PRAYERS FOR THE PEOPLE
Scripture: Philippians 2: 1-11
“let this mind be in you that you have in Christ Jesus” (from NRSV, bold text from footnote)
A prayer for a transformation of our minds. I need that! Paul invites us to imitate Christ’s humility. In John Wesley’s writings “Works”, he says of this passage, “Christ emptied himself of all but love”. In a later sermon “On Working Out Our Own Salvation”, Wesley writes “first, God works; therefore you can work. Secondly, God works; therefore you must work… with utmost care and diligence”.
Lenten disciplines are self-examinations that seek greater conformity to the mind of Christ and true devotion to ministry on behalf of the world.
These days I find myself asking people how I might pray with them or for them, listening for their insights on how they are experiencing the world and how the Holy Spirit may be speaking to them through prayer.
So I wonder how our prayers for the people might be transformed as we ask one another to share what they are seeing, what they are experiencing, how the Spirit may be speaking to them during these days of Lent and this time of sheltering in place?
One of my favorite prayers from the Book of Common Prayer, is titled “For All Sorts and Conditions of Men”. * Toward the conclusion of the prayer it reads
“Finally, we commend to thy fatherly goodness all those who are in any ways afflicted or distressed, in mind, body, or estate; that it may please thee to comfort and relieve them according to their several necessities, giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions. And this we beg for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.”
I invite you to share your “prayers for the people” with me. And to be more specific, I want to invite or ask you to share with me what you are praying for now that maybe has changed since we have begun this time of social distancing and sheltering in place. What has come into your heart and mind as we intercede for the world and for the church while we are at a distance? What “conditions of people” have arisen in your consciousness that had not occurred to you before? As an example I find myself praying for all kinds of people at the grocery stores and the hardware stores these days and I am definitely thankful that spring is not stopped by a virus!
You can e-mail me your prayers and ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(*a title established by the Episcopal Church in 1789)
-- Pastor Kelly Giese