“Lent is a call to renew a commitment grown dull, perhaps, by a lifetime of routine rather than reflection.”
- Joan Chittister, The Liturgical Year
Each month at the Westside and Eastside, and every week at the Northside we make space in our Sunday worship services to engage in The Prayers of the People - a tradition that corporately gathers the prayers of the church into one voice. We do this for 3 reasons:
1. Models Lament - So often our response to the negative events going on in the world is to ignore them because we simply do not know how to process or carry them. We see the news and turn the channel. The Prayers of the People enable us to appropriately pain-share by giving us both the permission to lament over the suffering in the world and by demonstrating how to pray. Through the prayers we acknowledge that the world is not as it should be and pray for the LORD to intervene.
2. Locates Our Place - The Prayers of the People not only provide a place for the church to intercede and lament over suffering, but they also provide a place for the church to bless the world around us. Our incarnational theology reminds us that we live in a specific location: a neighborhood within a city within a state within a nation within the world. The Prayers of the People echo the call to be incarnational within our context via prayer. The Prayers also remind us that Immanuel, God with us, is present in our particular location and circumstances.
3. Promotes Community - We live insular lives, but The Prayers of the People call us to remember our connectedness and our interdependence on each other. They reminded us that we are not only a part of a larger story that God is writing, but that we are also a part of a larger global community. The events around the world should affect us because we belong to the worldwide body of Christ. We have a responsibility to serve one another even if we are only able to do so by prayer and intercession.
We believe that prayer changes things and that it changes us. As Richard Foster says in Celebration of Discipline, "Real prayer is life creating and life changing.” It is our hope that this monthly corporate practice will inspire us and equip and shape the way we pray as individuals. If you are new to prayer we encourage you to check out some of the resources below to help start you on the journey.