Assembly Parish Binder - Intercessory Prayer Ministry | Diocese of Lansing

Assembly Parish Binder - Intercessory Prayer Ministry

 
“In the New Covenant, prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond measure, with his Son Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit.” (CCC 2565) The goal that all pastoral leaders must have is that parishioners have this intentional living relationship with each person of the Trinity in prayer. In order for this to come about, each parish must intentionally be deeply rooted in prayer, both in the Mass and outside of the Mass, seeing it as the very life-blood of the work of the parish. Individual members of the pastoral staff must have and develop their own relationship with Jesus in prayer. This is indispensable. However, best practice is to assemble an Intercessory Prayer Team of people who have a special charism of praying for others. This has been shown to bear much fruit in parish life. The prayer of intercession for the people, needs and work of the parish is a must, lest we fall into the trap of trying to do the work of God under our own power. Intercessory prayer “is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did.” (CCC 2634). An Intercessory Prayer Team in each parish is dedicated to praying as Jesus did and aids all the people and work of the parish. It is a crucial element to the work of the New Evangelization. 
 
The main duty of the Intercessory Prayer Team is to intercede for the pastor’s intentions and the events and initiatives going on in the parish. For example, when an encounter opportunity is taking place the Intercessory Prayer Team covers the whole event and all involved in prayer.
 

Action items

Following is a process that a parish can engage in to form a parish-based intercessory team.
 
Date to be Completed:
☐    Assess current situation 

☐    Choose one intercessory team leader/coordinator from your team or parish 

☐    Prayerfully discern who to invite to the intercessory team

☐    Invite persons to be part of the team

☐    During first gathering of the Intercessory Prayer Team, establish guidelines and expectations 

☐    Provide formation for the Intercessory Prayer Team
 

How do we do this?

Assess the current situation
Is there already a prayer team in existence, a prayer line, prayer chain, etc.? Men’s or women’s prayer groups? If yes, how might they be part of the Intercessory Prayer Team? How might you add to or modify what is already in existence? Is there the need to keep what is in existence as is and form a team specifically dedicated to prayer for the work of the parish? What is the purpose, function and commitment of the existing groups?
 
Identify parishioners who you know are serious about their prayer lives. For example, the people you often see praying well before Mass begins, those who are frequently at exposition of the Blessed Sacrament of First Fridays or perpetual adoration. Have you discerned any people in the parish that have a charism for prayer? The pastor will probably have a keen sense of who is serious about prayer in the parish.
 
 
Choose one Intercessory Prayer Team leader/coordinator
Best practices show that there must be an intercessory team leader who helps bring everything together. This should be someone who is prayerful, well-organized, and has a gift to encourage others who may be growing lax in their commitments.

(Pastor makes a personal invite)


|Name a few people who might fit this description:
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
 
Prayerfully discern who else to invite to the Intercessory Prayer Team
This prayerful discernment should be done in the context of in-depth prayer, perhaps after a time of Eucharistic adoration, biblical reflection, etc. This may take more than one gathering and you should incorporate time for consideration following this prayer time. 

Discern who in the parish may have a charism for intercessory prayer.

Decide approximately how many you initially want on the intercessory team.  Keep in mind that the idea is that it will continually grow.

Based on your assessment of the current situation, prayerfully discern who you will invite to be part of the core Intercessory Prayer Team.
 
Invite persons to be part of the team
Plan a prayer-filled information session for those who will be invited.  

When: _______________________________ Where: _______________________________

Decide who will approach potential team members and how people will be approached and invited to be part of the intercessory team. (Personal invitations are highly recommended, as they are the most effective way of encouraging participation. Ask prospective team members to attend the information session.)

Name this person:   ______________________________________________________________
 
When approaching the individual, be prepared to explain at least the generalities of what they are being asked to be part of. Explain that more information will be given at the information session, and that the details will be worked out on the team.  

Allow people time to prayerfully decide. 

Follow up in a timely way and get a commitment.
 
First gathering of the intercessory team (after the information session): establish guidelines and expectations 

This first gathering should occur in the context of in-depth prayer, perhaps after a time of Eucharistic adoration, biblical reflection, etc. (consult the “resource” section for guidelines etc. for intercessory teams.)

Who from your pastoral team is going to lead this first gathering?

Name this person: ______________________________________________________________

After people have committed to be part of the team, the leader should bring everyone together to discuss guidelines, expectations and commitments. 
 
You may want to name the Intercessory Prayer Team to give it an identity. 

Discuss confidentiality and accountability.

Decide on when and where to gather as a team.

Decide on individual commitments of Intercessory Prayer Team members. 

Decide how prayer intentions will be communicated to the Intercessory Prayer Team by the pastoral staff. 

Who on the pastoral team will be responsible for delivering them to the Intercessory Prayer Team?

Name this person: ______________________________________________________________

How will they be delivered?
 ☐    Email ☐  Phone ☐   Printout ☐    Other

How often will they be delivered? 
  ☐    Weekly ☐    Monthly ☐    Quarterly ☐    Other

Provide prayer resources for the intercessory team: books, rosaries, novenas, prayer cards, etc. 

Provide formation for the Intercessory Prayer Team

Provide a time for the Intercessory Prayer Team to come together for some initial and on-going formation. (It is important that the pastor gather with this team on a periodic basis.)
 
Provide some resources or ideas for the parish to implement
 

Resources

Amazing Parish Reliance on Prayer ideas - http://www.amazingparish.org/reliance-prayer
 
Ten Commandments of Intercession: Presentation Ministries - http://www.presentationministries.com/brochures/Intercession.asp
 

Guides to Lectio Divina and other prayer resources, such as Magnificat - http://www.magnificat.com/
 

Ideas

Outside of the effort to establish and maintain an intercessory team, consider how you might get the whole parish involved in this intentional prayer effort.
 
Pray a specific prayer together before or after every Mass and parish gathering.  

Give parishioners specific intentions for which to pray as you move through each year. For example, for specific events coming up, for the people in R.C.I.A., etc. Consult the parish calendar. Consider how you as a pastoral staff might pray in a deeper way, both as individuals and together, and make commitments. For example, one daily Mass per week together, adoration times together, a retreat together, daily or weekly prayer time together. 
 
Adoration, Lectio Divina, retreats, days of prayer and reflection, parish missions, first Fridays, days of prayer and fasting.