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Prayer Chain

Spiritual Practices Workshop October 23, 2009

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Phil. 4:6)

Prayer Chain Basics
by
Robin Hodson

I. Getting Started
A. The Prayer Chain (PC) leader or coordinator
1. A person deeply committed to prayer.
2. A good organizer.
3. Able to enlist others to join.
4. Has good judgment in regards to confidentiality and other sensitive issues.
5. Is willing to teach prayer, assist new and ongoing members, thoroughly explain guidelines as approved by the Rector, and coordinate the dissemination of prayer requests.
6. Be faithful in service.

B. PC members
1. Be a member of the Church
2. Willing to learn about prayer through classes, reading, and application.
3. Understand and adhere to the guidelines.
4. Able and willing to pray daily.

C. Guidelines
1. Confidentiality is essential. Never share information you get via the PC with friends, family, or anyone else. This cannot be stressed too strongly. If you need to talk about a particular case, then talk to the PC leader or the Rector.
2. If you can no longer be a member of the PC, then contact the PC leader as soon as possible so s/he can rearrange the schedule and update the list.
3. Keep a prayer notebook or diary. When a prayer request has been completed, black out or destroy the parts that have personal information on them.
4. When you are contacted for prayer:
a). Write down the prayer request and note the date.
b). Do not add or delete information. For example, you may know the last name of the person requesting prayer, but do not add that information if it is not part of the original request.
c). Immediately telephone the next person in the chain. Do not leave prayer request information on an answering machine. Simple ask the fellow member to return your call. Move on to the next name on the list until you get an answer so as to keep the PC going. Do not spend time chatting. Remember, this is a faithful service, not social time.
d). Pray immediately, then again at your usual time.
5. Check with the PC leader or Rector before visiting or sending a card to a person asking for prayers unless you have a personal relationship with them.
6. If you have questions or concerns, contact the PC leader.
7. The length of time a prayer request will be active is one week unless a specific length of time is indicated.
8. A person may be counseled or removed as a PC member by the PC leader in consultation with the Rector for not following guidelines.


II. Prayer Requests
A. Reasons
1. Illness, injury, death, hospitalization, surgery, divorce, or family crises.
2. Stages of life such as births, marriage, confirmation, graduation, etc.
3. Vestry, committee, Diocesan Convention, or other meetings where important decisions must be made.
4. Special ministry efforts such as a youth group activity, church retreats, special service days, etc.
5. Needs of the Rector and other church leaders.
6. Needs of the community, viz., parish, city, state, country, world.
7. Service in the Armed Forces.
8. Other?

B. Sources
1. Prayer request cards in sanctuary and narthex.
2. Phone call to church.
3. Email
4. Rector
5. Other?

C. Information for a prayer request
1. Name (last name is welcome, but not required.God knows for whom we pray).
2. Purpose of request.
3. Length of time prayer is requested.

D. Dissemination
1. The basic manner by which prayer requests would be given to members is by phone or email. How that is accomplished is an organizational point that needs to take several variables into account including church size, number of members on the PC, computer literacy, etc. Two examples are:
a). Straight line - person to person.
b). Tiered - PC leader to captains, then captains to their assigned members (five or less).

E. Privacy issues
1. The PC leader may amend a prayer request to guard a person's privacy.
2. Talking to others about a prayer request is considered gossip and is strictly forbidden. As stated previously, if a member needs to talk about a particular situation, talk to the PC leader or the Rector.


III. Prayer
A. Prayer is simply a conversation. It can take several forms.
1. Thanksgiving
2. Adoration or Praise
3. Confession
4. Listening
5. Intercession
6. Requests
7. Silence

B. Prayer techniques
1. Pray requests, not outcomes.
2. Pray that God's will be done, trusting that the best for us is always in God's will.
3. Pray anywhere - walking, driving, sitting, cooking, etc.
4. You don't have to "feel" a certain way to pray. You don't have to feel holy or even calm. God hears all prayers - whispered, shouted, done by rote, silent ones, even distracted ones.
5. Remember, it is not about you - how holy, troubled or uncertain you are is irrelevant. Just say the prayers and trust in God.
6. Feel free to make up your own prayers.
7. Feel free to use images, such as looking at an icon of the Holy Mother, while praying.
8. Feel free to use imagery such as surrounding the person you are praying for in light or imagining angels watching over them.
9. Choose a time (and place if possible) to pray regularly and pray daily.
10. If you are able to set aside a special place to pray, make it a sacred space.
11. Use intentional prayers if appropriate. For example, if a person is having surgery, pray that the Holy Spirit guide the surgeon's hands to skillfully complete the operation and add blessings upon the nurses and others helping the patient.
12. Search for or create prayers that you like. One of the prayers that I like to use is an old Celtic one:
Deep peace of the running wave to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the shining stars to you,
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you, forever.

C. Resources
1. Bible verses.
2. Book of Common Prayer, pg. 814 and pg. 836.
3. Internet.
4. Psalms.
5. Rector, other clergy, parish leaders.
6. Books on prayer
7. Be creative and make up your own.
8. Other?