Pray Without Ceasing
By Fr Bruce Swinehart and Cheryl Andrews
Yesterday marked the second anniversary of my ministry at St Mary Magdalene, for which I am grateful to God and to this beloved community. I began my first day on the job with the Tuesday morning Centering Prayer gathering. I felt there was a deep silence and stillness at the heart of our community that I was being drawn into. It continues to nourish and sustain me.
Our prayer life at SMM makes room for the Spirit to move through us, bind us together, inspire us and heal us. And it continues to grow.
You’ll see in the newsletter that Carolyn Baker has offered to help organize a second Centering Prayer group on Wednesday evenings. If you’re interested, you’ll see her contact information in the announcement.
We also practice several forms of intercessory prayer. If you would like to request prayers for yourself or someone else, you can:
• Send a request to the SMM Prayer Chain via Lynn Mulcare. These requests go to a specific group of people in our congregation who are called to this vocation and who will keep your request in the strictest confidence. Feel free to contact Lynn if you feel called to be part of this important ministry.
• Come to the prie dieu (prayer bench) to the right front corner of the church during Communion. There will be 2 prayer ministers waiting for you. If no one is being prayed for at the prie dieu, walk right up. If someone is being prayed for, sit in one of the chairs along the wall until the ministers are available. The ministers will ask you what you’d like to pray for, and will offer to anoint you, and then pray with you.
• Request a pastoral care visit at the hospital or home to have clergy or a pastoral care visitor pray with you. This visit will be confidential. Contact Fr Bruce at email@example.com or (303) 562-4524 or Cheryl Andrews.
• As a new practice at SMM, you can now request that your prayers be included in our weekly newsletter so that the entire congregation can lift them up; these prayers will also be read aloud on Sunday mornings during the Prayers of the People. If you would like to make such a request, please contact Cheryl Andrews.
• You can join the Healing Prayer ministry by contacting Cheryl Andrews or Linda White. They meet once a month as a group,
and then pray for others at church on Sunday mornings.
Your intercessions may be for anything at all – a health situation, the death of a loved one, travel, a job, a wedding… If you are asking for prayers on behalf of someone other than yourself, please ask their permission to share, and ask exactly what they would like shared to honor their privacy.
There are also many good resources to support our individual prayer lives. One is the “Forward Day-by-Day” publication that we always have available at church. It includes daily devotions that are tied to the Lectionary cycle of scripture readings. I also use an audio devotion/reflection put out by a group of British Jesuits called “Pray as You Go.” They take about 12-15 minutes to listen to – great for commuting! (https://www.pray-as-you-go.org/home/)
As St Mary Magdalene moves through some important periods of discernment in the coming months, our individual and corporate prayer life will become even more important. In the meantime, I offer up this prayer for all of us from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians:
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.