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A template for prayers for the neighborhood

On Sunday, September 21, 2014, Canon Jacobs visited Good Shepherd, Fort Lee, and I spent the week before compiling prayers for our neighbors for an outdoor procession. I pass it along because I like it, and the congregation did too, and it may be useful for others.

Most of the prayers came from the BCP, with edits; the only nod to the lectionary was that I included the gospel as one of the readings. Use it freely, adapting it to your neighborhood. All readings are from the NRSV Bible, and most of the prayers are from the Book of Common Prayer (BCP), with edits from other sources; I wrote a few myself.

Here’s what it takes in preparation:

  • Find a route around your church. We did a small city block; this many prayers took about 45 minutes. I organized these after doing the walk and figuring out what we wanted to pray for when—the geography determines the order.
  • Insert the gospel for the day somewhere if it’s a principal Sunday service—I also omitted the Nicene Creed (but we did a Rite 1 Eucharist with all the lessons and Creed etc. at 8!)
  • Do some demographic research (there’s always more that could be done)
  • We prayed for emergency responders, which involved asking a police car to park on our premises... and found other symbols for the church parking lot (a balloon to represent thanksgivings and celebrations, an image of the globe kids had made in bottle caps over the summer, etc.)

Have fun!

The Rev. Dr. Allison Moore
Good Shepherd, Fort Lee