Keep them short. A good rule of thumb is a maximum of 500 words (not including the concluding collect).
Prayer is offered with intercession for:
A consistent structure is extremely helpful. Each prayer should include a call and response that can be as creative as you like but should be brief and consistent throughout a particular set of prayers (e.g., “Lord, in your mercy,” / “Hear our prayer.” or “Holy God, holy and mighty, holy immortal one,” / “Have mercy on us.”) Consistency matters because it’s easier the people to follow, and also possible to print just the call and response in the bulletin instead of the full text of the prayers. It’s also possible to write prayers that involve more varied congregational participation (e.g., Forms 3 and 6, BCP pp. 387 and 392 respectively), but that means the full text has to be included in the bulletin.
A concluding collect for the celebrant to offer at the end. (See http://anglicanpastor.com/the-collects/.)
These are appropriate types of prayer:
These are NOT appropriate types of prayer:
Don’t be cutesie (e.g., “O Lord, this whole big ole world of yours, the big blue ball: Weejus ask that ya give it all a big hug and bless the bunnies and even those goofy lookin’ critters outside our windows.”)
A lot of short prayers are better than a handful of wordy prayers, especially when they get preachy.
Address prayers to God (the one triune God, e.g., “God” or “Holy One”), or to one and only one person of the Trinity (Father, Son, or Holy Spirit, and normally Father). It’s then possible to refer to the others, but don’t switch around (e.g., Bad: “Almighty Father, we thank you for your sacrifice on the cross.”; Good: “… who with you, the Son, and the Holy Spirit live and reign forever and ever.”) Don’t address the congregation in a prayer that’s properly addressed to God (e.g., Bad: “We ask your prayers for …”; Good: “We pray for …”)
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