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Feed: Pastoral Meanderings Posted on: Sunday, February 12, 2012 5:00 AM Author:firstname.lastname@example.org (Pastor Peters) Subject: The Parish Prayer List. . .
Every Sunday I read off the first names of those on our prayer list. We have people sick and in treatment (translation: hospitalized, awaiting surgery, receiving chemo, etc.). We have people recovering (translation: on the mend mostly at home). We have those in sympathy (translation: those who have lost family or friends to death). We have the long term folks (translation: aged and infirm with chronic ills that will not go away except by death). We have those in nursing homes (no need for translation). And sometimes we have people for "other needs" (things that cannot or should not be named).
Some names have been on those lists forever. Most are on for months. A few go on and off in a week or two. We mark the members with bold type face and the rest are friends and family of members. Some names come on Sunday morning. Others are phoned in during the week. Occasionally we have only the first name. The list is not perfectly up to date. We have prayed for the recovery of those who died two weeks ago and once we prayed for those grieving someone who had not yet died. Oh, well, like God does not know the score.
There are prayer cards in the Narthex to fill out when you wish to add a name. We get a few of those. We also get a ton of hand written notes and not always with the name of the person referring the individual for inclusion on our prayer list. Every now and then we lose track of who this person is and drop the name from the list. Often it takes just a week or so before we are taken to task and the name is restored to the diptych.
It is just that I wonder if there are not better ways of handling this. I would welcome hints and helps from those who have a better system of handling the names on a parish prayer list. Let me know if you have a better or different way of handling this aspect of parish ministry or if you share my lament that this is an area with some difficulties. I would appreciate your guidance but will accept your commiseration.