INTERCESSION is the soul of service. It gives spiritual meaning to that which we do for others; it makes plain to us just how and where we can best help our fellows; and it furnishes us with a sympathy for and an insight into human life that can be procured through no other channel. It may end in making us poor in pocket, in sending us on some hazardous errand to the needy, or in creating the spirit of adventure for God that will lift us into the uttermost parts of the earth. But its compensation is the bestowal upon its user of an enriched manhood and a tender heart. What spiritual and hidden agencies are let loose by intercession upon those who are prayed for it is hard to determine; but we know, without understanding how or why, that powerful influences for good are released by this enabling devotion which agitates with new effectiveness the unresting hands of God.
Noon-tide is intercession time--not exclusively but fittingly. At that moment Christ entered into the most mysterious and unfathomable recesses of the Atonement. It is a natural resting spot, too, from the business of life, wherein we may exchange outer for inner activities, disciplining self-interest by praying for others and their interests.
Lord Jesus, who didst stretch out Thine arms of love on the hard wood of the Cross that all men might come within the reach of Thy saving embrace, cloth us in Thy Spirit, that we, stretching forth our hands in loving labor for others, may bring those who know Thee not to the knowledge and love of Thee, who with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest God. Amen.
Prayer for our Nearest and Dearest
THOSE who have the first claim on our prayers are our intimates--relatives, friends, associates. They will suffer from our neglect if we do not pray for them; they will benefit by our effort if we intercede for them.
(a) O God, fulfil every need of theirs according to Thy riches in glory in Christ Jesus. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding guard their hearts and thoughts in Jesus Christ. Amen.
(b) O God, who hast made pleasant and lovely the bonds of friendship, I thank Thee for the many friends and comrades with whom Thou hast enriched my life .. Tighten the cords of love which unite us in Thee, and in death divide us not; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for the Church.
THE Church is not our particular parish or our particular Communion. It is the whole company of God's people, whether scattered throughout the world and wearing many names, or resting in the quiet oneness of Paradise. Our parochial life is great only so far as this is remembered. It is good to identify yourself in spirit with those with whom you disagree in points of religion.
(a) Almighty God, without whom our labor is but lost, prosper the work of Thy Holy Church through the world (especially in ), O prosper Thou our handiwork. Build it upon that foundation other than which no man can lay, Jesus Christ. Defend it from the defilement of worldly motives, unclean hands and the lust of visible success, that in that day when the fire shall prove each man's work of what sort it is, ours may abide, and we, Thy labourers, have praise of Thee; Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(b) O God, who never failest to go with those Thou sendest, bless Thy servants (especially ) whom Thou hast chosen to bear Thy name before the dwellers in the uttermost part of the earth, that they may have wisdom to know, strength to do, and patience to suffer; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for the Nation
THE Nation is a divine creation. The course of state is determined not less by the ideals and prayers of the common people than by the counsels of statesmen and the diligence of politicians. We shall have clean politics only so far as politics are bathed in prayer, and the plans of every department of government submitted to God's judgment before being put into execution.
O Almighty and everlasting God, who, with Thy strong arm and sleepless vigilance, dost govern those nations that look to Thee for guidance, we rejoice in the tokens of Thy favour which have been our portion hitherto and now since our forefathers laid the foundations of this Republic in Thy name. Carry us, we pray Thee, in security to an honourable and glorious destiny; and grant that neither through arrogance begotten of prosperity, nor conceit bred of successful achievement, may we forget our dependence upon Thee for daily sustenance, lest we be cast from Thine embrace into the valley of destruction. To those who sit in the seats of authority impart purity of motive, right judgment in counsel, discretion in administration; to the people of the land grant loyalty, industry and godliness, that all things may tend to the healing of divisions, the establishment of peace, and the promotion of Thy Kingdom among men; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Church of the Majority
BY far the largest and strongest portion of the Church is invisible. Its life is altogether hid with Christ in God. The good people of all time are a multitude which no man can number occupied yonder in doing God's work without division of interests. Their relation to us is organic. They cannot live without sharing their life with us. We cannot move without touching them. As they love us, so they pray for us; as we love them, so we pray for them, for prayer is love melted into worship. Nothing retains to better advantage the lives of yesterday in the life of to-day than prayers for the departed. If to them our prayers were nothing more than a caress of love, who would dare withhold them this devotion?
O King of Paradise, where light abounds and life reigns, give to our dear ones who are with Thee (especially ..) a full share of Thy treasures, that they may always be white with Thy purity, tranquil with Thy peace, and glad with Thy joy. Let us live vividly in their present love as they live in ours, until the time of separation is past, and we are taken to the place whither they have gone before, there to dwell with them in the perfect fellowship that knows no end.
To that brightest of all meetings
Bring us, Jesus Christ, at last;
To Thy cross, through death and judgment,
Holding fast. Amen.