A vigil of hope for a world
in crisis.

Live on ZOOM.

cornavirus prayer

Daily prayers online
as we face coronavirus.

A Prayer for Humanity–Holding Out

A Prayer for Humanity–Holding Out is an 8-hour online vigil to hold open all that is happening during the COVID-19 (coronavirus), the many things that we know, and the many that we don't. This is a time for just sitting or being with something that's much bigger than ourselves, affecting lives in so many ways, and which often may seem to be beyond us to comprehend. This time for meditation, reflection, holding open or prayer will be held regularly as the COVID-19 (coronavirus) impacts around the world. The next planned vigil is Thursday 23rd April 2020. Please join me via Zoom at any time for as long as you wish to reflect, pray, meditate or simply bathe in the beautiful ministry of the shared will of others, wishing hope for our world.

The vigil doesn't involve interaction, being a silent activity. You'll be able to see an image of me, and possibly also of others, on screen, as we join together via the online live-streaming service ZOOM between 2000 BST (London time) on 23rd April and 0400 BST on 24th April 2020. Hence, excepting possibly very short breaks, you’ll know that you’re not alone when you join the vigil.

Through prayer, positive intent, or heart-felt willing, we may–perhaps–enable real change, and collectively help invite light and hope into a place where there is darkness and grief for so many. This is my hope and prayer. I hope that you will join me in sharing this vision for our common humanity.

How to tune in to the vigil

At the time you want to join, simply click on the link below to tune in to the Zoom livestream: https://zoom.us/j/96552159123. You can also join via the Zoom app, with meeting ID 965-5215-9123, or by dialling-in to the vigil from a phone. Click here to find the local number to dial in to from your country, then enter the meeting ID 965-5215-9123 when prompted. No password is required.

Click here to find the equivalent times in your own time zone: https://www.timeanddate.com/.

You can join via a computer, tablet or smart phone–all you need is an Internet connection. However, Zoom usually works best when used via its own app (on a computer or other device). If you don’t already have this and plan to join the vigil, you may like to download the app ahead of the call: https://zoom.us/download.

Find out more about joining a Zoom call: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193, or watch my video introduction for folks who are new to Zoom.

What are we holding out for?

We may all have specific things that we want to hold open or pray for – our own situation, the situation of others we know, and the needs of specific groups of people. We may wish to pray for wisdom for those who take decisions in government and elsewhere, for the protection of healthcare and other key workers, for the safety of refugees and others living in cramped or unhygienic conditions, and more.

However, for many of us, the many needs of this crisis are simply too great to know. We may feel helpless to know where to start to pray, what to pray for. All we may do, then, is to hold open this overwhelming crisis, without focusing on any single aspect, just pleaing for the God of our understanding to take care of it for us. Or, we may pray simply as we feel led.

Simply put, our holding out might be put as:

An unfolding with so many consequences...

• A time of unknowing, shaking, and surrender

• A time when we may often feel helpless, able to do no more than to hold open all that is happening to the God of our understanding to take care of what is and what will be.

What will happen during the vigil?

When you join the vigil, you will see a a small image of me on the screen. Depending on the settings that you may have set in Zoom, you may also see and small images of any others who are online at the time, and who wish to share their cameras (these won’t be shown by default). I and others will not be speaking, as we will ourselves by taking part in the vigil, and all calls will be muted (note: I may occasionally disappear for essential breaks, but typically, these should be short).

This isn’t a guided meditation, but rather a space for people who want to invite hope for humanity, and for beung together at a heart level. You may prefer not to pay much attention to what's appearing on the screen at all. I find that closing my eyes helps me keep focus, but do what feels right for you. A meditation bell will occasionally chime, at random points, to help remind us of where we are, and bring us back to our vigil, if our minds are wandering.

You will have the option to share or hide your webcam, as you wish, however this isn’t a livecast about talking and watching, but rather listening, connecting with the positive intention of the vigil, and receiving comfort and inspiration.

Please join at any time, for as many times, and for as long as you like during the 8 hours. Zoom restricts participants to 100 at a time on my account, however, I’m not expecting that to be a problem. In the unlikely event that you find you cannot come online, just try again later. You can leave the meeting and rejoin again later as you wish.

If you wish, you will be able to share anything that comes to you in Zoom’s chat (a messaging box that you can optionally display on your screen and interact with), but I request that you keep sound muted throughout the vigil (this will be set automatically when you join), to avoid interrupting the vigil for others. The chat will not be recorded, and will delete after the vigil ends. I do not expect to monitor the chat.

At the end of the vigil, I will ring the meditation bowl and bring our time together to a gentle close, and the call will end.

What to do during the vigil

There are no "right ways" for taking part. I suggest, if you can, joining for at least 15 minutes, which is usually a good time for breaking from the stresses of the day and allowing yourself to be still for a time. When you leave, you may want to come away slowly, becoming aware of where you are, and not immediately rushing into another activity.

You may wish to close your eyes during the vigil, and try to avoid too much time staring at the screen. You may want to restrict eating and drinking to taking only water. Sit, stand or lie comfortably, or as you feel led. Have a blanket to hand if you feel cold. Otherwise, just be still and simply breathe. Sit with what may be currently on your heart, hold it open to the God of your understanding (or Universe, perhaps, if you do not believe in a particular God).

If you feel able to, you may also at times like to remember others who are on the call, either in actual or virtual time. Pray that they will be blessed, hold them as they enjoy receiving whatever their time of holding may bring them.

Generally, though, just allow yourself to be led as you feel guided. Go within, empty your mind of busy thoughts if you can, do not feel a need to reflect or focus on anything in particular. When your mind distracts and you become aware of the distraction, simply come back to reminding yourself of the intention of the vigil.

Longer meditation

If you plan to join me in meditating during the vigil, and meditating over a longer period of several hours or more, be careful to take rests between periods of "going deep", especially if like me, you're more familiar with shorter meditations. Take special care to come out of the meditation gently, to avoid being disturbed by the busyness of normality. Much can come up during a deep meditation, and you can find yourself going very deep. Yet this is also where we can most learn, be transformed, and renewed.

If you want to share anything that arises for you with another person after the vigil, I will be available to listen and share on a one-to-one basis in spiritual holding a little later in the week (I expect to need sleep immediately after the vigil, except if your need to talk is an emergency). Simply email or message me after the vigil if you'd like to talk.

What if there are technology problems?

Excepting a failure of the Internet/break in the music and images playing at my end, I won’t be able to monitor the sessions or offer technical support, as I’ll be joining in the vigil myself. If you have difficulty connecting, you may wish to check your Internet or try again.

If you don't hear the music, check that the volume on your device is switched up and the 'Audio' settings in Zoom are set to enable you to 'call via device audio' (on a smart phone, audio settings are found by clicking on the small loud speaker symbol at the bottom left of the screen. You may not see this option displaying until you touch the screen, or move your mouse if you are using a computer).

Zoom offers a very comprehensive online help service here, which should help with any problems you may have relating to Zoom.

I will endeavour to resolve any technical problems at my end as soon as possible. If these occur, simply check back later (the Zoom links will remain valid, excepting very unlikely problems with Zoom’s servers).