||Prayers of the People are part of our regular order of service, following the singing of "Send Your Holy Spirit." These prayers offer the concerns and thanksgivings of our congregation. Prayers of the People are now being written and presented by St. John's members and groups, rather than by the ministers.
There are two ways you can be part of this. First, send your prayer requests. Call in, bring, or send your prayer requests to Marilyn Peacock at the church office. Second, you can write and present the Prayers of the People. The formula is very simple:
If you have thanksgivings or concerns to be included in Prayers of the People, bring or email them to Marilyn at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember that we must have the permission of anyone we mention by name in Prayers of the People.
- Address God. What is your image of God now? For example, the social action committee started with "Good Samaritan God."
- Offer concerns and thanksgivings. Choose what you want to pray for and be specific about local and world issues, the church, the health of the Earth, peace.
A simple way to remember who to pray for uses your hand: the thumb is for the nearest: family, friends and community; the index finger is for those who point the way like teachers and ministers; the longest finger is for powerful leaders; the ring finger is for the weak and vulnerable; the pinkie is for ourselves.
- End with "Amen." If that feels too abrupt, reflect on the relationship we have with God, for example, "Gracious God, we know you listen to our prayers.
Help us to listen for your voice in our lives. Amen," or, "In Jesus' name we pray."
- Some things to remember when writing Prayers of the People are:
Confidentiality: Ask the person you want to pray for if you can use their name. Otherwise pray for them in silence or generalize the prayer, i.e., "for all who are ill..."
God language: Let it be inclusive. You can go two ways on this; either use many images for God (Rock, Parent, Spirit, Jesus, Burning Bush) or use God and You instead of He or She.
Mechanics: Keep the prayer to 2-3 minutes (2/3 of a page). Build silence into the prayer so people can offer personal thanks. Leave space for listening to God.
Praying is communication with God: Your own words are best. You don't have to be a poet to write prayers. Integrity and intimacy make strong prayers, like the best of the Psalms, or a child's simple, honest prayer.
Listen to yourself: What is at the top of your list of worries and joys? Chances are, many share them and would be comforted to have them spoken.
Listen to people close to you: parents, children, young adults, elders. What are they concerned about? What makes them joyful?
Look at current interests: What are the topics in the news that grab us? The change of seasons inspires. What are the Bible readings for Sunday?
If you are stuck for words, pages 909 and 926 in the Hymnal are useful. The red binder, Celebrate God's Presence, in Linda's office has lots of prayers.
The Internet is a great resource.