Dear Friends,

The three traditional practices for Lent are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. I want to talk about the first of the three – prayer.

Each Sunday, the person leading the Prayers of the People references those on “the Trinity prayer list.” I thought recently, “I wonder where that prayer list is and who keeps it?” Yes, I’m in my sixth month as your interim, but I’m still discovering things about the way Trinity works. (Remember this when your new rector arrives – it will take time for them to learn about the parish’s people and practices. There will be a learning curve!)

I decided to find out more about the parish prayer list. So I conducted an investigation. Guess what? We don’t have one. The reference in the Prayers of the People is a vestige of another time in Trinity’s life. This discovery was enough motivation for me to address this absence and the need for a simple way for parishioners to request prayer.

People preparing for confirmation or reception in the Episcopal Church often are taught the acronym, ACTIP, as a way of remembering the different kinds of prayer. Here’s what each letter stands for: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Intercession, and Petition. Our Prayers of the People are prayers of intercession – we pray for the church, for our nation and those in authority around the world, for those who suffer in body, mind or spirit, and for those who have died.

One of the bishops in whose diocese I served was adamant that people should stand for the Prayers of the People. He believed that lay people were exercising the priesthood of all believers as they prayed on behalf of others. So, they should stand just as priests stand to celebrate Holy Communion. I am less concerned about people’s postures and more about whether they have what they need to perform this very important ministry. Some adjustments are in order.

Here are the adjustments I’m suggesting we make:

  • We re-establish a parish prayer list. We’ll make it easy to request prayers for people or situations through our website: or by emailing or calling the parish office. Email is Phone is (419) 243-1231.
  • When a request comes in, it will remain on the prayer list for four weeks before it’ll be taken off. Requests can always be renewed or submitted again. However, having an “expiration date” will prevent the list from overflowing with prayer requests that are out of date.
  • When a request is received, the requester will be asked whether they want it to appear on the public prayer list, which will be read out loud at Sunday services, or be added to a private list. In order for a request to be included in the public prayer list on Sunday, please contact the church office no later than the end of the day on Wednesday. And if we’re praying publicly for someone you know, be sure you’ve gotten their permission to be named aloud.
  • If the request is designated to remain private or discrete, the parish clergy and a small prayer team will offer prayer. The request will not go public.
  • A small prayer team has already agreed to say prayers of intercession. The team members will pray on their own for now. This is not a closed group. You may ask to join the prayer team by emailing me at

The goal is two-fold – to make it easier for people to make prayer requests and to involve more parishioners in the practice of praying for others.

Let me end with a portion of a prayer written by the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, a Lutheran pastor, author, and public theologian. Her online publication, newsletter, and community is called “The Corners.” It’s a reminder to me that nothing is out of bounds when it comes to praying for others:

“Bless the things we mistakenly think are already dead. Bless that which we have already begun to carry out of town to bury. Bless our rocky marriages and our college age kids who smoke too much pot. Bless the person at work who we love to hate. Bless the young adult who wonders if they are too young to really be an alcoholic, and bless the 6o year old woman who’s had too much work done. Bless the public school lunch ladies and the guy who stole my kid’s bike. Bless the chronically sick. Bless the one who has no one. Bless what we call insignificant and which you call magnificent. Bless it all and love what only you can love: the ugly, and abandoned and unsanitary in the wash of humanity upon which you have nothing but a gleaming compassion when we have none.”

And let us all say, Amen!


Stephen Applegate

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