No question about it, but in many churches there is not a designated time for the people to pray. Some churches are just too big for that, and even too big for a pastoral prayer. Others are so focused on the sermon that there is not time left for what we Anglicans call the “prayers of the people.”
In our liturgy, every Sunday, we have a time where we are led by a lay person in prayer. It’s called “intercession” or “intercessory prayers” when we pray for others, and when we do it in public it needs to be the sort of intercession that belongs in public. As a seminary student I had one professor whose opening prayers were of such significance that I wish they had gone into print, which of course they didn’t because they were not scripted prayers, but also because Murray Harris knew his class-opening prayers were so tied to that class, on that day, in that time in history that they weren’t relevant to others in different places and times.
Evidently Sam Wells, formerly chaplain, dean and professor at Duke and now Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields church in Trafalgar Square, offered memorable prayers in chapel at Duke, so much so that folks began to gather them up and now we have in Shaping the Prayers of the People: The Art of Intercession, by Samuel Wells and Abigail Kocher, a fine study and collection of intercessory prayers.
Question for you who offer intercessions in public: How much time do you spend preparing? What do you think are the ingredients of good public intercessory prayers? And, pastors, do you offer a Pastoral Prayer in your public worship?
Read the entite text HERE.