Prayer and Intercession Teams

Foundational Conviction of Unleash the Gospel

For everyone in the Archdiocese it entails making one’s relationship with Jesus and alignment with his will the central guiding principle of every aspect of life. This missionary conversion entails a strikingly countercultural way of living grounded in prayer, Scripture, and the sacraments; unusually gracious hospitality; a capacity to include those on the margins of society; and joyful confidence in the providence of God even in difficult and stressful times.

Jesus answered and said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, a son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees his father doing: for what he does, his son will also do.” John 5:19.

The Role of Intercessors

Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Matthew 9:38

Intercession has always been the hidden engine of the Church’s mission. It is not by accident that theco-patrons of the missions are St. Francis Xavier, who traveled as far as Japan to preach the Gospel, and St. Thérèse the Little Flower, who spent her entire adult life in a cloistered convent, offering all her prayers and sufferings for missionaries around the world. Intercessory prayer cultivates the soil for the sowing of the Word. It can stir up spiritual hunger in a whole city or region, so that the hearts of even those who are far from God are prepared to hear the Gospel when it is preached to them. One way to avail ourselves of the power of intercession is for each parish to form a prayer and intercession team to support the Pastor and his leadership team. This team is regularly informed of the parish’s evangelistic initiatives, prays specifically for their success, and receives regular updates on how their prayers are being answered.

Forming a New Prayer and Intercession Team

Thank you for taking the step of discerning to start a Prayer and Intercession Team at your parish. This is an exciting opportunity for you, your potential team, your pastor and all those living in the boundaries of your parish. We have organized this page to provide resources for your own discernment and how to present this ministry to your pastor and his leadership team and develop the team. Enjoy!!

In Action Step 2.2.4 of Unleash the Gospel, Archbishop Vigneron charged that each parish form an Intercessory Prayer Team to pray for the mission of the parish and intentions from the leadership team and to provide ongoing prayer support of that team. Whether you have been asked by your pastor to form a team or have felt the call on your own, welcome! We hope this information will help you better discern that call and guide you on the next steps.

Do you have a charism for intercessory prayer?

A charism is a spiritual gift given to a Christian by the Holy Spirit to enable him or her to be a powerful channel of God’s love and redeeming presence in the World. Whether extraordinary or ordinary, charisms are to be used in charity or service to build up the Church (CCC, 2003).

Someone with a charism for intercessory prayer goes beyond the call to pray for others that all Christians practice. Their prayer for others is consistent, persistent and tireless. Intercessors do not tell God what to do but seek to discern God’s will in the matter and then pray that God’s purposes be done in that situation.

Three signposts of a charism:

  1. An unmistakable inner experience of peace, energy and joy when you are using the gift. It energizes you!
  2. Unusually effective and successful results in what you’re trying to accomplish.
  3. Other people’s direct or indirect recognition of the gift’s presence.

Other charisms important to form and lead an intercessory prayer group are teaching, music, prophecy, encouragement and discernment of spirits.

Click here to download this self-reflection guide to help you discern whether you are called to form and lead an intercessory prayer team.

Instructions for Teams

Gifts Welcomed

Priests, deacons and lay ecclesial ministers in the Archdiocese should consider how to foster the use of charisms and to make all their evangelistic and pastoral endeavors “charism-based.” When discerning to whom the leadership of a ministry should be entrusted, or who should be called upon to volunteer, we must seek as much as possible to match people’s responsibilities to their charisms. Let us also give people room to grow and flourish in the use of their gifts, as St. John Chrysostom counsels: “The most basic task of a church leader is to discern the spiritual gifts of all those under his authority, and to encourage those gifts to be used to the full benefit of all. Only a person who can discern the gifts of others and can humbly rejoice at the flourishing of those gifts is fit to lead the Church.” (Unleash the Gospel. Marker 4.3)

  • One of the primary charisms to be called forth in this ministry is the charism of Intercessory Prayer. This trust in God’s providence in answering prayer is often the engine of the Prayer and Intercession Team.
  • Other charisms that can serve the group well may include charisms of teaching, music, prophecy, encouragement and discernment of spirits.
  • People who have a good heart and desire to serve the church are always welcome! Everyone who is committed to praying with the group, learning and growing in charity and keeping confidentiality, will provide spiritual support to the Leadership Team of the parish.

Growth of the Group

To follow Jesus is to be in a constant process of growth, like the seed that fell on rich soil. We seek to be more like Jesus, to treat others as he did, to pray as he prayed, to love as he loved, and to honor God in every area of our lives, including marriage, family life, finances, work, and leisure activities. Growing as his disciple demands a daily surrender to the one who loved us and gave his life for us: “I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20). (Unleash the Gospel Marker 9.2)

  • The leader of the Prayer and Intercession team takes on this responsibility with humility and obedience, guiding the group and helping them to grow individually and as a group. There is no one perfect way to pray for the Leadership Team, but as we rely on the Holy Spirit, and trust that God is leading the group to deeper knowledge of him and his will, fruits of the prayer sessions will manifest.
  • There will be times of difficulty and distrust in the group, but a sense of charity and deeper surrender to the Holy Spirit allows the group to mature. At times, words of correction may need to be spoken to certain members and these words should be shared in love.
  • It is optimal to have a core group of people, even 2-3 who will consistently pray for the Leadership Team each week.

