I’ll Pray For You

While reorganizing old papers, Herbert O’Driscoll rediscovered a piece by 1970s Priest/Psychologist Eugene Kennedy about the nature of promising to pray for someone. As life gets busy, people often struggle to uphold such promises, but during the Covid-19 pandemic, the practice of prayer has become deeper and richer within church communities. Kennedy writes that pledging to pray for someone establishes a strong, intimate bond, communicating faith, hope, and love. This powerful sentiment could be the foundation for those committing themselves to prayer groups.

Going through what sometimes seem endless papers in my study, I recently came across something that I had lost for some years. Coming across it makes me realize that it speaks very eloquently today to something that has developed very strongly in church life in these challenging days we are living through.

Back in the 1970s Eugene Kennedy was a very gifted Priest/Psychologist who wrote insightfully about the nature of Christian faith and our understanding of it. Sometime around that period he wrote a piece on what it means to pray, or to promise to pray for another person. They may have asked us to pray for them because of some need and we may have promised that we would.

Many of us will have experienced problems with remaining faithful to such a promise sincerely meant at the time. But, as we know all too well, life is busy, other needs and requests come into our lives, we lose track of our friend or acquaintance, we ourselves may develop worrying needs that make difficult managing our prayer life. For all this we can sometimes feel regret and even guilt.

In the recent years of Covid the world of prayer came to assume a place in our lives it may not have had. There were friends we would not see for long periods. A card now and then, a phone call when thought of, a chat on FaceTime. Gatherings that we would once have taken for granted, church occasions, social interactions, all lessened. Often we regretted this loss of an intimacy we had long taken for granted.

During these same years however, there is something that has quietly become deeper and richer in church community. Prayer groups have long existed but in the Covid years a rather wonderful thing developed. Prayer groups became more numerous and more appreciated, and they remain so as time goes on.

This brings me back to the wonderful piece I recovered recently. What Eugene Kennedy gives eloquent expression to is the depth and substance of what we can mean when we promise to pray for one another. I hope many more of us become aware of this passage …

Eugene Kennedy writes “A change actually occurs between two people when one promises sincerely to pray for the other. The former has placed themselves in a new kind of relationship with the one to whom they have made the promise. They have committed themselves to the other’s world of personal concern. In other words, they have made themselves present to the one in need in a new and vital way.

Promising a prayer is not the same as making a mental note to say an Our Father at a later date. Neither is it some kind of imaginary benevolence comparable to a shouted “Good Luck” or “Bon Voyage”. It means that we have redefined ourselves in relationship to our friend or acquaintance, that we have enlarged the boundaries of ourselves in order to stand closer to the other at a time when that is exactly what they need.

A shift occurs when we cast the votes of our time, attention and prayers for another human being. We are, through the power of the spirit and the reality of our commitment, with them in a new and vitalizing way. In other words, the person who means it when they promise to pray for another has given something of themselves to that person. They communicate faith, hope and love, in a truly living way.”

I think this magnificent passage could be offered to any group of people who wish to have a kind of charter or foundation statement for their working together to pray for others.

Herbert O’Driscoll

Praying together in Pandemic Times

Paul Dumbrille

In a previous Prayer Matters article, I mentioned the value of being connected to God by being part of a Prayer Group This is no less important now in these COVID times of lockdowns, physical distancing, and restrictions on meeting with others. Despite our wishes that the Pandemic would go away, it looks like it will be some time before we can meet together safely for prayer in small or large groups as we have in the past. As we go forward, we need to adapt and develop new ways to stay connected with each other and God in prayer.

Continue reading “Praying together in Pandemic Times”

Praying during a Pandemic

By Paul Dumbrille.

In times of crisis, Prayer Matters. In this pandemic period people are turning to prayer. One small indication that people are praying more than usual, is that the number of people visiting this Anglican Fellowship of Prayer website has increased as rapidly as the COVID-19 virus pandemic has progressed. Is this an indication that people have suddenly become religious? I’m not sure that is the case, but it begs the question. How and what do we pray for in times like this?

Continue reading “Praying during a Pandemic”

In a Time of Virus, Fear and Economic Meltdown

Almighty God, we pray for those who have died of the coronavirus; for those who are sick, and for those who are afraid of getting sick.

Be the shepherd of your people, O Lord, we pray.

In the midst of such uncertainty, we wonder how to keep ourselves, our families, our companies and our churches afloat in a time of economic meltdown.

We ask you to protect us all.

We pray for the millions who are laid off from work, and for those who must continue to work because they provide essential services – or cannot otherwise feed their children.

Give us today our daily bread.

We pray for first responders, doctors, nurses and all who work in health care. We pray for all who are confined to hospitals, nursing homes and institutions – and for family members who are not allowed to visit. We pray for those who are responsible for public health decisions, that they will be guided by science and duty, not ideology or politics.

You are the greatest healer, O Lord.

Lord, have mercy on our public officials. Guide them to create appropriate policies; give them wisdom and good judgment; help them put humanity first, that the people may follow their guidelines and take into account the safety of everyone in all we do.

Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.

Lord, help us guide our children and our parents through this emergency with cheerfulness, optimism and faith. Help us to lay aside our fears and to focus on the needs of others; where we can be helpful, let us act on their behalf, even if only from a distance.

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.

We turn to you, O Lord, for we have no other help and we know you are sufficient. You are the very power of love, of health and healing, of protection and mercy.

Come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints
to glory everlasting. Amen.

For those who are unable to physically receive communion

The Reverend Nils Chittenden, Rector of St. Stephen’s Church in Armonk, New York, shared a beautiful prayer from the Anglican Church of South Africa for those who are unable to physically receive communion.

He writes, “In apartheid South Africa, many prisoners were denied the sacraments and had to find other ways of taking Spiritual Communion. ‪This prayer found its way into the 1989 Anglican Church of South Africa Prayer Book as a help to others who could not receive.

Jesus, may all that is you flow into me.
May your body and blood be my food and drink.
May your passion and death be my strength and life.
Jesus, with you by my side enough has been given.
May the shelter I seek be the shadow of your cross.
Let me not run from the love which you offer but hold me safe from the forces of evil.
On each of my dyings shed your light and your love.
Keep calling to me until that day comes when, with your saints, I may praise you for ever.

Request from the Primate

Friends in Christ,

     At the risk of inundating you with prayer requests…. Here once again is the request from the Primates of the Anglican Communion for prayers on Lent 5.     It was originally meant to be an opportunity to pray, in humility, for the ways in which we need to repent for contributing to the pain of division in the Communion – in anticipation of joining together at Lambeth.   Even though we will not be at Lambeth this year – the call for repentance and prayer is still needed.

     With that call I have included prayer for the unity of the Communion and prayers for all affected by COVID19.    You can see the article in the Journal – with links to the Anglican Communion resources at:   

     I will be live on Facebook at 7 p.m. EDT Sunday, March 29th – for any that wish to join me.  

      With gratitude for your ministry of leadership and prayer

The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls
Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church of Canada

We pray today for all those suffering from COVID-19, and especially today for those struggling to find support:

Father of all,
you call us to be generous to one another,
and to recognise in their faces the true image of your Son.
Give us grace that as individuals,
and as a whole society,
that in this time of great need
we may minister friendship and support in ways that are safe
to all those who are in need of the service of others this day,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Lord bless us and keep us, the Lord make his face to shine upon us and be gracious to us, the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon us and give us peace. Amen.


Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,

Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM
March 13th 2020