Rev. Kay Rackley: On Prayers for Our Community

Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. 

— James 5:13-16 (NRSV)

Prayer is a vital ministry of the Church and central to our communal life. It is an important way that we care for one another, nurture our relationships and foster community. Communal prayer provides a web of support ­— emotional, spiritual, and physical — which can sustain individuals and their families. Our prayers for one another affect the wellbeing of individuals, their families and our worshipping community.

Our communal prayers — the Prayers of the People — are an essential means whereby our community offers care, nurture and support for our extended Trinity family. The Prayers of the People not only affords the gathered community an opportunity to come together to pray for members of our community but also allows for personal participation. In other words, the Prayers of the People becomes an agency whereby people become aware of the needs of their fellow parishioners and are afforded the opportunity to offer care and support.

One of the great challenges of congregational prayer lists is that from time to time they can become rather extensive. An extensive prayer list presents several challenges for the gathered community. The first challenge is to actually pay attention to the names of those for whom prayer is being offered. It is simply human nature that when confronted with long lists, our tendency is to “tune out” and not pay attention to the needs being expressed.

The other great challenge is to let people know when someone’s condition has changed and/or become more critical. When someone has been on the prayer list for an extended period of time, if there is a change in the person’s condition, the prayer list is no longer able to alert the congregation to the new need or the change in their lives which is now impacting the person’s life and well-being.

In an effort to support individuals who are in need of our prayers and to balance the concerns of “prayer fatigue,” Trinity is implementing two public prayer lists. The prayer list of ongoing concerns will be for those individuals who desire the prayers of their parish family as they continue to deal with ongoing concerns and challenges within their lives and the lives of their families. This list will be printed each week in the Trinity News. I ask that you take this list home and continue to hold these persons in your prayers.

The Prayers of the People (the prayer list that will be read during the worship services) will be limited to persons who are actively undergoing treatment and/or find themselves in acute need. This will provide our community with the means to know when significant changes in condition and situation occur within people’s lives. This will also enable members of our congregation to be more actively engaged in the care and support of people and their families.

Our intention at the Cathedral is to offer prayer and pastoral support to all our members in a manner that is timely and supportive. Since prayer (and life) is dynamic and not static, how we offer prayers for those requesting prayers cannot be cast in stone — forever fixed. Therefore, please know if there are ways to improve our practice of prayer support at Trinity the Cathedral Council and the clergy are open to your insights and suggestions.


The Reverend Kay Rackley
Canon for Worship and Spiritual Formation

A Reminder: Prayer concerns will be read during the service for four weeks. The concerns will then be moved to the published Ongoing Prayer concern list that is included in our weekly service sheets. Ongoing prayer concerns will be published for an additional eight weeks. Please contact Doreen Hughes (216.774.0415 or with your prayer requests.