Friday 19 March 2010

Worship leading - Prayer

You know, the Prayers for Other People and the World  (or "Intercessions" to give their posh name) can be an awkward piece to get right in any fellowship.  The knowledge that Coffee is hanging in the air gives an air either of impatience or foreboding to the whole thing.  And yet you're supposed to be standing between the World and the Divine - calling the One into the Other to make things happen.  Or something, depending on your theology of these things.  So to give you some creative help, here are some ideas.  Some may work for you, some - well who knows?

1.  Instead of having the usual boring prayers from the front, ask everyone to join in with their own contributions.  If you're middle-of-the-road Anglicans you'll enjoy an unusual and rather wonderful 5 minutes of silence.  But if you're at the more charismatic end of things, you may even find people preaching whole sermons during this time.  I've know one "spontaneous" contribution that included 3 points, a summary, a handout of the prayer with footnotes giving the biblical references and an altar call.  It can also be a handy way to find out about new and interesting places where nasty things are happening.

2.   All-together spontaneous prayers not your thing?  Then why not break everyone up into small groups and ask them to discuss - or even to pray - together.  Give them some starters - maybe "who's got a condition they'd rather not talk about" or "who'd like to share something that will embarrass a close relative" and away they'll go.  Or not.

3.   Ask everyone to write one prayer out - one thing they really want to happen in the world - on a square of paper.  Then light them all in the fireplace and.... no, sorry.  I've got that confused, haven't I?

3(a) What I meant was - and then read them out prayerfully.  You may have to apply some discretion.  If anyone's wishing any actual physical harm on anyone else in the fellowship that's not great.  But I see no harm in prayers for character in Soap Operas - Dot's knee or Ken's love life or whatever.  After all, prayer's gotta be good in general, even if it's meant to be directed for the good of imaginary people.

4.  Many churches have a prayer list for ill people.  And then they have a prayer list for dead people.  Followed by the list for people who've been dead for a while.  And it's a depressing fact in many cases that people move gradually down the list.  So why not have a prayer list for people who are better than they are?  Then some people will move up the list.  OK, you're not going to be expecting people to do a Wigan and go up all four divisions - but maybe just up from "not well" to "well" would be nice once in a while.

5.  Build on the list of unwell people.  Many people in your fellowship won't know them, as they don't make it to meetings as they're not well.  So why not pray for other people who you don't know?  Maybe pray for a list of people from the phone directory each week, or day, or month according to your worshipping patterns.  Better still bring a phone directory back from your holidays, and pray for the people in that.  Then every week there will be people in another part of the country being mysteriously blessed - and they'll never know why.

6.  Pray for Richard Dawkins.  Not for him to be converted - then he'd only go to heaven and hate it.  Just pray for him to have a nice day.  And then if he does, you've won!

1 comment :

Drop a thoughtful pebble in the comments bowl