Praying for Vocations
Greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ, who called, set apart, equipped, empowered, authorized and ordered apostles to proclaim the gospel, and to build and lead his church – and who continues to raise up men and women, and through the Church, to call, equip, empower, authorize and order/ordain them.
Would you pray for “vocations,” that is, pray that God would call people to ordination and so work in them and their communities so that they become ordained missional leaders? Also, I would ask our churches to do so, regularly and publicly, and especially during the four Ember Day weeks. This week happens to be one of those weeks.
Ember Days are regular occasions when the Church remembers and prays for those called to ordination (and those called to ordination remember and pray for the Church and their bishop in particular). Ember Days are a Wednesday, Friday and Saturday four times a year, generally corresponding to the seasons of the year, so technically there are 12 Ember Days (BCP, p. 689):
- After St. Lucy’s Day (December 13)
- After the First Sunday of Lent
- After the Day of Pentecost
- After Holy Cross Day (September 14)
We pray for clergy every week during the Prayers of the People. Let’s also pray for “vocations” at least quarterly. In this way, we might keep our responsibility for the raising up of ordained missional leaders in our prayers, in our intentions and consciousness, and it just might plant a seed in the heart of a next-generation leader!
I continue to hope and pray that God will raise up more ordained missional leaders in our diocese, and particularly more minorities, more women, and more deacons. (1) I give thanks for my colleague at Church of the Apostles, the Rev. Taylor Ishii, who is heading up the Antioch Initiative provincially. The Antioch Initiative seeks to facilitate raising up minority leaders to ordained ministry. (2) Bishop Lebhar states in the Ordination Process Manual: “Women are welcome to seek ordination to the Diaconate and the Priesthood in the Gulf Atlantic Diocese.” (And also: “You do not need to agree with the ordination of women to be a candidate for ordination in this diocese.”) I pray that we will find ways to encourage and provide greater access through our processes for both minorities and women. (3) And we would love to see at least one deacon in every congregation!
There are two Collects for Ember Days, found on page 634 in the Book of Common Prayer as well as the collect below which comes from the “Occasional Prayers” section. Would you join me in praying for vocations?
13. For Vocations to Ordained Ministry
Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd who cares for his flock: We ask you to bestow upon your Church the gifts of the Holy Spirit in abundance, and to raise up from among us faithful and able persons called to the ministries of Deacon, Priest, and Bishop. Inspire them to spend and be spent for the sake of the Gospel, and make them holy and loving servants and shepherds of the flock for whom you shed your most precious blood. Grant this for the sake of your love. Amen. (BCP, p. 650)