Friday after Ash Wednesday

by Sibyl Piccone

Cross for Lent 2012
Ezekiel 18:1-4
Psalm 35
Philippians 4:1-9
John 17: 9-19

The reading today from John is a beautiful example of intercessory prayer, and we should use its example in our own prayer.

In intercessory prayer, we stand before God, and pray for others. Our reading today shows us Jesus praying an intercessory prayer to his Father to protect those closest to him; his followers, his believers, his disciples. He asks for them to be kept safe after he is no longer there to protect them as they continue to go out into the world to teach The Word.

“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.”

This is a very comforting passage. It is so loving and protective. Jesus prayed so intentionally to God, to protect and care for those closest to him, just as I do for those whom I love and hold dearest in my life. I feel compelled to pray every day for the peace and well being of the whole world and I feel some concern that to pray specially for those in my life is a little self serving. When I read this I’m reminded that Jesus did it too.

Beyond our own daily prayers, Ascension has a prayer group that asks us to pray for the special needs of others, we have healing prayer at the side altar that is intentionally for others and for ourselves, and we pray the Prayers of the People.

As Jesus prayed, so should we.

Support us, O Lord, with your gracious favor through the fast we have begun; that as we observe it by bodily self- denial, so we may fulfill it with inner sincerity of heart; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.