Monday, 29 August 2011

Intercessions?

Earlier this morning I was invited to comment on a friends blog about the training needed for  intercessions. I've failed twice having spent a few minutes each time trying to get my thoughts down but each time I am told after losing what I've written that my email address is invalid.  I can only assume this is because its a mac one.  So I'm putting this on my blog in the hope she can  read it here. 
Years ago I did the intercessions fairly frequently in my home church. Now as an assistant priest in a different parish we have a rota....so the only time I'm called on to do it  is when someone is missing. 
The main problem for me is the length of time taken by some people. One man here goes on for 20 minutes which is ten minutes longer than my sermon!. I try to get  myself comfortable at the beginning!
It really shouldn't be necessary to cover everything at great length I think and  the long lists of the sick can get boring which is not the aim of the prayers at all..
The main reason to intercede on  behalf of  people or global  situations every week is to direct the congregation into the much needed prayers that come from the heart. If the congregation has switched off mentally they are not  going to do much praying! 
Intercessions shouldn't be intended to impress..they should be direct appeals to people for prayers.
I have in the past used various books to help with this but I know in my heart that I touch people best  when the prayers are  not prepared and  given with sincerity and love.
As on Twitter, brevity is definitely a virtue!

4 comments:

  1. Thank-you very much indeed for this. I am so sorry for the technical hitch in posting it on my website (if I may, I will copy it there with an explanatory note). I blame wordpress! (Seriously, I will ask the webmaster to look at it, unfortunately I don't have the know-how to fix it myself).

    Thank-you for the plea for brevity! In some churches, you would think the intercessors are in competition with each other to see who can go on longest...

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  2. I seem to have successfully impersonated you! The comment is now on http://layanglicana.org/blog.

    I really do appreciate your taking the time, particularly on a bank holiday, to help with this.

    One thing I particularly admire - and envy - from your comments (and your throwaway line about 'winging it' for the impromptu boat service) is your calm approach to extempore prayer. I am really, really bad at this. We take it in turns in our weekly house group to open and close the sessions, but even in front of such a small gathering I do rather dread this. If I have it written down in advance, I am not at all nervous on the other hand. I think this has something to do with the 'magic' of ordination!

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  3. While I have only very limited experience of intercessionery prayer, and that from the congregation's point of view. I have to agree that some people's approach appears to be to aim to name personally the entire universe.
    Tedious in the extreme, and in my case at least, producing an internal "for Heavens' sake, get on with it".
    Not helpful if the aim is to concentrate the prayers of the whole congregation.
    While there are those who need our prayer it is useful if the intercessionary has a sense of priority.

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  4. Laura the more you do it the easier it gets! I used to be just the same if asked unexpectedly to say a prayer....my mind would do a somersault trying to the the ducks in a row....now I just think for a couple of secs and the words flow.....practice and age!

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