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Source: (consider it) Thread: Names in Intercessory Prayers
Eirenist
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Our Vicar has issued a directive that in future to preserve confidentiality and 'to make it more friendly' Christian names only are to be used in congregational intercessory prayer for individuals (usually the sick). I can see the point of this if those concerned have asked for confidentiality, but not otherwise. How can people join meaningfully in prayer if they do not know who they are praying for. The names of those who have asked for prayer are normally given in the weekly notice sheet, so it is not clear how privacy will be preserved.

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Baptist Trainfan
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It might depend on how big the church is, the level of formality within it, and how much duplication of names there is.

I am wary of praying for people by name, except in dire emergencies (they've just had a heart attack etc.), simply for fear of leaving someone out.

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Oblatus
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
I am wary of praying for people by name, except in dire emergencies (they've just had a heart attack etc.), simply for fear of leaving someone out.

I visited a rather high-church Lutheran (ALC at the time, now ELCA) establishment where the intercessions were chanted by one of the pastors, rapidly and mostly on one note: "For Lars Lundquist, who suffered multiple fractures in a motorcycle accident and has been transferred from Memorial Hospital to the River Bend Rehab Institute..." I almost burst out laughing; it struck me as very silly. And definitely Too Much Information for the occasion. The chanting just made it sillier.

General principle: Pray to God, without attempting to do something else at the same time, like preach or impart information to those attending. So I dislike homiletic ("Lord, help us never forget that we must...") and newsy ("For Mildred, suffering from piles again...") prayers.

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Bishops Finger
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We have rather a long list of names at the moment, so our practice at the Sunday Eucharist is simply to pray 'for those for whom our prayers have been asked, especially X, Y and Z', the latter being perhaps the most recent additions.

First names only are used, and no specific details are given, which seems to work OK - after all, Our Lord knows their needs already...

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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leo
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We've got five 'Robs' in our congregation.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Our Lord knows their needs already...

I read of a prayer meeting held in a Methodist Chapel in 1916, just before the Battle of Jutland. The pray-er gave God a comprehensive verbal plan of the opposing navies (cribbed from the morning newspaper), then asked Him to "Tip up their ships".

That is wrong on so many levels ...

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Brenda Clough
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We once had a rector, now a TEC bishop, who was a big fan of (American) football. One autumn Sunday he was actually heard to pray, "And we pray, Lord, that it is your will that the Redskins triumph today."(The prayer was not granted...)

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Baptist Trainfan
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Serves him right for his presumption.
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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
We once had a rector, now a TEC bishop, who was a big fan of (American) football. One autumn Sunday he was actually heard to pray, "And we pray, Lord, that it is your will that the Redskins triumph today."(The prayer was not granted...)

Perhaps that was God's way of weighing in on whether the name of the team should be changed. [Biased]

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Lamb Chopped
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I don't care much for the first-names-only thing--in the prayers of the people we got "... and our president Donald and our governor Eric" today, which just sounds wrong. I'm not on a first-name basis with them, and wasn't brought up to call strangers by their first names. To the argument that these are their baptismal names and thus most appropriate, I reply that I'm not at all sure whether either was ever baptized.

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Gee D
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Using the BCP back in the 50s, we used pray for "Elizabeth our Queen, Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Charles (Later Charles Prince of Wales of course) and all the Royal Family" with the capital letters obviously there. We can't have prayed well enough for Charles, given his subsequent behaviour. On the occasions we do the Litany these days, we still do Elizabeth our Queen, but after that, it's Malcom our Prime Minister, and Gladys our Premier.

The use of the first name only is correct - it is the first baptismal name, and assuming for the local politicians that they have been baptised.

[ 31. July 2017, 11:33: Message edited by: Gee D ]

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
our president Donald . . . which just sounds wrong.

No kidding.

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by Eirenist:
How can people join meaningfully in prayer if they do not know who they are praying for.

But aren't we always praying for people we don't know? In addition to any named people, this week at church we prayed for 'the oppressed and the hungry'; and 'world leaders'. Getting closer to home, we also prayed for diocesan clergy and other denominational congregations.

It's only when you get to a single congregation's sick-list that we know the folks, possibly, who are being named. And even then it's not necessarily the case, if the name has just been put forward and the person prayed for isn't local or known to everyone.

I personally don't mind if it's first name or both names. And while I hate phone-book lists, however long the list it'll never be exhaustive of the folks actually being held in people's prayers at that moment anyway. We've got to trust God for something in this respect.

