One of the things I love so much about being on staff at Church of the Resurrection is that every Thursday at 11:00 am we have Staff Chapel. Staff members who are located in the Southcreek Offices, Resurrection West, Resurrection Downtown, and Resurrection Blue Springs all drive to Leawood to meet the rest of us in Wesley Covenant Chapel. This is the one hour of our work week that all of the staff pause to worship together and share our joys, concerns and prayers as a staff. I was particularly touched by the lesson that Rev. Todd Maberry, one of the Resurrection Downtown campus pastors, shared with us this past week on intercessory prayer. Todd challenged us to a different understanding of how praying for others “works.” We tend to think about intercessory prayer as a transaction with God. We send our prayers up to God, asking for healing and the relief of suffering on behalf of others, and then God hears our prayers and answers them or not. Todd had us think about intercessory prayer as a relationship or an interaction with God. So, when we interact with God in prayer on others’ behalf, we in essence bring God’s presence, the healing light of Christ, to them in our prayers. It is like when we broaden our social life by bringing new people into our circle of friends, we broaden the scope of Christ’s healing power by bringing those who are hurting into the circle of our relationship with Christ. When we look at intercessory pray in this way, John Wesley’s teaching on prayer as a means of grace comes alive. God’s compassion, love, mercy and grace becomes present and real in this ordinary interaction between the one who is asking for prayer and the one who is praying on his or her behalf. Both people in this prayer interaction are being sanctified or perfected in love.
Here is a prayer of intercession that I have adapted from Ian Cowie and you can adapt as needed:
Into the Love of the Creator, we lift up God’s suffering children,
In the Name of Jesus, we face all that is dark and unhealthy,
In the Power of the Holy Spirit we pray:
May the Wisdom of God
guide all medical staff who tend them.
May the Holiness of God
sanctify all earthly remedies and treatments.
May the Patience of God
uphold all family and friends who care for loved ones.
May the Love of God
fulfill God’s purposes for them and in them all,
that in endurance or in healing,
in joy or in sorrow,
in new life in this world
or in welcoming to the greater New Life,
we all may be drawn to that fullness which is in God alone. Amen.
–Nancy Pauls, Pastor of Prayer.