“Let us pray for the whole state of Christ’s Church militant here in earth”
One of the great strengths of the church of England has been the quality of its intercessory prayer. We have a strong tradition of insightful, politically, globally and socially aware formal prayer as part of our services. They are prayed faithfully week by week in churches up and down the land, and in the great Cathedral services at places like St Paul’s. For inspiration visit a communion service there, and you will almost certainly hear well crafted, well informed intercessions as a key part of worship.
Good intercessions are both edifying and educational. They make a statement that what happens in the world at large matters here in church. They teach and inform the congregation. And of course they pray ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ into various situations home and abroad. Sadly in our services they get squeezed out too often. We should be endeavoring to correct this, and perhaps the best way is to have them done by senior people in the church who can prepare and model good intercessions.
From now on there will be an additional rota task of intercessions, and we will aim to have people on the rota once every two months.
In their simplest form intercessions are structured to pray
- for the world
- for our local community and nation
- and for the church local and global
with each section separated by a response, the most familiar of which is:
Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer
There is always time pressure on our services, so try to script 3-4 minutes of good quality prayer, rather than longer rambling prayers.
As an example here are our Intercessions from 23rd Oct
Intercessions for Maundy Thursday
And those lovely intercessions from the 1928 Book of Common prayer are here.
And the 1662 BCP Intercessions are here
You can find other Forms of Intercession on the Church of England website, here.