Reading out people's names is usually for the benefit of the one submitting the name, I would say. Though it is good to be able to tell someone 'you were prayed for at church this week', if they'll find that an encouragement.

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Cathscats
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When it comes to the congregation, or parish's sick list I have insisted that only those who know and are happy that the church prays for them should be included. Otherwise the prayers of intercession form the roots of the next shoot of the local gossip vine.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Cathscats:
Otherwise the prayers of intercession form the roots of the next shoot of the local gossip vine.

Especially when we pray for "Daisy Smith, who's undergoing tests" or (worse) "Mr. and Mrs. Jones, facing particular problems at the moment".
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Basilica
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When it comes to praying for officials/representatives, I use Christian names only when praying for monarchs and diocesan bishops; for everyone else I use the name of the office.

For me, both monarchs and bishops are intensely personal roles: they are the embodiment of the whole. "L'Etat, c'est moi," as Louis XIV said. Similarly, the bishop is the embodiment of the local Church (the diocese).

So I would say "the Prime Minister", "the President", and "the Archdeacon of Nowhere", rather than "Theresa", "Donald", or "Harrison".

(And yes, I do live in a fantasy world where Han Solo is my archdeacon. I think he'd be great.)

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Brenda Clough
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quote:
Originally posted by Basilica:

So I would say "the Prime Minister", "the President", and "the Archdeacon of Nowhere", rather than "Theresa", "Donald", or "Harrison".

(And yes, I do live in a fantasy world where Han Solo is my archdeacon. I think he'd be great.)

(SFX: sharp left turn, squealing of tires) Ooh, do you have one of those churches with a really high nave? A choir loft? I'm thinking swinging from the lash of your bullwhip here, across the aisle.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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What ever you do, please don't say anyone's name without permission and consider the implications. Such things may channel something Godly, or something less holy. It may also result in people asking about things, or worse such as gossip and thus be trauma-reinforcing. Which means avoidance of social aspects post-church or not going.
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Eirenist
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Correction: Surnames of the sick are no longer given in our weekly news sheet, so no-one except the Vicar can be sure who we are supposed to be praying for. On one recent Sunday, when I was taking the service at another local church, our Vicar included in the prayer for the sick someone with the same first name as myself (she has been operating the 'first names only rule for some time on a personal basis). My wife was besieged by people commiserating and asking if I was gravely ill.
Yes, of course God will know who is meant.

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BabyWombat
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In my shack we pray for the sick by first name only, but only if the individual or close family member has asked we do so.

I pray for the TEC Presiding Bishop and our Diocesan by first name, and leave it there. My colleague will pray for those two by name, and add Francis, Bishop of Rome, X the bishop of the RCC see city for our area, and then all three Orthodox bishops of varying stripes who have jurisdiction in our area. It feels like overkill, and annoys me that it leaves out the Lutherans, even if their understanding of the role of Bishop is somewhat different.

Since the most recent US election we do not pray for the President by name, only for “those who bear the authority of government in this and every land.” No one has complained.

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Let us, with a gladsome mind…..

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Bishops Finger
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We pray for the Queen by name, as One Would Expect, and also our Bishops. The Pope, and other Church leaders, are not mentioned by name (where would one stop?), though there is sometimes a generalised petition 'for the leaders of our sister Churches'.

As I've already said, those recently added to our intercession list are mentioned by first name only, along with 'all those who have asked for our prayers'. The recently-departed are generally remembered under both first names and surnames.

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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Caissa
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Our prayer request list is usually 20-25 names long. Individuals are prayed for by first and last name.
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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
... We can't have prayed well enough for Charles, given his subsequent behaviour. ...

So are you saying any of the ways he might have fallen short in his private or public life are all your, or Warrawee parish church's fault, rather than his? And do we all get a let out clause like this as being among all kinds and conditions of men, or only those members of the Royal Family and public life who are important enough to be prayed for by name or office?

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Bishops Finger
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As others have said, names are included on our list with permission from those concerned. The gossip vine flourishes quite well enough without added fertiliser!

A neighbouring church publishes full names, and details of illnesses etc., on its weekly bulletin (available online). I do so hope that they, too, have full permission from the sufferers of the divers diseases mentioned therein.

[Projectile]

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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Brenda Clough
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Several years ago when ACNA split from TEC we quit naming the Presiding Bish in our 'prayers of the people.' A cry went up but we were informed that he'd come in under 'and all other ministers of the Gospel.' Because this is a DC suburb we do mention FirstName our President, FirstName our Vice President, FirstName our Governor, WosshisName our State Senator, and WosshisName our Mayor.

