There are many wonderful prayer groups available to pray for Priests. The Lord can lead you to the one that's right for you.
P4P (Pray4Priests) Prayer Groups were started in order to give busy
people an opportunity to pray for Priests with a group, but for
whom time constraints had prevented them from participating in the
past. P4P Prayer Groups meet once a week before or after Mass to pray specific prayers (mostly Scripture) for five minutes or less. The prayers have a particular
focus on supporting the local Pastor.
How to Start a P4P Prayer Group in Your Parish & How It Works:
- Pick a 5 minute time block before or after Sunday Mass that will consistently work for you on a weekly basis.
- There is a different prayer for each week (see section called "Pick a Prayer for This Week" below). Each prayer focuses on a different aspect of support for Pastors - for example: "that he will be given strength in his vocation", "that he will be protected when dealing with difficult situations", and so forth.
- Ask 1 or 2 other people to join you at your prayer time, to offer prayer cover and support for your Pastor. That's it!
Pick a Prayer for This Week
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why do you recommend having the prayer time right before or after Mass?
All Catholics are obligated to go to Holy Mass on Sundays, therefore, it should be the easiest time for anyone to meet for 5 minutes or less for prayer. However, if before or after Mass won't work, pick any time that works best for you. Also, the covid pandemic has highlighted the benefit of video technology in bringing people together while social distancing may prevent gathering in person, so you could also arrange an online prayer time with others via Zoom or a similar virtual meeting set up.
Why is the prayer time short?
Spending much time in prayer is wonderful, and many prayer groups for Priests are structured to be 30 minutes to an hour in length. However, we realized that time constraints sometimes prevented people from being part of prayer groups to pray for Priests, so we wanted to offer an alternative to help the time-challenged. The Church affirms that effective prayer doesn't have to be long (the Lord's Prayer can be prayed in less than a minute). Rather, the Lord reminds us in Scripture that key components of prayer are coming together in Jesus' name (Matt. 18:20), consistency in praying for our siblings in Christ (Eph. 6:18), and persistence in prayer (Lk. 11:5-13). The P4P Prayer Group model strives to follow these guidelines.
Can a parish have more than one P4P Prayer Group?
Yes, that's actually preferable! The goal is not to grow one group really large (although that's great if it happens), but rather, our format is meant to help reduce or eliminate the scheduling problems that often come with larger groups, and hinder participants from regularly coming together to pray. By keeping the format open to several small groups of "2 or 3 gathered in" Jesus' name, virtually anyone can participate and find a convenient time to pray.
What format should we follow to lead the prayers?
Whatever works best for you! There can be 1 prayer leader, or people can take
turns leading the prayer each week, or everyone can pray that week's prayer together in
Why are the prayers mostly Scripture?
Why should I participate in an intercessory prayer group for Priests, and in particular, for my Pastor?
Because it's effective. As Catholics, we believe that Scripture is God's Word, not our own, and as such, it is "living" (Heb. 4:12), and it doesn't return to God empty, but it actually accomplishes things (Isaiah 55:10-11). The Catechism says, "the Church has always venerated
the Scriptures as she venerates the Lord's Body. She never ceases to
present to the faithful the bread of life, taken from the one table of
God's Word and Christ's Body. In Sacred Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it not as a human word, but as what it really is -- the Word of God." (CCC #103-104)
Because it is an act of love, mercy, and fellowship. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, drawing from Sacred Scripture, teaches us that "Intercession is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did. He is
the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all men...He is able for all time to save those who draw near
to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for
them. The Holy Spirit himself intercedes for us . . .
and intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Since Abraham, intercession - asking on behalf of another - has been
characteristic of a heart attuned to God's mercy.
In the age of the Church,
Christian intercession participates in Christ's, as an expression of the
communion of saints. In intercession, he who prays looks not only to his
own interests, but also to the interests of others...the first Christian communities lived this form of fellowship
intensely." (CCC #2634 - 2636)