talks will take place in November. We gathered to pray for our climate, commit to personal action, and speak to politicians about the need for government action.
Let us pray
We give thanks for all creation full of divine energy and sacred mystery.
All creation sings of you. Nurture in us loves for our planet and commitment to live differently.
We lament the role we have played as partakers in the reckless use of resources. We lament that as people of faith we have not spoken up sooner and led the way in caring for creation.
Forgive us for our greed and indifference and may we now recognise our place as part of not apart from creation.
We pray for imaginative, innovative, and creative solutions to our climate emergency and for all those working for change in everything from Carbon catchers to sustainable cars.
We pray for all those of us petitioning for change. May we as campaigners speak out in wisdom with conviction and compassion.
We pray for today’s climate Sunday service, God use this time to challenge and strengthen those of us who are already caring for creation and may it be a time of inspiration where others will be enthused to participate in the restoration of earth.
Please join with me in saying this ecological take on the Lord’s Prayer. The words will now be on screen
Our father who art in creation,
Hallowed be the world,
May sustainability come,
Thy will be done through us in restoring earth.
Give the poorest this day their daily bread,
And forgive us our sins against earth as we forgive ourselves for what we have done.
Lead us not into complacency,
But deliver us from greed,
Thine is creation, revealing your glory, forever and ever Amen.




Leading Fitzroy in prayer this morning I was aware of the world that I was praying into… Afghanistan… Haiti… our own hurting broken Northern Ireland… COVID 19… 

Instead of a big prayer for all of that, I prayed this prayer for all of us, as a community… it is an edit of a sending prayer I used in Communion... 


God, Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you”. So Lord, 


Lord, send us in to a world that is divided - with forgiveness

Send us in to a world that is broken - with healing

Send us in to a world that is hungry - with food

Send us in to a world that is lonely  - with presence

Lord, send us in to a world that is hurting -  with empathy 

Send us in to a world that is overachieving - with grace

Send us in to a world that is alienated - with love

Send us in to a world that is at war  - with peace

Lord, send us in to a world that is lost - with salvation


As the Father has sent me I am sending you

As Isaiah said when you were looking for someone to go… “Here I am Lord send me”.

Lord send us… in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.



12th 12

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Lord we hold that verse up across Northern Ireland this weekend

Lord we are aware of the tension on our streets

This is a weekend that can kick off the push and shove

As allegiances to our different ideologies

That can clash with impatience

And drive our thran hearts towards sectarianism and hatred

The traditions of one culture, fine in themselves

Can be waved viciously in the faces of others

And others can seek to find offence for their own agendas

We are addicts to our generations old sectarianism

Lord forgive us

And Lord as you are faithful and just to forgive us of our sins

Purify us from all unrighteousness

Replace our human ideologies with holy pragmatism

By your Spirit make us good neighbours

Encourage us to hold our own cultures with conviction

But gently

Inspire us to be Christlike humble towards neighbour

To be respectful

May your grace be alive within us. 

Grace is a powerful attitude and posture

That will cause us to never parade or fly flags or light bonfires or put effigies on bonfires

That would offend our neighbours

May all of our leaders 




Bands and lodges


Be stoked by your grace in all the decisions that needs to me made

In fragile, alienated and tense neighbourhoods

Lord may your grace never be used to feed our own arrogant self righteousness

But always to make us humble and respectful lovers of neighbour.

Lord If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Lord may it be so



Ps 23

(as we head towards a holiday season, a pastoral prayer for some refreshment for the flock... prayed in Fitzroy July 4th 2021)


Lord, we have lived through strange days

Challenging days

Lonely days

Fear filled days

Lord we are tired


Lord we have had our familiar stolen from us

Going to work familiar

Visiting family familiar

Shops, restaurants, concert familiar

Lord we are tired


Lord we have had to learn so many new things

Living in isolation

Working from home


Lord we are tired


Lord we have had to train ourselves with new skills

Living life online

Zoom meetings

Speaking to cameras

Lord we are tired


Lord we have gone through tough times in even tougher days

We have grieved alone

We have been in hospital alone

We have been anxious alone

Lord we are tired


Lord you are our shepherd

We find all that we need in you

Please Lord lay us down in green pastures

Lead us beside the quiet waters

Restore our souls


Lord, we have been stretched 

In our bodies

In our minds

And in our souls


Refresh us Lord

In green pastures

And by quiet waters

Give us rest over these summer months


And may we know

Your goodness and mercy follow us

And bring us back restored and refreshed


In Jesus our Lord and Shepherd’s name



Love Cosmos



Say it again




Forgive your familiarity

Crack the cliche open

Attend to the wonder

The size of it

Hear the words

And listen


Deep down

Be awestruck

The marvellous mystery

The spectacular magnificence

The Cinematic imaginings

Of the Creator and Sustainer

Of the Cosmos 

Cramming it

Every minuscule quark

With astronomical grace.


The words of wonder 

Became flesh…



We love


God first loved us

Love is a force

That draws in  

The spinning broken pieces 

Of our world

Our relationships

And ourselves

Love is always mending

Love is never ending

Love is ever sending

The loved 

To love


So love.


McCrea Belfast from Cavehill

Photo: Philip McCrea - Belfast, Sunday just before sunrise from Cave Hill 


A prayer I prayed in Fitzroy just before the 4 Corners Festival 2021 where the theme of the Festival was Breathe...