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
... We can't have prayed well enough for Charles, given his subsequent behaviour. ...

So are you saying any of the ways he might have fallen short in his private or public life are all your, or Warrawee parish church's fault, rather than his? And do we all get a let out clause like this as being among all kinds and conditions of men, or only those members of the Royal Family and public life who are important enough to be prayed for by name or office?
We most certainly don't go to Warrawee Anglican Church, a recent branch from Turramurra. In those days, it was St Andrew's Wahroonga and St James King St Turramurra.

The fault must have been ours in not praying strongly enough for him - and we used 1662 in those days. No signs yet that the prayers for Malcolm our PM have been heard.

[ 31. July 2017, 22:16: Message edited by: Gee D ]

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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keibat
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Baby Wombat wrote:

quote:
Since the most recent US election we do not pray for the President by name, only for “those who bear the authority of government in this and every land.” No one has complained.

Shame on you. If ever there was a POTUS in desperate need of our prayers, it's Donald. And yes, here in the so-called UK, I'll pray for Theresa, plus Boris & David et al, 'cos they too are in pretty serious need of some charitable wisdom.
Despite the jocular tone, I mesn this seriously.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by BabyWombat:

Since the most recent US election we do not pray for the President by name, only for “those who bear the authority of government in this and every land.” No one has complained.

We have at various times prayed for the President and Governor by Christian name ("Barack our President"), by title and surname ("President Obama") and by function ("The President of the United States"). I haven't heard the first formula used with the current incumbent - whether that's because none of the intercessors want to say "Donald our President" or not, I couldn't say.

We also pray for our priest, and those higher up the TEC hierarchy, although on one embarrassing occasion someone managed to get the Presiding Bishop's name wrong, and prayed for some guy called Robert. About half a dozen people asked the priest after the service whether Bishop Michael's first name was actually Robert.

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mousethief

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We pray for "The President of the United States and all those in civil authority."

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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My dear wife reminded me of small town radio in our young years. They had announcements much like some of this, e.g. "Ethel Petrol is back in hospital and would welcome visitors".
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Al Eluia

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I don't care much for the first-names-only thing--in the prayers of the people we got "... and our president Donald and our governor Eric" today, which just sounds wrong. I'm not on a first-name basis with them, and wasn't brought up to call strangers by their first names. To the argument that these are their baptismal names and thus most appropriate, I reply that I'm not at all sure whether either was ever baptized.

I like the fact that in TEC we pray for our Presidents and other leaders by their first names. I assume the practice goes back to prayers for the monarch in the CofE--"Elizabeth our Queen," etc. But I like to take the practice as a reminder that, before God, our Presidents are just Donald, Barack, George, and so on because in God's eyes we are all fundamentally equal.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
My dear wife reminded me of small town radio in our young years. They had announcements much like some of this, e.g. "Ethel Petrol is back in hospital and would welcome visitors".

I lived in Evanston, Illinois, in 1988. The town newspaper had a weekly column about who was seen eating with whom in the past week at the coat-and-tie restaurant downtown.

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Curiosity killed ...

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My daughter as a teenager did not want to be on the prayer list; she was put on by someone else and taken off by me when she objected. Of course, without being on the prayer list she wasn't ill to many in the church. (She was ill for about 18 months).

Personally, I hate listing everyone because I always forget someone, so when I wrote intercessions I'd pray for the sick and give a time in silence for people to pray for those in their hearts, and if they wanted to pray through the prayer list in the bulletin they could. There's always the danger that someone on the published list has recovered or died since the list was put together.

Prayers on the prayer board were prayed through during Morning Prayer once a week, and the board tidied up: prayers there for more than two or three weeks removed, for similar reasons, to remove those who'd recovered or died. Anyone who was still praying for someone would replace the prayer slip next time they were in. Of course, there is a danger that the prayer warriors who pray for all and anyone they hear of will fill the board, but you get to recognise handwriting.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
I hate listing everyone because I always forget someone, so when I wrote intercessions I'd pray for the sick and give a time in silence for people to pray for those in their hearts, and if they wanted to pray through the prayer list in the bulletin they could. There's always the danger that someone on the published list has recovered or died since the list was put together.

This.
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Al Eluia

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The names on our prayer list are printed in the Sunday bulletin. I like to take mine home and clip out the list. It helps me remember to pray for those people during the week.

