Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, August 30, 2015
Pray. (Insert Free Intercessions and Thanksgivings Here)
Another August evening, another opportunity to turn to http://www.dailyoffice.org and my laptop. As I prayed through the Evening Prayer tonight, I was struck by something significant. Here I’d been praying the Late Night prayer nightly for one month. And, I had never really noticed one particular phrase: “(Silence may be kept, and free intercessions and thanksgivings may be offered.)”
I don’t know why I never noticed this sentence before. I mean, I’ve followed this direction many times. Yes, of course I often offered intercessions and thanksgivings of my own. But I don’t think I ever thought deeply about this sentence before.
This prayer comes from the Book of Common Prayer, an Episcopal prayer book. Both Episcopal and Anglican tradition use written prayers. Almost their whole service is scripted. I can appreciate that tradition! I, however, have some roots in the Evangelical and Free church traditions. (Though I was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran church, which also uses scripted prayers and liturgy.) My memories of prayers in the church(es) I was familiar with? All over the board. Some fervent, carefully scripted and written out. Some also as fervent, and also off the cuff.
I can do either. Go either way. Scripted or unscripted.
I went to what I now consider my go-to source for finding out more about Evening Prayer or, Compline: the website for the Church of England (see below, in the footnote).What did I find?
“The offering of intercession is as integral as praise to the nature of the services, and should not be minimized.” 
Nothing is said on the webpage here about scripted or unscripted, except that prayer is integral to the service. Accordingly, I wholeheartedly pray for people, places and things that I know can use my prayers and intercession. God willing, I hope to be able to continue in prayer and intercession for many.
God, You know the difficulties and challenges in all of our lives. Help us to come before You in spirit and in truth. Help each of us to lift names, emotions, feelings and situations to You. Amen!
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Visit the website http://dailyoffice.org/ to find out more about Morning and Evening Prayer!