Lord, when we think of our city and our world

Over these last 10 months

We are aware that we have had the breath knocked out of us

Not only by Covid

But by sectarianism, ever with us

And racist attacks 

Like the one in the Belfast Multi Cultural Centre building

That uses to be a church

Donegal Pass Presbyterian met in that building

And some of us worshiped there

A racist hate crime

Knocking the breath out of people’s lives

And Domestic abuse Lord, 

Sometimes literally knocking the breath out of us

Businesses on the brink Lord

In these strange times, knocking the breath out of us

Brexit’s uncertainty, knocking the breath out of us

And the pressures in hospitals and schools

Working on our frontlines

Breathless, weary

And Lord there has been illness, grief, isolation

It is not only the physical that we are feeling

But there is pressure 

On our mental, emotional and spiritual lives

Like the breath is being knocked out of us

And so we pray for our city

Our world 

And our own lives

That you would breathe

Your warm sweet breath of love

And comfort, strength and resilience.


As we breath in Lord

May we breath in

Your warm sweet breath of love *


And Lord we are aware this morning

That we have a city and a world

That needs that warm sweet breath of love

Breathed upon it

Lord “may we be your breath

Moving over the face of the deep

May we be a particle of your light

Glowing over the hills of morning” **

May we be your resource

To breath out

The warm sweet breath of love

And comfort and strength and resilience

To all of those that we may meet

Though that is less likely in lockdown days

But to those we intentionally reach out to

In social media, or my phone or by letter

Or maybe even just prayer at a distance.


As we breath in Lord

May we breath in

Your warm sweet breath of love

As we breathe out Lord

May we breathe your warm sweet breath of love

Across our city… and our world.



* The Warm Sweet Breath Of Love is a song by Horslips

** These lines are from Bruce Cockburn's song The Hills Of Morning


Walking in wards

(prayers I used in Fitzroy on January 24, 2021, inspired by Richard Carter's The City Is My Monastery and the lectionary text "follow me...")


Lord I want to walk with you through my city

I want to walk along the pavements

Down University Street onto the Ormeau Road

Weaving through people of different faiths and political persuasions 

People of many nations, colours, cultures

To smell fish and chips, see carpet stores

And kids spilling out of An Droichead

Running across the road to Mornington

Past cafes and bars and law courts and banks to Victoria Square


Lord I want to walk with you

As you stop to give dignity to the man sleeping in the doorway

Pray healing on the woman in the woman’s refuge

As you share your own story with the refugee running from dangers at home


Lord I want to walk with you

As you pray for the business woman struggling to keep going through lockdown

As you feel deep sadness for the rich man off to work for what isn’t gaining him his soul


Lord I want to walk with you 

As you make a special visit to our hospitals

As you put your hand on the shoulders of doctors and nurses, ambulance drivers and cleaning staff alike

To breathe resilience, stamina and compassion into their weariness

As you sit by the bedside of those who are ill or dying

Being with them when their loved ones cannot

As you pray for those whose treatment is on hold in order to deal with the crisis with this pandemic


Lord I want to walk with you in my city 

As I do 

Caress my soul

With your compassion and love

Be the rock and refuge of the Psalms at my side

Lord I want to walk with you in my city

And as I do 

Collide with my soul

Turning around my attitudes, values, ambitions, decisions and daily intentions


Lord I want to walk with you in my city

To find myself redeemed and transformed

That I might do what Jesus would do

In my city.




why not take a walk through Belfast at this year's 4 Corners Festival... The Wonderful Wander is not cancelled... we are locked down but rocked up! Book for The Wonderful Wander and other events, including one with Richard Carter at:

A PRAYER FOR AMERICA (on Inauguration Day)



Today I pray for you

Grace and imagination


Take a moment… or more

To take a deep breath


To calm

The body

The heart

The soul

Breathe in 

To slow down the political adrenaline

That has been raging

Through veins of hyped up opinions

Breathe in

To stand still and look around

To gain perspective

Of self

Of neighbour 

Of nation

Breathe in

Breathe in the grace of God


That forgives

That resets relationships

That draws in fraternity

That restores peace.



Today I pray for you

Grace and imagination


Take a moment… or more

To take a deep breath


Across streets and alleyways

Mountains and deserts

Coastlines and prairies

Breathe out

A vision for this gift of democracy

Inspiration to shape the good of all

Compassion for the least of these

Breathe out

A role model of healing for the world

A care for the stewardship of planet earth

A future of well being for the cosmos

Breathe out

Breathe out the imagination of God


That orders justice

That shapes community

That creates shalom



Today I pray for you 

(and for us all)

Grace and imagination

Breathe in

Breathe out


Here Comes 2021

Here comes the New Year

Not on one stroke of midnight

As in any other year


Last year was not any other year

Nor the year to come

These are two years blurring into one

But they will

Please God

Eventually split someday


That split is where to concentrate our new


Instead of one single moment

We are in a year between years

Between the old and the new

A year of frustration

Head hurt physical distance

Heart hurt social restriction

Soul hurt isolation


But in this anxious blur

We have time to see again

To surmise

The possibility of great correction

The potential of the new in New Year

The hope of newer ahead

Than the older back there

Newer in how we see each other

Newer in how we see the world

And our delicate, precious and unique place in it.


Here comes the New Year

Let us hope in “all things new”.