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Consider helping out the Anglican Seminary in El Salvador with a book or two! https://www.amazon.es/registry/wishlist/YDAZNSAWWWBT/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_ep_ws_7IRSzbD16R9RQ
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Pigwidgeon

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quote:
Originally posted by Al Eluia:
The names on our prayer list are printed in the Sunday bulletin...

Ours too -- first names only. (Of course, some people are recognizable by their less-than-common first names.) During the Intercessory Prayers, we just pray "for those on our intercession list."

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MrsBeaky
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We worship at our Cathedral and the sick are prayed for by name during the intercessions. The names are sometimes full, sometimes just first names and it is the decision of those requesting the prayer as to which names are used. We also pray "for all those for whom prayer has been requested" during the weekly visits to the Cathedral. Sometimes we also pause so people can silently add the names of those they love. The success of all this relies heavily on good communication between members of the congregation and those leading the services. I think most of the time we get it right......
Our grandson has been on the list since he was born in January and after a really bad week it has been very helpful to us (leaving aside the purpose of intercessory prayer!) to hear his name spoken out loud and to know he is not forgotten.

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"It is better to be kind than right."

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MaryLouise
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# 18697

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For private intercessory prayer at vigils and quiet times during the week, I write out lists with names and sometimes cryptic one-word reminders to myself (the lists can be lengthy). I also make a list for those who have asked me to light candles for them or have a Mass said for them.

At the end of each week, I shred the lists and start over. In my feeble, distracted, praying experience, the more concrete and specific I make the list or the small ritual around the intercessory prayer, the more I pray. I don't doubt God would hear me just as well if I just mumbled a quick prayer with name initials and general intentions. And God is always there before me, my prayers are not 'needed' in any pragmatic way. All the same, prayer pleases the Beloved.

Speaking aloud in prayer circles at church, I keep it general and usually anonymous.

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“As regards plots I find real life no help at all. Real life seems to have no plots.”

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Og, King of Bashan

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# 9562

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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by BabyWombat:

Since the most recent US election we do not pray for the President by name, only for “those who bear the authority of government in this and every land.” No one has complained.

We have at various times prayed for the President and Governor by Christian name ("Barack our President"), by title and surname ("President Obama") and by function ("The President of the United States"). I haven't heard the first formula used with the current incumbent - whether that's because none of the intercessors want to say "Donald our President" or not, I couldn't say.

We also pray for our priest, and those higher up the TEC hierarchy, although on one embarrassing occasion someone managed to get the Presiding Bishop's name wrong, and prayed for some guy called Robert. About half a dozen people asked the priest after the service whether Bishop Michael's first name was actually Robert.

We always pray for "Donald our President, John our Governor, and Michael our Mayor." As at your place, we get mostly grim faces at the first. But didn't Jesus say something about praying for those who persecute you? It's small but solid spiritual discipline.

We also pray for bishops by name in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer. When you have a week where you pray for a bishop in Madagascar, you can always tell if the intercessor practiced ahead of time by the length of the pause when they see the many-syllable name ahead.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Pigwidgeon

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# 10192

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While preparing for one of our weekday Eucharists, I grumbled to my Rector about having to pray for a very controversial African Archbishop (based on the Anglican Cycle of Prayer). After the service, he made some comment about my having prayed for him anyway. I replied that the Archbishop in question was certainly in need of all the prayers he could get, as were his people.

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Don't keep calm. Go change the world.

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Bishops Finger
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# 5430

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True of us all, of course.

I see that we have 27 names on our intercession list, which is now considerably longer than it's been for quite a while, so I shall call on people on Sunday for an update!

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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The Scrumpmeister
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Liturgical prayer for people by Christian names only is standard practice in Orthodox circles, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with privacy.

For us, the Christian name is just that: the name by which we are known in the household of God, in the sacramental life of the Church. It is the name we are given at baptism/ordination/monastic tonsure. It is the name by which our sisters and brothers in Christ address us. It is the name by which are prayed for in that communion of faith and love. It is the name by which we are addressed personally when we receive the Holy Mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation, and the others, and, at the pinnacle of the Christian life, it is the name by which we are called when we are fed with the Body and Blood of the Saviour in the Eucharist.

By contrast, the surname is a thing of the world, denoting blood connections, secular inheritance, and legal identity. There is nothing morally wrong with these things but they don't really have a place in the distinctly Christian life. It is for this reason that Orthodox monastics shed their surnames and are known by their Christian name alone.

