Free Time

Free Intercessions may be offered.

One of the big complaints against the traditions that have a set liturgy – prayers, responses, etc., that are used all the time – is that there isn’t any place in them for heartfelt, spontaneous prayer. Canned religion, some call it.

There’s some truth to that accusation; it can easily become a rote exercise, familiar words mumbled without really paying attention to them. We can revert to Automatic Pilot mode, avoiding any deep engagement with God, ourselves, and one another.

There’s a lot of ignorance to that accusation; beautiful words that have been spoken so often that they are familiar friends can guide us into God’s presence when our own imaginations and verbal resources aren’t up to the task.

Here’s the irony – the best of both worlds is already offered in these five words: free intercessions may be offered. Here is our chance to speak what is on our hearts, in our own words, with our own sense of purpose and timing. We can let the ancient prayers and offerings revive our souls and replenish our own spiritual imaginings, then move into this free space. Here is the place, now is the time. Lift yourself, others, this entire world to God in your own words.

Free intercessions may be offered. It’s a shame that this sentence is written in such small print as to be easily overlooked.

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I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

2 thoughts on “Free Time”

  1. As the founder of our Coffee&Conversation, you will appreciate why we have held multiple sessions on such things as the creed and the Lord’s Prayer. Now when I say these there is more meaning . During the summer months this year we sang the Nicene creed at the Sunday service to a familiar anthem and I think many of us felt more “in tune” with it🥰 Looking for different ways to bring the meaning back when saying repetitive liturgy can be helpful to restoring it. Just slowing the pace or emphasizing different words/passages can be helpful such as in the opening collect.

    1. So true, Bill! A slow walk through liturgical pieces can bring them into sharp focus, and leave an impression that lasts for life. Singing is such a wonderful way to do that! Thanks, Bill! peace, Johnna

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