At Launceston Pilgrim passers by can leave prayer requests at the church’s street front. Geoff Thompson visited Pilgrim in February and was particularly struck by the how these prayers formed part of the prayers in worship.
I was struck in two ways by the prayers at Pilgrim. First, there was the sheer intensity of some of the prayers: ‘Please protect me from my partner’ and ‘Help me to find a job; I really need it’. Some of these prayers sounded like cries of desperation. As they were read out it felt as if we were taken to some of the very raw places of life. These cries of the passers-by helped me to expose some of my own rawness to God in this time of prayer. To be honest, that has seldom happened for me in Prayers of the People over many years of participating in them.
Secondly, in an odd way I felt that these prayers from the world actually taught me to pray differently. It was not so much that I was praying for the world (even though we were definitely doing that), but I also found myself being called into praying with the world. This may not be quite what Paul meant in Romans 8 about the Spirit interceding for us. But I certainly had a sense that God was uniting us who were present in the church with those who had passed by its front door during the week. It is not just our deepest concerns that prompt our prayers, but that in prayer God prompts us to see new concerns.
See Geoff’s Twitter thread about the prayers here
What experiences have you had in worship or in daily life that have changed the way you approach prayer? Let us know your story in the comments below.