Prayers for the Climate and Ecological Emergency

Over the past few months I have been encouraged, challenged, inspired and refreshed by a series of prayers written by Rev. Jon Swales – Prayers for the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

I first met Jon a few years ago. I spent a few days with him as part of a training placement I did, which I loved. Several years later, while I was starting to wake up to the seriousness and urgency of the Climate and Ecological Crisis, it was exciting to see Jon making the same journey. He has been a few steps ahead of me along the way, and his passion, courage and clarity have been a real inspiration.

As a Christian one of the ways that Jon has responded to the Climate and Ecological Crisis has been in prayer. I’m sure that he, like many others, has prayed about this on his own and with others in many quiet and private ways – but alongside his personal prayer Jon has also written a fantastic collection of prayers that he has shared with others. You can read them here. As well as writing the prayers, Jon has also recorded many of them – producing videos and recently a podcast of the prayers spoken aloud. Jon has asked if I will record myself reading one of his prayers – what a privilege to be able to add my voice to this outpouring of grief and love, pain and hope.

Prayer is at the heart of the Christian life. It is not just delivering a shopping list of requests, but a precious practice of connection – of slowing down to share in conversation with the Presence that fills all of everything: speaking, listening, silence. Prayer is to sit with Jesus, and to bring the people, places, creatures and concerns of the world to sit beside Jesus with me.

Prayer has been at the heart of much of the protest and campaigning around the Climate and Ecological Crisis – from private tears to public prayer vigils, Christians celebrating Holy Communion in blocked streets to Extinction Rebellion’s ‘Solemn Intention Statement’ (often read before/during/after an action, and something I find deeply prayerful):

“Let’s take a moment, this moment, to consider why we are here.

Let’s remember our love, for this beautiful planet that feeds, nourishes and sustains us. Let’s remember our love for the whole world of humanity in all corners of the world.

Let’s recollect our sincere desire to protect all this, for ourselves, for all living beings, and for generations to come.

As we act today, may we find the courage to bring a sense of peace, love and appreciation to everyone we encounter, to every word we speak and to every action we make. We are here for all of us.”

Not all climate activism includes prayer (Christian or otherwise), but as a Christian this has been a key way for me to engage – with my head, heart, hands and spirit. Prayer in this context is not just about what I think will happen – what it will do – but also because of what it will do to me and in me. As one recommendation from someone who Jon works with says:

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

(Rev. Canon Dr Mark Cowley)


Published by oikoslife

I am married, father of 2 young children (2014 and 2017), pioneering priest in the Church of England, surfer, climate activist and much more. Born in Yorkshire, and currently living on the Yorkshire Coast. Doing my best to live in good connection with God, self, neighbour and creation - working it out as I go.

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