Prayers of intercession for those who have retired

1. Props and symbols – for those who don't like praying out loud

Pens and pencils

This method of prayer needs advance warning and forethought. A week or so before the prayer time, ask each person to bring something with them that represents something they are worried about and would like prayer for. Here are some examples: if it's their child, they might bring one of his/her toys with them; a thermometer for someone who may be ill; notepaper from work if concerned about their job; a map if guidance is needed on an issue.

Take it further

Allow people to say what they want about their item. It might be a long explanation or it might be quite short ('My auntie is very ill'). Then invite them to place their item on a small table (or on the carpet) in the middle. When everyone has presented his or her item, have a time of silent prayer for all that has been shared. You may wish to pass each item around the group so that everyone knows who is being prayed for even though silence is being kept.

For more info see Sue Wallace, 'Props', Multi-Sensory Prayer, Scripture Union, 2004, p37.

2. Prayer circles

Many hands holding each other

Share prayer concerns with one another in the group (if it is a large group then split into smaller groups). Simply hold hands in a circle and pray for the person on your left, then on your right, that God might meet them and comfort them in their need. Always end by praying God's best for the person or situation you are praying for.

Take it further

It is interesting that retired/older folk often say that as time goes by, they are rarely touched by people any more and crave just a simple holding of hands. When you've prayed for each other within the circle, then altogether face outwards and pray for wider issues - eg, for the local neighbourhood, the government, or world situations in the news.

For more info see Sue Wallace, 'Circles', Multi-Sensory Prayer, Scripture Union, 2004, p33.

3. Newspaper intercessions

A folded newspaper

You will need: a variety of newspapers, paper tablecloth, scissors, glue or stapler, single candle in candle holder.

The internet revolution hasn't quite dislodged people who like to take newspapers. Ask each table/person to prayerfully select a news story that concerns them, share why with others, then pray about it together.

Take it further

The following activity is especially poignant if celebrating communion together. Invite everyone to select stories from different types of newspapers/magazines, gluing or stapling them to a large paper tablecloth which then becomes the communion tablecloth. A single candle could be lit and the elements of bread and wine placed on your intercession cloth. Acknowledging God in the midst of brokenness and mess is indeed powerful and moving.

For more info see Sue Wallace, 'Newsprint', Multi-Sensory Prayer, Scripture Union, 2004, p17.