I’ll Pray for You, You Pray for Me

My somewhat nerdy notes about liturgy that I’ve offered throughout the summer will soon take a break, as we’ll need to write on some other topics and activities coming up in the parish.  But today, I want to say a few things about a portion of our Sunday liturgy that is so vitally important and that maybe doesn’t get as much attention as it should.  I’m talking about The Prayers of the People.

You might recognize the Prayers of the People said each time we gather for Eucharist. Often these are prayers that use a prepared form from the Book of Common Prayer or another resource. Lately, they’ve been lovingly composed by members of the community.

At St. Michael’s, the Prayers of the People are often led by a Eucharistic Minister who moves out amidst the congregation to give voice at the appointed time.  This Fall, we will actually open that role up to others who may want to sign up to lead prayers from their spot in the pews, while not desiring to vest and serve in other roles in front of the congregation.  (Please send me an email if you are interested in leading Prayers of the People from time to time.)

We will also be intentional to mention those on our prayer list in the prayers, and to invite all the people to voice their concerns and thanksgivings at appointed times in the prayers.  It is so important that we have time to pray together and to lift up one another – all who are hurting, who are lonely, who may be traveling or facing a big test, who are afraid or sad, or any adversity.

At the announcement time, we do a great job celebrating with folks and blessing those who are marking important milestones in their lives.  At the Prayers of the People, we have time to lift our prayers and hold up one another during uncertain times.  I hope we’ll be intentional to engage the Prayers of the People and help make them special and meaningful in our times together.

Between Sundays, I hope you know that I pray for all the people of St. Michael’s.  I give thanks for you.  I lift up the cares and concerns shared with me, and those unspoken.  I ask God to help us grow in loving and serving one another.  I pray for our neighbors and ask God to inspire and empower us to be Christ’s heart and hands in the world.

I hope you pray for me, too.  In fact, I ask you to do so.  Let the Spirit lead you, and ask God to help me and your vestry and our staff and all those dedicated ministry leaders in our parish.  So we can move all together into the grace-filled future God has for all of us.

I’ll pray for you.  You pray for me.  And we’ll pray together.  Deal?

The Rev. R. Scott Painter, Rector
Email: ScottP@stmaa.org