Youth forum at theology conference
November 17, 2021
Feast of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (B)
November 17, 2021

The importance of intercession

By Ottrisha Carter

The Evangelization Commission in collaboration with the Catholic Youth Commission organised an Intercessory Prayer Training for youths and youth ministry leaders. Sessions were held via the Zoom platform every Wednesday at 7.30 p.m., from August 25 – October 20.

The sessions were geared toward adults wanting to learn intercessory prayer for their parish youth ministry or their children. Dr Peter Timothy, Fr John Theodore CSSp and Keith Patrick were the facilitators.

Intercessory prayer involves people praying or interceding for God’s healing, mercy, forgiveness, and conversion for others.

According to Pope Francis, “Are you angry with someone? Pray for that person. That is what Christian love is.” In other words, we should not find ourselves praying only for our relatives and friends, but also for those who have hurt us, and we find it difficult to forgive.

During the September 1 session entitled ‘Understanding Intercession’, Dr Timothy explored some of the reasons why people pray for others. He said that we find ourselves praying for others out of genuine concern and love for them. As humans, we come to realise and accept that our efforts are not sufficient to bring about transformation in situations that are beyond our control. Therefore, we turn to God who can make a difference in the messes of our lives.

Dr Timothy also highlighted the need for us to persevere in prayer. St Francis of Assisi said, “Spiritual joy arises from purity of the heart and perseverance in prayer.” When we go before God with a sincere heart seeking His intervention in our lives and the lives of others, we can surrender ourselves into His loving hands and trust in the promise that God will take care of everything for us. Intercessory prayer should never be seen as a ‘quick fix’ for our problems.

Fr Theodore explored a number of interesting points during the September 22 session entitled ‘Humility and Prayer.’ He explained that humility should not be seen as a depiction of our worthlessness since we’re all precious in God’s eyes.

He referred to humility as truth and we should therefore be open to acknowledging our gifts, talents, strengths, in addition to our weaknesses. Henri Nouwen said, “Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the Beloved.”

Fr Theodore emphasised that prayer plays an important role in a humble person’s life. “Prayer is in fact the recognition of our limits and our dependence: we come from God, we are of God, and to God we return” (St Pope John Paul II).

When we turn to God in prayer, it means that we acknowledge our limitations and are fully aware that we need God to help us through the difficult situations in our lives. God expects us to come before Him in prayer every day as we seek His mercy and consolation for ourselves and others.

The session October 6 was entitled ‘Turn From Your Wicked Ways’ and presented by Keith Patrick.

We are all sinners; therefore, every person has some form of unhealthy habit present in their lives. As sinners, God desires that we keep striving to become better versions of ourselves every day. It is important that intercessors root out all that is not of God from their lives, as they stand in the gap for others.

As Patrick did a thorough explanation of Luke 6:27–38 in which Jesus tells us how we are to love our enemies, participants were challenged to reflect on their everyday lives.

Are we willing to love those who have caused us tremendous pain in the past? Are we willing to reconcile with those whom we find it difficult to forgive?

“Faith in action is love, and love in action is service. By transforming that faith into living acts of love, we put ourselves in contact with God Himself, with Jesus our Lord” (St Teresa of Calcutta).