We seek to enable members of our congregation to lead us in intercessory prayer, especially during our 10am service each Sunday. A wide range of voices during prayer helps ensure that our prayers encompass the whole community of God here at Holy Trinity.
Since the pandemic we have been seeking to rebuild this aspect of our worship. So if you would like to lead some intercessions for us, please talk to Hazel G on 01923 824235, who is starting to co-ordinate this for us. or any member of the ministry team.
Here are some tips for leading intecessions, which should last about 3-4 minutes.
Why do we pray during our services?
- Biblical context: Matthew 6:9-13; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; Romans 8:26-27
- To lead the congregation in prayer for other people and for situations
- To pray for God’s Kingdom to come, for God’s will to be done and for our ‘daily bread’ (Matthew 6:9-13)
- To pray for everyone, especially those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness – so that all people will be saved
- To model intercessory prayer, so that what we do in our services becomes part of our everyday lives
- We rest on the promise and nature of God revealed in Jesus
Prepare ahead of time: so please do:
- spend time praying and thinking about what to put in
- time yourself beforehand: it should be no more than 3 or 4 minutes when read slowly
- arrive 15 minutes before the service and let the ministry team know you are there
- think about the nature of the service: e.g. is it Parish Communion, All Age or a special service?
- keep the language simple and clear.
- ask for feedback from the person leading the service, friends and members of the congregation
Who/what should we pray for?
- The world: peace, world leaders, environmental issues, conflict…..
- The Church (the people of God): world wide and local.
- The local community
- Those who are in trouble: ill, anxious and those who care for them. Consider praying ‘generically’ and allowing silent space for people to name individuals they know who are in trouble in that way. If specific names appear in the Herald however, please include them, and also anyone else who has asked you or a member of ministry team to be prayed for.
- Those who have died recently and those who are grieving their loss, include those who’s anniversary of passing is in this week. Note that names will appear in the Herald, and there is also a notice in the vestry if anyone has died more recently than the Herald has been printed, so please check that.
- What is big this coming week? (e.g. Elections-but don’t tell people how to vote!)
- What has touched you this week? A special concern?
- Financial difficulty? A successful business deal? A news story?
- Warning: Try not to be too personal: if there is something personal, make it general.
- What has touched the community? Use the specific to pray out to the general. (e.g. A child killed in a road accident: “We pray for the family – that in their sorrow they will know comfort of friends, hope, strength and peace. We pray for other families who have lost children”). Ask – what is it (if anything) that people will have on their minds as they come to church (e.g. school reorganization)
- What are the issues that we are supporting or dealing with as a Christian community: mission focus, new team members, study groups or confirmation classes, Holiday club, etc. Use notice sheet and make sure you are on the email list so you can look at what’s on in the coming weeks.
- What is the bible passage about? Does it give any hints? Is there a theme or example that you can relate to? (Warning: Do not preach another sermon!).
- There is a also a cycle of prayers that the diocese publishes that prays each week for churches in the diocese and dioceses around the world.
Top tips of things to avoid:
- Confession or meditation
- Telling God what is what
- Telling people what God thinks
- Telling people what you think (about the latest hot topic!).
- Don’t preach at people, or express your own personal viewpoint (eg. we pray that the Liberal Party will win the next general election)
- Do not pray ‘spur of the moment’ prayers, unless you are sure it is appropriate. Usually they ramble and waffle.
- Occasionally, it might be right to major on one country or on one situation, or on the particular day of the Christian year.
- Avoid the temptation to teach during prayers : prayers are from the people to God, not vice-versa!! Also be extremely careful when praying about subjects which may be sensitive to members of the congregation, such as divorce, etc.
- Putting on a ‘prayerful voice’: yours is wonderful the way God made it
- Standing miles away from the microphone. The congregation would love to hear your prayers and some of our community rely on the ‘hearing loop’ system to do this. If you’d like to practice with the microphone before the service please do.
Planning for Normal Parish Communion
- Do use responses for each “section”, as it helps the congregation to be part of the prayers:
- use the one in the service book for that time of the year:
- Ordinary Time: "Lord, in your mercy | hear our prayer." & "Merciful Father, | accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen."
- Advent and Lent: "Lord, hear us | Lord, graciously hear us." & "Merciful Father, | accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen."
- Christmas & Epiphany: "Jesus, Saviour | hear our prayer." & "Accept our prayer, Jesus, Saviour, | Child of Many, you know us and love us, you share our lives and hear our prayer. Glory to you for ever. Amen"
- Kingdom Season:
- OR repeat response at beginning, so people know what it is that they are being asked to say
- keep the response simple
- use the one in the service book for that time of the year:
- Using standard forms of prayer (eg. Common Worship framework can be very helpful).
- Forms can be found in Common Worship: (pages 281-289) or on the common worship website:
- Adding your own choice of prayers
You may well mix the resources that you use:
- set prayers from service book
- published prayers from other books
- prayers you write yourself for the occasion
- consider matching the phase of the Church year e.g. Lent, Advent, etc
- Common Worship: offers many specific frameworks e.g. Times and Seasons which is kept in the vestry
- In addition to Prayers for Various Occasions (page 101) or http://www.cofe.anglican.org/worship/liturgy/commonworship/texts/word/prayers2.html
- Keep prayers short and easy to concentrate on
- Any prayers you choose/write should be no longer than the average ‘collect’ length, possibly less, you are after all praying in several sections.
- Allow other people to space to pray
- Use silence. Give people time to think and pray time (When you say “We pray in silence….” it will seem much longer to you, so time it on your watch: 15-30 seconds of silence is a good length of time)
- Do give your prayers a sense of starting and ending
- It’s often good to start with a bidding (e.g. from the service book or sheet) and finish with an ending (e.g. and so we commend ourselves, each other and our whole lives to you). Merciful Father …..
- Do include thanksgiving in your prayers
Planning for other services:
e.g. Family Service, Encounter Communion, All Age Service.
If you are asked to do the intercessions for such services do seek guidance over the theme of the service and try to link with that. It maybe that you can draw those of other ages to say some of the prayers that you write to give it the feel of all of the congregation being included in the prayers.
Sometimes prayers in such services will include movement or a level of interactivity to engage the congregation.
Other Helpful Resources
- Ask other members of the prayer team what their favourite resources are.
- Iona Community - http://www.ionabooks.com/e-liturgies-prayers.html