COPING WITH TROUBLE
WHY SHOULD WE INTERCEDE? .....because it is one of the deepest instincts we have. The simple fact is - we ask for things. The danger is that God is treated as a celestial ATM, producing the required riches at the press of a few prayer-buttons.
John Pritchard, "The Intercessions Handbook"
INTERCESSION - “God’s love is so great that he regards us as partners in his good work, and so he moves us to pray for what it pleases him to do….”
Julian of Norwich. The following is an extract from “Love is the Meaning – Growing in Faith with Julian of Norwich” by Ann Lewin. It is from the Chapter on “Coping with Troubled Times”, which talks of the purpose and efficacy of intercessory prayer in the light of the “Revelations of Divine Love” by Julian of Norwich
“When we pray in this way,
we remember that when God looked at the world he had made,
he saw that it was very good.
We share God’s anguish when he looks at the world now; he weeps to see what has become of it, and in effect we say to God, we love your world too,
and long for it to be what you intended it to be from the beginning.
Intercession is not a matter
of handing everything over to God
for God to sort out,
it is a way of praying that states our intention
of putting our energy alongside God’s energy
in transforming the world into God’s Kingdom of justice, peace and wholeness.
We can’t pray as though the world is something apart from us. We are part of the problem, as well as being potentially part of the solution. Everything that we do or say or think is either an expression of our commitment to God’s will,
or our lack of it.
Intercession requires penitence,
the recognition that we have a share in what is wrong in the world.
We are not the “goodies” who have got everything right, praying for the “baddies” who haven’t.
Rather, we are the people who recognize that the fault line runs through each one of us.
Intercession is not just what we say,
it is what we do as a result of our prayer.
It can be quite a dangerous way of praying
because we may hear God say to us:
‘And what are YOU going to do about the situation?’
We all have our part to play in showing our commitment to a better world. Writing letters to MPs, and asking questions of those who have the power to change policies is part of intercession. So at a different level is sending messages of support to those who suffer - the “Get Well” cards for the sick and the postcards to political prisoners are all part of our living the Gospel.
INTERCESSION IN THE PRESENT PANDEMIC
For those who are sick.
For those with chronic illnesses
and underlying health concerns.
For all those who are suffering.
For those who are lonely. For those who have no one to check on them. For families that are separated.
For those who are unemployed. For those suffering financial hardships. For those who face an uncertain future.
For those who are suffering from physical or emotional abuse. For those who are disproportionally suffering
because of societal structures and unjust policies.
For those who are struggling with physical or mental disabilities. For those who are overwhelmed by anxiety and stress.
For those who are dying. For those who have died while saving the lives of others. For all who have lost their lives.
For those who have survived. For those who have lost their spouses. For children who have been orphaned. For all those who mourn and those who comfort them.
For firefighters, police, and emergency medical workers. For doctors, nurses, and all health care professionals. For those who serve in the armed forces.
For public officials. For business leaders. For educators. For innovators and inventors who provide new solutions.
For peace in our community and in our world. For renewed friendships among neighbours. For solidarity and unity among all peoples. For a greater appreciation and love of all humanity.
For patience and perseverance. For calm in the midst of fear. For the grace to overcome adversity.
For generosity of spirit. For hope in times of despair. For light in the darkness.
Gracious and Loving God, You are our comforter and our hope. Hear our prayers as we come before you. Strengthen us in this time of need. Inspire us to acts of solidarity and generosity and give us hope of a brighter future.
Joseph P. Shadle
TWO VISIONS OF THE FUTURE:
Ian Reid, Iona Community
The vision of the future:
warning and promise.
The vision of fear – a warning.
Destruction of towns and cities
failure of crops
diseases in animals
illness of men and women
lawlessness and violence
collapse of economic order.
The content of the picture of fear
is the result of the failure of men and women
to respond to the love of God,
and to be open to receive His Spirit.
Does this picture correspond
with our fears about the future?
The vision of hope – a promise.
The promised land
a land full of milk and honey.
In faith it is possible to believe
that the picture of hope
is the picture of the end.
Men and women can change.
The cross was not the end –
the resurrection followed.
Does the picture correspond
with our hope for the future?
Both visions are needed:
The challenge of the warning
The support of the promise.