January 27, 2019 - Pastor Message02/17/2019
YEAR OF PRAYER PART 3: INTERCESSION
“First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgiving be offered for everyone” (1 Timothy 2:1).
As mentioned in a previous column, we at St. Boniface have designated 2019 a Year of Prayer during which we will focus in a special way on the different aspects and forms of prayer in an effort to grow in our understanding and appreciation of prayer as a parish and as individual Christians. This week we will look at intercessory prayer, praying for others.
Intercessory prayer, or simply intercession, has deep roots in our Church. Jesus himself commanded his disciples to pray for others, even their enemies (Matthew 5:44). St. Paul and the other Apostles frequently urged their fellow Christians to pray for them and for one another, as seen in the verse above from 1 Timothy. So important was intercession to the Christian community that it was incorporated into the celebration of the Eucharist very early on, and it continues to be a part of the Mass in the Prayers of the Faithful after the Creed and within the Eucharistic Prayer.
Intercession is an exercise of Christian mercy and fellowship. Through it, the person who prays for another looks not to his or her own needs but to the needs of others, cultivating a more merciful heart and building up the bonds of charity. Christian intercession also unites us more closely to the heart of Jesus and participates in his own intercession for all people, extending his saving mission and strengthening the communion of the saints, who are all one in Jesus.
We have many ways that we can pray for others. Two that we offer at St. Boniface are our Prayer Network and Prayer Shawl Ministry. The Prayer Network notebook is located on the shelf to the left of the entrance of the church, near the elevator. Please simply write your prayer intentions in the notebook so that others can pray for them. I also encourage you to periodically stop by and read over the notebook, including the intentions listed there in your own prayer. Blessed Prayer Shawls are offered in the gathering space at different times throughout the year.
They can also be obtained upon request by contacting Ginny Stanton, Mary Good, or Penny Warmbrod. Those who make the shawls pray throughout the process for the persons who will receive them, and the shawls serve as ongoing symbols of that prayer as well as the prayer of those who give the shawls to others.
Opportunities for intercession are not limited to St. Boniface. One recent effort has taken the concept of a prayer network to a whole new level, bringing intercession into the information age. At Pope Francis’ request, a new, international prayer network has been launched with the “Click to Pray” app and website (https://clicktopray.org/). Here people can post and respond to prayer requests from all over the world, participating in the limitless powerhouse of prayer that is the universal Church. Other prayer resources, such as daily prayers, the pope’s intentions for the month, and special prayers, such as the Rosary for Peace, are also available. Regardless of what resources we may use, let us be sure to include intercession in our regular prayer life, and let us never cease praying for our brothers and sisters here at St. Boniface and around the world.
Fr. Marc Stockton