Several years ago, I had the joy of visiting a pastor friend in his new congregation for Sunday worship. I arrived early and found my dear friend and a few members of the congregation moving silently through the sanctuary, pausing to place their hands on each seat. He waved me in to join them with a softly spoken instruction, “We’re just praying for the folk who will be worshipping here this morning, praying that something offered here will be a blessing for each of them.”
Each time I remember that visit, I wonder about ways to pray for the folk who will be worshipping with me on Sunday morning. I invite you to imagine ways your prayers might stir through your sanctuary this Sunday.
Maybe you’ll arrive early and see members of your congregation preparing: a teacher preparing something to share with the congregation’s children; musicians and singers finishing one last practice; a liturgist giving the morning lessons one more look; someone placing flowers on the altar; you might see your pastor making preparations in the pulpit. For each one you see, bless! For each one you see, pray! Pray that each servant may feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, bringing peace and joy, bringing light and power, bringing a love so vast that we can know only the spray of its waves. Pray that each servant’s offering may be a vessel of the Spirit’s gifts as the congregation worships.
Pray for those you see taking their places for worship. Open your hands in blessing. Pray neurontin to buy that they may sense the presence of God…who was surely the first One to show up for Sunday worship.
If you’re a greeter, take a moment to pray for those you welcome into the sanctuary. Pray that each one may feel in your welcome the welcome of the One we’ve gathered to worship.
If it’s your congregation’s custom to share greetings of peace, add a quiet prayer to your greetings. Ask that each one you greet will be gifted to see and know the peace of Christ.
If you feel yourself wandering during the sermon (I certainly wander some Sundays – even when I’m the one preaching!), you might just bless the preacher and hold him or her in your prayers. You might pray for the ones around you in the sanctuary – and for yourself – that a word from the morning message might take fruitful root within you.
As the offering plates are passed, you might pray for those touched by the ministries your gifts support. You might pray for the givers (including you!), that gifts might be offered with joy and generosity. You might pray for those in need, for those whose tithes are a stretch and even a struggle. You might praise God for flowing blessings even before the first chords of whatever your congregation sings as gifts are brought to the altar.
I’ll watch for your responses in the coming days! What prayers did you raise for those with whom you worshipped? What blessings flowed through you?
Jonna Jensen, Associate Conference Minister