The Church’s prayer unit is clearly keeping its finger on the pulse of modern British life. As well as the standard calls for world peace, divine mercy and so on, its website now features a prayer for those made redundant. ‘Redundant - the word says it all – useless, unnecessary, without purpose, surplus to requirements’, the prayer begins (rather harshly, you might argue – no need to rub it in). The worshipper goes on to ask for help to think clearly ‘as I cry out in confusion’, and help to seek new opportunities ‘as I look to the future’. A bit like the Jobcentre Plus, then.
Those who escape the axe arguably have less practical need for the power of prayer, but the Church has not forgotten them either: there’s also a prayer for those remaining in the workplace. The contemplative verse ponders the existential angst of the un-sacked worker: ‘It’s hard to know what I feel/ Sadness, certainly/ Guilt, almost, at still having a job to go to/ And fear of the future:/ Who will be next?/ How will I cope with the increased pressure?’ and asks for the Lord’s help to get through it.
The prayers can be found in a special ‘Matter of Life and Debt’ section of the Church of England’s website, which also covers zeitgeist-friendly topics like excessive debt, keeping to household budgets and dealing with the financial crisis. It’s all part of the Church’s instant liturgy office – better known as the rapid response prayer unit – which provides believers with words of wisdom on the pressing issues of the day.
Given that most credit card companies are, sadly, unlikely to accept the Lord’s grace in lieu of your monthly repayments, there will inevitably be some critics who argue that sufferers would be better off focusing on the here-and-now, rather than praying for divine intervention. However, it’s also true that downturns are inextricably linked to mood. So if these prayers help to convince people that all is not lost – and recent studies have shown that a large proportion of adults do still pray on a regular basis – then perhaps they have a part to play in keeping people’s spirits up.
And if nothing else, it’s good to see a consumer-facing organisation moving with the times...
In today's bulletin:
M&S cuts jobs and stores after sales slump
Domino's and Greggs line up higher profits
Videogames going to the next level
Power of prayer is not redundant
LAST CHANCE: MT's 2008 in 20 Questions