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Intercessions for 14th Sunday after Trinity 2012 (Year B): Generosity

Proverbs 22.1-2, 8-9, 22-23, Psalm 125, James 2.1-10, [11-13], 14-17, Mark 7.24-37 (Proper 18)

Some days you scan the lectionary, feeling like Mystic Meg with her crystal ball as you search for a common thread. This is not one of those days – the theme jumped off the page and hit me over the head with a mallet (I do like mixed metaphors, don’t you?)

Proverbs 22.22-23: ‘Do not rob the poor, because he is poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate, for the Lord will plead their cause and despoil those who despoil them’

James 2.2-3: ‘Show no partiality…for if a man with gold rings and in fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing’…2.14 ‘What does it profit…if a man says he has faith but has not works?’ 2.17 ‘So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead’.

Mark 7.32-35: ‘They brought to him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech…and, looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him Eph-phatha, that is ‘Be opened’.

To put it baldly, the message I take from these readings is that we should open up our minds, our lips, our hearts and finally our wallets to share God’s love and what we have, with all the generosity that we can muster.

So the recurring phrase, which I tack on to the front of ‘Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer’ might be ‘Freely have we received, freely may we give’.

At this point, I often check in one of the many books on the lectionary, primarily aimed at preachers, to see whether I seem to be on the right track. The one I tend to consult first is ‘The Ministry of the Word: A Handbook for Preachers on the Common Worship Lectionary‘ (published in 2000 – Amazon currently has second-hand ones at prices from £0.01 upwards!)

Today I did not find exactly what I was looking for from Chapman’s ‘Leading Intercessions’ or Adam’s ‘Traces of Glory’, though I chose one prayer from each. I am using instead ‘The Lion Prayer Collection’ compiled by Mary Batchelor.

Using the recommended sequence of prayers for the Church, the Nation, the local Community, the Sick and the Suffering, and the Bereaved and the Dead, I arrive at the following:


Lord, open our lives to your goodness.
Open our eyes to your presence.
Open our ears to your call.
Open our hearts to your love
Open our lips to your praises
And open us to your glory. (David Adam)

Freely have we received, freely may we give. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 The Church

Grant to your whole Church grace to show true faith through works of love and mercy. Help us to strengthen the bonds of the Anglican Communion, with those that have sharing with those who have less, while bearing in mind that those who have more money are not necessarily those with greater grace. Take away all prejudice that causes unequal treatment, especially among the autistic and others that feel marginalised by the Church. (Chapman, slightly tweaked)

Freely have we received, freely may we give. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

The Nation

God of the nations, all authority is yours. You touch the hearts of rich and poor alike. As the Paralympic Games end today, we ask you to keep in the minds of those in authority the courage and dignity of those who took part, and the stirring of the hearts of the spectators around the world. May the lessons learned live on as compassion is increased, and the good of all becomes our common aim.

Freely have we received, freely may we give. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

The Community

Lord, teach us to be generous as you have been generous with us. Show us the truth of the saying: ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’ . Help us to understand that others, perhaps unknown to us, depend on us for help. Remind us that our world, our parish, need “Good Samaritans” to heal the wounds of our community. In these times of economic hardship, we pray for the food banks that have sprung up – may they be perpetually replenished like the loaves and fishes. Lord, make us a gift to others in your name.

Freely have we received, freely may we give. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

The Sick and the Suffering

Lord, who invited all who carry heavy burdens to come to you, refresh us with your presence and your power. Quiet our understandings and give ease to our hearts by bringing us close to things infinite and eternal. Open to us the mind of God so that through his light we may see light. And crown your choice of us to be your servants by making us springs of strength and joy to all whom we serve. (Evelyn Underhill, tweaked)

Freely have we received, freely may we give. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

The Departed and the Dying

Lord, let us learn to be open to the night.

Let us pray with open hands, not with clenched fists. (Lord Dunsany)

Father of all mercies and giver of all comfort: Deal graciously, we pray, with those who mourn, that casting their care on you, they may know the consolation of your love.

We remember before you the whole company of saints, and pray for our loved ones departed. (David Adam)

Freely have we received, freely may we give. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

11 comments on this post:

UKViewer said...

Thanks Laura.

05 September 2012 16:56
Alan said...

What a lovely prayer. I particularly thought the emphasis on “freely” was so apt. Sometimes I think it worse to give grudgingly than not to give at all.

Lay Anglicana said...

Thank-you very much, Alan. I really appreciate your commenting at all, and this is particuarly gratifying 🙂

05 September 2012 19:25
05 September 2012 17:43
Claire said...

Thank you so much for what you have written recently. I find your website really helpful when I am composing my own intercessory prayers. You help crystallise my thoughts and your prayers are lovely. Very thoughtful. I agree with Alan’s comment above too.

Lay Anglicana said...

Thank-you Claire – it really is reassuring, particularly as I have just started doing it, to know that you find these helpful. There are so many books on intercessions, aren’t there, but there is nothing like a draft text to work with!

08 September 2012 17:03
08 September 2012 16:28
Judi Smith said...

Thank you Laura, sometimes just reading the Bible is not enough for this tired old brain and your prayers just crystallised for me what I needed to be saying. God Bless

Lay Anglicana said...

Welcome to Lay Anglicana, Judi, and thank-you very sincerely.

09 September 2012 07:56
09 September 2012 06:59
Simon Douglas said...

Hi Laura, thanks for your prayers, I based my intercessions on them this morning. We were using the Isaiah reading, but they still worked really well. I was tempted to use your refrain on its own, rather than the standard one. Pax. Simon

Lay Anglicana said...

Thank-you very much indeed, Simon. It is encouraging to know that you found them helpful.

Simon Douglas said...

The irony ias that I seem to be leading intercessions in corporate worship less now that I’m a priest than I did as a lay person! S

09 September 2012 16:30
09 September 2012 16:06
09 September 2012 16:02
V x said...

I thank God for you and your work. So very helpful.

01 September 2015 11:36

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