5. A general prayer of intercession
When we give ourselves up to pray for our world, it can be difficult to discern the exact subject that we should be addressing in prayer. Praying for the world can be daunting at times. In addition to prayers for peace, healing, hardship and the knowledge of Christ, there are environmental concerns, injustice and poverty, the right use of scientific progress and the right guidance of people (to name just a few). There is so much we could pray for!
A general intercession is a prayer that gives voice to a variety of topics, all with the aim of unleashing the power of Christ in the world. It is rooted in the belief that God already knows the needs of this world. It is therefore useful at times when we do not know what to pray for or what words to use.
Think, O Lord, of all your people who have bowed to you and those who are absent due to old age, sickness, or infirmity. Take care of the infants, guide the young, support the old, encourage the weak, gather the scattered, and bring the wanderers into your flock. Travel with the travelers, defend the widows, protect the orphans, free the prisoners, heal the sick. Help all who are in tribulation, need, or need. Think forever of all those who love us and who hate us and who have desired us, unworthy as we are to pray for them. And those we have forgotten, remember, O Lord. Because you are the helper of the helpless, the savior of the lost, the refuge of the wanderer, the healer of the sick. You, who know every need and answer our prayer, grant everyone according to your merciful goodness and your eternal love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (The book of common prayer).
In the end, we need to make all of these prayers our own. We are to add our own voices when the Spirit prompts us to do so. The above prayers serve as a guide when we want to pray in a certain way. Or, if we cannot form the words ourselves, the above prayers can serve as our own voice. Ultimately, however, prayer is about the longing of the heart and not the words of our mouth.
The dynamic between the power of the Spirit and the effect of our prayers can be difficult to understand. It is not that Jesus is sitting on the edge of the world until his people call him to action. The Holy Spirit is always at work. We don’t let God act. We pray for our world because we are invited to participate in what God is doing. In love, God encourages us to partake in the work of the kingdom. Yes, God can do anything without our help. However, since God is gracious and loving, God wants our prayers to be a part of this work. Our prayers have an impact in the world because God wants our prayers to have an impact.
Given this promise, let us pray.
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