for Sunday, March 17, 2013
5th Sunday in Lent
lectionary focus: John 12:1-8
prop: your Church bulletin
Long ago in another church, I was at a planning meeting for organizing the worship service. My friend Susan said that she was in charge of the “Pop” and asked who else wanted to help with the “Pop” and if there was anyone that needed to be included in the “Pop.” I had no idea what she was talking about! I wondered What is the “Pop”? Did we have a “Pop” in the service? Maybe it was a Who? Was it somebody’s dad? So I asked, “What are you talking about?” Susan explained that those letters P O P stood for Prayers of the People…the part of the church service where we pray for other people.
Oh! Different churches call this prayer in the service by different names. Some call it Prayers of the People…or POP; some call it Concerns of the People; some call it the Prayers for Intercession; our church calls it (insert your church’s pray name) and it comes right here in the service (show it’s place in the bulletin). But whatever it is called, every church has a time in the service to lift up prayers for others. Each Sunday we ask God to help those around us near and far.
We are now in the Season of Lent. This is the time we prepare for the Mystery and Joy of Easter. One way we prepare and work on being closer to God is through prayer. We pray to God giving Him thanks for all He gives us; we pray when we are scared asking for comfort; we pray for forgiveness to keep us clean on the inside; we pray for God to help us. But when we pray, we do not pray just for ourselves.
In our Bible story today, Jesus’s friend Mary helps Jesus…and some of the others think she is wasting her help. They say she should be helping someone who really needs help. But Jesus points out that everyone needs help. And of course, He’s right. We all need help. And we are here to help each other. One way to help is to pray for each other. When we lift up our family, our friends, even people we have never met, we are building God’s community by bringing us all closer to God. Whether we are asking God to be with someone who is having a hard time or a exciting time, we are helping make God’s world more hopeful, more peaceful, and more beautiful.
We don’t have to save our Pop prayers for church. We can put a little Pop in all of our prayers.
Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)
for helping me.
help my family,
help my friends,
help all of Your children
that Your world
will be hopeful,
and more beautiful.
We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.