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3 Ways to Encourage Intercessory Prayer in Your Parish

person praying with open bible

In his book Bored Again Catholic, Timothy P. O’Malley writes that when we participate in the Prayers of the Faithful at Mass, we are entering into Christ’s prayer for the whole world. “…through the intercessions that we offer, we really bring the material world before God the Father, asking it to be transformed in the Mass that we celebrate. In these intercessions, we want the Church, the world, the entirety of our lives to become what it should be in the kingdom of God.”

In a similar way, when we pray for others – friends, family, or even strangers – we are asking God to hear our prayer and bring about a transformation. We may pray for specific needs like healing from sickness or disease or for certain material needs. We may also pray generally for God’s blessing on a person or a group of people, such as the homeless or the dying. Praying for others brings us closer to God by our focus on the needs of other people over ourselves. 

These intercessory prayers are very powerful, and we’re sure your parish families have many stories of answered prayers. Most parishes have a prayer “hotline” that distributes prayer requests to those who have committed to pray, and some list the general needs in the bulletin. You can also push out prayer requests using a tool such as MinistryPlatform

To encourage your parishioners to enter into intercessory prayer, here are three ideas you can share. Link to this story or publish these tips to your parish website.

  1. Don’t wait for someone to ask you to pray for them – ask them what they need prayers for. Often, people can be shy when they are asked, but usually, they are simply flattered that you want to pray for them. Put them at ease so that they don’t have to share anything too personal. 
  2. It’s sometimes hard to remember to pray for someone – so one suggestion is to stop and pray for them right then and there. The easiest way to do this is to be mindful of the request and offer it to Our Lady with a Hail Mary (which takes 20 seconds). Give these quick requests to Mother Mary and know they are in good hands. 
  3. One practice that is popular for general intercessory prayers is to offer a Hail Mary or a Glory Be when you see an EMS vehicle, a Medevac, or even when you pass by a hospital. Similarly, you can pray for the dying when you drive past a Hospice facility or for the dead when passing a cemetery. 

At ACST Catholic we have always prayed generally for our ministry partners, but now we would like to invite you to submit any specific prayer requests using a new form on our website. This can be for your personal needs or for the needs of the parish, and we will include your intentions in daily prayer. We also invite you to use the form to submit any answered prayers!

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “Intercession is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did. He is the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all men, especially sinners. He is ‘able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him since he always lives to make intercession for them.’ The Holy Spirit himself intercedes for us…and intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.’” (2634)

About Polly King

Polly King has over 30 years in the marketing and communications field, the last 12 in Catholic publishing. As a convert to the Catholic faith, she has a deep passion for helping parishes engage and evangelize their communities. This led her to join ACS Technologies as part of their mission to serve the Church with technology and solutions that support their ministries. Polly currently resides in Indiana with her husband Bob and their 14-year-old Australian Shepherd, Riley. Her commitment to her faith and dedication to her profession make her an inspiring figure for those looking to make a positive impact in their communities.

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