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by the Rev. David M. Crosby, March 10, 2016

One important ministry we all share as the Body of Christ is to pray for one another and others. It is part of our Baptismal Covenant promises. As we commit to “continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers,” saying, “I will, with God’s help,” we are called to actively and intentionally pray for our own. I hope we each have our own personal prayer list, but we as a parish also have a corporate prayer list. The parish office and clergy learn, either directly or indirectly, through relationships and casual conversations, pastoral calls or visits, or from being alerted by others, of matters or issues that affect people of our parish in mind, body, or spirit. Here prayers may be in order. On Sundays, as part of the Prayers of the People, we name individuals of the parish by first name from a printed list in the bulletin.

In addition to those intercessions, we also collectively lift up friends, acquaintances, and members of our extended families who have any concerns as well that may be troublesome and burdening. You havemprobably heard these words, “... and we pray also for members of our extended parish family.” While the names of ‘extended parish family’ members are printed in the weekly Sunday Parish Notes, we do not speak them aloud.

You may notice that the largest group of names we have in our weekly prayers under the Pastoral Care Corner are for the extended parish family. For roughly the last five and half years, the parish office has received prayer requests for individuals who are not members of our parish church and tried to keep track of them. Our collective hope is that prayers would meet the need and eventually rotate off. However, we have only added to the list with little review or editing. A spreadsheet has tried to keep track of specific requests, when they were received, the reason(s) for prayer, and who made the request. Yet that list has grown long and is somewhat unwieldy now.

An effort is underway to reconcile names in the printed prayers against this spreadsheet. Where names are printed but not accounted for in the spreadsheet, those names are being removed. Where names and their related information do not coincide with a printed name in the bulletin, those entries are being stricken. This is an effort to wean down the prayer list and the spreadsheet.

We are called to prayer. Please understand this administrative effort is not meant to deter or restrict prayer, but rather is to ensure we understand for whom we pray, how, why, and yes, for how long. Should you realize a name you added is no longer present, it can be re-added. If you see a name that no longer needs collective prayer, please help us in this work. Your attention will help us all in our ministry to pray for one another and others.

Blessings & Peace,