Catechesis on prayer: 19. The prayer of intercession

Pope Francis begins this catechesis on prayer by noting the importance of making the time and place for it.  We need undisturbed solitude and silence to listen better to God’s voice.:

We all need interiority: to retreat within a space and a time dedicated to our relationship with God. But this does not mean that we evade reality. In prayer, God “takes us, blesses us, then breaks us and gives us”, to satisfy everyone’s hunger. Every Christian is called to become in God’s hands bread, broken and shared. That is, it is concrete prayer, that is not an escape.

But as the Holy Father notes, such prayer remains rooted in everyday reality, our human experience is present in every prayer.  Therefore we pray for many intentions: for the whole world, with its sorrows and sins; for each and every person, especially the poor and lost; for all those who have asked for our prayers, and those for whom we want to pray.  “Prayer comes from our hearts and our voices and gives heart and voice to so many people who do not know how to pray or do not want to pray or for whom it is impossible to pray.”

The Catechism defines:

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,” (Phil 2:4) even to the point of praying for those who do him harm. (CCC 2635)

Christ is before the Father: He is the intercessor, He prays for us, and now we unite our prayer of intercession to his, especially when we are moved by the Holy Spirit to pray for sinners.  This is an act of love for our brothers and sisters, without judgement or condemnation, no one should ever be rejected or set aside from our prayer.  May our own prayer always be attentive to those most in need, even as the Catechism teaches, those who have harmed us.

You are invited to meditate on these scripture passages

  • Lk 18:9-14 – The lesson of the parable of the Pharisee and the publican
  • Ps 143 – “Lord, no one is just in your sight”
  • Lk 23:34 – “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing”

While the whole Church has the mission of interceding for all – this duty falls particularly to those in positions of responsibility, such as parents, teachers or priests. Although often hidden from the world, our intercessions are never hidden from God, who always hears those who cry to him.

Read Catechesis on prayer: 19. The prayer of intercession