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I recently read about a parish where the staff, once a week, read out prayerfully, from the parish directory, a list of about twenty families. This is great. And I in no way want to denigrate this – quite the opposite. The reporting had an element of surprise – even from the experienced priest – at how profound this new experience was for them. My surprise is that this is surprising.

As it may very well be surprising, it led me to write this post. I encourage you to have a system to pray for people, especially in your community. Occasionally you might tell people that you pray for them by name. It can affect people deeply. Many a time I am told that “my grandmother always prayed for me”, “my godfather always prayed for me.” Telling the person, of course is not the purpose.

But also know that there are people committed to praying for you who visit this site, and for the petitions put up on the Chapel candle area.

Some people also have a booklet in which they note people they are praying for.

What intercession disciplines do you find useful?

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14 Responses to Intercession

  1. This summer I started writing the names on our parish prayer list on little 3×5 cards and passing them out to people before the service, asking them to pray that name aloud into the silences during Prayers of the People in place of the rote reading of the list by the intercessor. It worked well — the names sounded (and actually were, I think) “prayed” instead of “read”, more people were moved to name their own intercessions (not on the prayer list), and a number of people told me they had taken the cards around with them during the week to continue praying. Lately I have stopped writing the cards every Sunday, and people have continued the practice on their own.

    • Thanks, I tried this today, passing out cards to a few people. When we got to the part where people ‘prayed’ the names aloud, I could sense a great ‘pricking up of ears’. When I next invited us to say aloud or in our hearts the names of any others in need of our prayers, a few people spoke, which is unusual in our congregation. I will certainly do it again.

  2. Tis is much better than soe of the generalized and, as I have said before, stereotyped intercessions one hears. And then there are the poetic ones. In faxt such intercessions you mention are most relevant. I also like to include those forgotten, those who hate or dislike or disagree with me, those i hate, dislike etc. and of course those to whom we are indifferent.

  3. I use an app on my iPad to record the people I want to pray for and the day, date and or frequency I want to pray for them. And I use the BBC news app when I want to pray specifically for things happening in the world right now that are being reported not forgetting of course that some things disappear out of the media but are still situations to be prayed for. I have given up on paper because it gets lost easily whereas I nearly always have my iPad with me. I review the items for prayer from time to time. I usually use the list within the saying of morning prayer daily office (Common Prayer app) but if I don’t have time I can always come back to the list later in the day. I try to pray for church members daily (30 names ) and any specific needs or issues they might have.

      • Hi Bosco, I am using pocket prayer pro which is actually an iPhone app which I then enlarge on the iPad screen. There is a lite version. There is a place to type in prayers in the categories section. I haven’t used this part and haven’t found time to put in prayers that I like as opposed to the ones that were already there – which can be deleted. I use the requests section of the app. And write in requests. It is possible to edit and change frequency or days of the week when you want to pray for someone. There are some things I ignore about the app but I like its ability to be able to schedule as I want to. I tick off each day as I prayer which means if I get interrupted I can carry on that days prayers later 🙂 I write all my church names under one section and then open that note out rather than type in a separate note for each person.

  4. In the Russian Church, parishoners send lists of names along with small loaves of bread to the altar before the Liturgy and during the first half of it. The names are read over the unconsecrated elements as a part of the liturgy of preparation. Particles are taken from each loaf and added to the paten, and the loaves are returned for people to eat a bit of every mor ing during the week.

  5. What should people be praying Bosco? for anyone who is struggling with how to pray for others?

    Is there something beautiful out there that people can use who otherwise don’t know what to think/say?

    • Thanks, Tracy. What about varying the general prayers found in liturgies and daily office rites? Such as:

      God of hope, comfort and restore all who suffer in body, mind or spirit.
      May they know the power of your healing love.

      We thank you for the unfailing love you hold out to everyone in Jesus Christ. Comfort and heal those in sorrow, need, sickness or any other trouble. Give them courage and hope in their distress, and bless those who minister to them.

      Have compassion on those who suffer from sickness, grief or trouble.
      In your presence may they find strength.


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About This Site Welcome to this ecumenical website of resources and reflections on liturgy, spirituality, and worship for individuals and communities. It is run by Rev. Bosco Peters.

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