Initial Instructions
For a Prayer Chain.
A prayer chain is a way for people to gain assistance in prayer for any serious and pressing problem. It is also a way for any person to act on God's command to love one another (John 13:34-35). Many people cannot engage directly in ministry but we can all pray. Many are older or ill themselves but can take the time to help others and to make their time and suffering valuable. Prayer is a way for us to reach out of ourselves, to put aside our loneliness and pain for the sake of another. Jesus teaches us that if we agree on anything and ask in faith it will be granted (Matthew 18:19). "I tell you, ask and you will receive..." (Luke 11:9, Matt. 7:7). (The pastor can affirm from personal experience that the prayers of those who are sick, suffering, or oppressed can be very powerful.)

CCC "2635 Since Abraham, intercession - asking on behalf of another has been characteristic of a heart attuned to God's mercy. In the age of the Church, Christian intercession participates in Christ's, as an expression of the communion of saints. In intercession, he who prays looks "not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others," even to the point of praying for those who do him harm." See Prayer of Intercession.

Announce the formation of the prayer chain to your parish or group after receiving your leadership's permission. Pray for a positive response. Have volunteers sign up and give their phone number and perhaps email addresses. Make a list of the volunteers for each member of the prayer chain and distribute it to all members with these instructions (modified as needed for your situation). Announce the names and numbers of one or two people who will receive the prayer intentions and pass them on to prayer volunteers.


"1. The prayer chain always starts at the top and works down to the bottom.


2. If you reach an answering machine, leave a message, then call the next person on the list.


3. If you reach a spouse, child or other family member, leave a message and call the next person on the list.


4. The last person on the list will call the first person to ensure that the message has reached all and that the chain is not broken. If unable to reach her/him, call the next person on the list.


5. If someone in the middle of the list gets a prayer request, please call the first person so that the complete routine can be followed.


6. If anyone prefers to use e-mail, [NAME] will take care of those at this time. If anyone else would like to volunteer to do that, please contact [NAME].


7. When contacted for prayer, it is each person's responsibility to do two things:

1) pray for the intention requested
2) pass the prayer request on to the next person.

9. Please keep all prayers involving personal matters in complete confidence. If you feel compelled to include others, not on the chain, in your prayer request, keep it nonspecific. (For example: Please pray for a special intention for Pat.)


10. If you would like, you can at any time link with other prayer chains for a particular need. The first person on the list will simply call the first person on their list as well, if requested.

Remember, there are many ways to pray:
formal prayers learned through the church,
scripture reading and meditation,
offering up pain and suffering with a willing heart,
fasting, abstaining, self-denial,
listening to God in your heart,
meditation in nature,
original prayers from the heart,
church attendance,
and so many more. [For more ideas see Awaken to Prayer].
The goal is always to connect with God."

This list of instructions was prepared by our Deacon's wife for use at Sacred Heart Church. Any commercial use is prohibited. To see a list of all the web pages we have posted, visit our site map or index.
 Pope John Paul II indicates that people sometimes say they don't know how to pray. "How to pray? This is a simple matter. I would say: Pray any way you like, so long as you do pray." You can pray the way your mother taught you; you can use a prayer book. Sometimes it takes courage to pray; but it is possible to pray, and necessary to pray. Whether from memory or a book or just in thought, it is all the same. See, John Paul II, The Way of Prayer, Crossroad Publishing Co. (1995). See also The Necessity of Prayer, by St. Alphonsus. 


About Short Prayer, Invocations - Short Prayers, A Short Catechism on Prayer
About Basic Catholic Prayers, The Rosary
A good discussion on prayer in the Catechism of the Catholic Church is found at In the Fullness of Time.
For those who may have experience problems with prayer and little success see Filial Trust.

"Do not be troubled if you do not immediately receive from God what you ask him; for he desires to do something even greater for you, while you cling to him in prayer." Ponticus. "God wills that our desire should be exercised in prayer, that we may be able to receive what he is prepared to give." St. Augustine. Nevetheless, if what we seek is in harmoney with God, then we should seek it faithfully and persistently (Luke 18:1-8) until we are sure God has decided in his wisdom to grant something else. "[P]ray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful." James 5:16.


CCC "2610 Just as Jesus prays to the Father and gives thanks before receiving his gifts, so he teaches us filial boldness: "Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will." Such is the power of prayer and of faith that does not doubt: "all things are possible to him who believes." Jesus is as saddened by the "lack of faith" of his own neighbors and the "little faith" of his own disciples as he is struck with admiration at the great faith of the Roman centurion and the Canaanite woman.

CCC 2611 The prayer of faith consists not only in saying "Lord, Lord," but in disposing the heart to do the will of the Father. Jesus calls his disciples to bring into their prayer this concern for cooperating with the divine plan."

Additional prayer advise and online requests can be made at Flame Ministries.
Organizing a Prayer Chain from the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

"CCC" means the Catechism of the Catholic Church. You can search the index or look at the table of contents.