Tuesday, September 15, 2020 –
Yesterday we talked about prayers of petition and that they are asking God for forgiveness and help. Today we will focus on a form of prayer that is a petition but is also separated out into its own category: INTERCESSION.
Why is it separated out? Probably because this form of prayer focuses entirely on another person. With prayers of petition you are asking God’s forgiveness for your own sins and seeking His help for your own true needs. However, with prayers of intercession, you are seeking help for another person. You are asking on behalf of another person and/or the whole community.
Just like yesterday, let’s start with the Catechism’s In Brief section because it does such a great job of succinctly telling us the answer:
2647 Prayer of intercession consists in asking on behalf of another. It knows no boundaries and extends to one’s enemies.
Ooo…did you catch that last part? Prayers of intercession “extends to one’s enemies.” Yikes! But, yes, we are **supposed** to prayer for other people, including our enemies.
No, this does not mean, “Dear Lord, please smite my crazy neighbor because he puts up angry and persecutory lawn signs.” Rather, you should be praying, “Holy Spirit, please lift up my neighbor and help him by opening his heart and mind to hear the Will of God the Father so that he may know true peace.”
Yeah, that second one may be a bit hard to swallow, especially when you are mad. However, asking for God’s grace to pour down on others—ESPECIALLY OUR ENEMIES—helps us too because it draws us closer to God and His Will because we recognize the need for His mercy. We are called to care for our neighbor. What better way than to pray for their needs; to ask for God’s mercy for them!?
Just like the yesterday, here are some examples of prayers of intercession:
- Prayer of the People at the Novus Ordo Mass
- The Te Igitur (prayers for the Church) and the Memento, Domini (Commemoration of the Living) in the Traditional Latin Mass
- Jesus, I ask that you help [person’s name] because…
- God the Father, I pray for our Church, especially for…
And, naturally, we will conclude with our Catechism quote. With only three paragraphs, today is a super short one:
III. PRAYER OF INTERCESSION
2634 Intercession is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did. He is the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all men, especially sinners. He is “able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” The Holy Spirit “himself intercedes for us . . . and intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
2635 Since Abraham, intercession – asking on behalf of another has been characteristic of a heart attuned to God’s mercy. In the age of the Church, Christian intercession participates in Christ’s, as an expression of the communion of saints. In intercession, he who prays looks “not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” even to the point of praying for those who do him harm.
2636 The first Christian communities lived this form of fellowship intensely. Thus the Apostle Paul gives them a share in his ministry of preaching the Gospel but also intercedes for them. The intercession of Christians recognizes no boundaries: “for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions,” for persecutors, for the salvation of those who reject the Gospel.
Whew! We are flying through these forms of prayer. Also, we are flying through the month of September, which is apparently half over. WHAT? When did that happen?
Mother most chaste, pray for us!