The Life of an Intercessor

Staying close to the Son gives us insight into the will of the Father. Jesus shows us how to live in accordance with God’s ways.

  • The call to be an Intercessor, should not be taken lightly and should be carefully discerned by each participant. Periodically, members of the Prayer and Intercession Team should discern their commitment to the ministry.
  • Intercessors need to be in good standing with the church, to be one accord with the teachings and leadership of the church.
  • Characteristics of Intercessors may include: courage, boldness, perseverance, righteousness, familiarity with God’s word and the ability to keep confidences.
  • Partaking in the Weekly Liturgy, making regular use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, with time for individual personal prayer, Eucharistic Adoration, the reading of Scripture and the Rosary are also opportunities for people to grow in holiness as they fulfill their role of Intercessor.
  • Intercessors should be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit and find opportunities to hear from the Lord in silence.
  • Intercession required discipline. Like exercise, it must be regular. Intercede by decision, not just inspiration.
  • Due to the nature of the role, Intercessors should protect themselves and their family members with the ‘armor of God.’ (Eph 6:10-18) The tempter will come when it is least expected and try to create division and distrust between family members. A regular prayer life, asking for repentance from God, forgiving those who have harmed us and renouncing lies will assist members to fulfill their role with peace and wisdom.

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get involved with the Prayer and Intercession Team at my Parish?

Discernment is key to being involved with any ministry. Click here to download some key questions you can use in your prayer to decide if you are being called to this ministry. If, after this period of discernment you’re interested in becoming a member of the Prayer and Intercession Team at your parish, contact your Pastor or Director of Worship.

What is Lectio Divina?

Lectio Divina is an ancient are of praying with the Scriptures, whose roots go back to the 6th century and St. Benedict of Nursia, the founder of the Benedictine Order. Lectio Divina is a slow, contemplative encounter with the Word of God. Click here for more resources.

Is there specific etiquette or best practices I should use when conducting Prayer and Intercession Team sessions?

Meeting virtually is a little more challenging than meeting in person, but this should not deter you from meeting with your Prayer and Intercession Team. The Lord hears and answers all prayers! Click here to download some helpful hints for making your session a success.

What if I’ve talked to the pastor and was not invited to be a member of the Prayer and Intercession Team at the parish?

Don’t lose heart! If you have discerned that Intercessory Prayer may be a charism for you, praying with this team may not be the place God is calling you. You may continue to pray for your pastor, his leadership team and the evangelization efforts of the parish from your home. Perhaps other ministries could benefit from your prayer. Pray and ask God to show you other opportunities to use this charism.

How many people should be on a Prayer and Intercession Team?

Smaller may be better in this case, but there is no limit to membership on a Prayer and Intercession Team. It is most important that people can commit to regular (preferably weekly) meetings, have a charism of intercessory prayer and a heart for the evangelization efforts of the parish. Even 3-4 people committed to the team will bear great fruit.

Is there a suggested outline for an Intercessory Prayer Team?

The suggested outline for Prayer and Intercession Teams follows Liturgy of the Word. Click here for the suggested outline. The Team is not limited to using this format but is encouraged to follow it closely, so every Prayer and Intercession Team in the Archdiocese of Detroit is praying with one mind and one heart.

How do I conduct Intercessory Prayer through online video conferencing, such as Zoom Meetings?

Prayer and Intercession Teams CAN pray remotely using Zoom or some other technology. Click here to download guidelines on how to use Zoom.

What is the purpose of the Prayer and Intercession Team in a parish?

In Unleash the Gospel, the Pastoral Letter from Archbishop Vigneron, it states that each Parish is to have a Prayer and Intercession Team. There are several purposes for an Intercessory Prayer Team. Primarily, the team will intercede for intentions of the Pastor, the leadership team and the vibrancy of the parish as a whole. This will include praying for the parishioners, programs, and evangelization initiatives as designated by the leadership team.

How could I start a Prayer and Intercession Team at my parish?

This website has excellent resources to help you begin the process of developing a Prayer and Intercession Team. Click here for resources to help you take the next steps in starting a Prayer Team. It is also recommended that members attend the Prayer and Intercession Team Training offered periodically by the Archdiocese of Detroit. Click here for upcoming training events.

Is there a specific format for petitions?

During the Prayer and Intercession Team prayer session, there is no specific format to share petitions. A few petitions could be prepared ahead of time, but the leaders should also include time for prayers on the hearts of those gathered, prompted by the Holy Spirit. The petitions can include individual needs of participants or parishioners and should always include the pastor, leadership team, staff, upcoming events and evangelization efforts of the parish. Click here for a few examples.

How do I find out if my Parish has a Prayer and Intercession Team?

Prayer and Intercession Team members are invited by the pastor or designated pastoral staff member who oversees the team. You can contact your parish office to inquire about the Prayer and Intercession Team at your parish.