I once asked an Anglican friend to pray for my mother on her anniversary. By that point I had been Orthodox for so long that my friend's insistence on knowing her surname seemed strange to me. To me, that had nothing to do with who she was when mercy was being implored for her before the throne of God, while to him it seemed odd to pray for someone without their worldly surname attached to their Christian name. I also recall once having an exchange on this forum with a Catholic priest, who refused to be persuaded that the Orthodox custom of referring to a priest as "Father Christian name" as opposed to "Father surname" was not the sign of the laxity that he thought it was, or that it was clear evidence that encroaching and slovenly informality was indeed the scourge of our times.

quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
We pray for "The President of the United States and all those in civil authority."

Eastern Orthodox churches here pray for "Our Sovereign lady Elizabeth and all her royal house" This makes me happy: it enhappens me. (It's a neologism I'm running with in the hope that it might catch on. I'm working on variants, such as the noun enhappenment, and such like.)

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If Christ is not fully human, humankind is not fully saved. - St John of Saint-Denis

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venbede
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# 16669

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I am sure that the C of E Common Worship says somewhere (but I can’t find it) that the nation and church are appropriately prayed for by mentioning the sovereign and bishop by name;

The use of their first names is neither Christian humility nor democratic chumminess. Royalty and the nobility (English diocesan bishops have the rank of baron – no doubt to the embarrassment of many of them) do not use surnames. The Archbishop of Canterbury does not sign his official letter “Justin Welby” but “Justin Cantuar”.

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Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

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Basilica
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# 16965

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quote:
Originally posted by venbede:
I am sure that the C of E Common Worship says somewhere (but I can’t find it) that the nation and church are appropriately prayed for by mentioning the sovereign and bishop by name;

It's Note 15 from the notes for Holy Communion.

quote:
Prayer for the nation is properly focused in prayer for the sovereign by name, and prayer for the Church in prayer for the bishop of the diocese by name.

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venbede
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# 16669

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Thanks. And surely the same principal would be to name specific examples of the sick and needy. It is not excluding other sick - only demonstrating that they are made up of particular suffering individuals.

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Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

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venbede
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# 16669

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Reading note 15 (page 332) again I see it says "(Intercessions) are normally broadly based expressing a concern for the whole of God's world and the ministry of the whole Church".

I have heard intercessions (lay composed) in which "the Church" referred to seemed to be solely that particular congregation.

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Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

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SvitlanaV2
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# 16967

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quote:
Originally posted by The Scrumpmeister:


The surname is a thing of the world, denoting blood connections, secular inheritance, and legal identity. There is nothing morally wrong with these things but they don't really have a place in the distinctly Christian life. It is for this reason that Orthodox monastics shed their surnames and are known by their Christian name alone.

I'm not concerned either way regarding intercessory prayers. But it occurs to me that even though a 'Christian name' does emphasise the individuality of our relationship with God, a family name reminds us of the reality that religious faith, and membership of the Orthodox (or any other) Church, often relies heavily on transmission through families, and family-like communities.

Family names remind us that we're each part of a community from the day of our birth - and our community expands thereafter, to include the Christian family (according to our religious tradition), and the whole of humanity.

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Og, King of Bashan

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# 9562

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Surnames can save me a million explanations when we pray for the other Og, who's mother has died. (That happened under my RL name one Sunday. No, wrong Og, my mother's in fine shape.)

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Leorning Cniht
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# 17564

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quote:
Originally posted by The Scrumpmeister:
Liturgical prayer for people by Christian names only is standard practice in Orthodox circles, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with privacy.

I was at a wedding in a US church recently, and the couple addressed their vows to each other using surnames. I almost fell off my pew.
Posts: 4893 | From: USA | Registered: Feb 2013  |  IP: Logged
Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
# 9562

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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by The Scrumpmeister:
Liturgical prayer for people by Christian names only is standard practice in Orthodox circles, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with privacy.

I was at a wedding in a US church recently, and the couple addressed their vows to each other using surnames. I almost fell off my pew.
This may be another place where Hollywood is starting to slip in. At the end of the Bachelor or Bachelorette, the man always names his prospective bride by first, middle, and last name before asking, "will you marry me." (Not that you would ever catch me watching that show... [Hot and Hormonal] )

On the other hand, I was just remembering that the 1978 BCP rite for baptism has the godparents name the person to be baptized three times: first, when presented for baptism, all three names are used. Then, at the actual baptism, the priest uses the formal first name. Finally, at the anointing, the priest will use the familiar name. So it's far from unheard of for fist, middle, and last name to be used in the context of a sacrament.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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