LONDON – The Church of England is inviting people to share their hopes and concerns through a new web-based prayer service that was launched to mark the start of Lent.
Prayers submitted to SayOneForMe.org during Lent will be offered to God by bishops during their own prayer times.
The website is the online version of traditional public prayer boards in cathedrals and churches and is inspired by the phrase "Say one for me," commonly shouted at priests by passers-by in the street.
"Whatever the initial intention of that yell in the street, underlying it is the fact that people feel a need to pray – especially during difficult times," said the Bishop of Dudley, the Rt. Rev. David Walker. "Our visits today and the new website are both simple ways for us to harness that desire and engage with people where they are.
"Of course, nobody needs a dog collar to be heard by God, but for many people, knowing that someone else is praying for us gives us the confidence to make our own prayers, and prayer is often the gateway to hope."
The prayers can be posted anonymously to the website, where they will be displayed so others can pray for them also. Those who request privacy will not have their prayers made public.
One individual submitted: "Father, Like so many people my future is uncertain. Help make clear to me the path you wish me to follow. Plwase (sic) guide the choices I make and help me to see the path clearly. I ask this in the name of your Son, who died for my sins."
While some focused on national or international issues, including the war in Afghanistan and the economy, in their prayers, many expressed concerns over personal matters, such as illnesses and money.
"I am facing employment uncertainty and even redundancy. My salary was miscalculated and I have recived (sic) no money this month. I can not pay my bills or rent if I buy food for my wife and son.Our life has hit the bottom of despair and there seems no end to our troubles. I have been remiss in my devotions to you but I ask that you give my family the strength and love to see us through our difficulties and beyond and guide us to your loving care forever," states another prayer.
Church of England Bishops took to the streets of towns and cities on Thursday to invite offers of prayers, which were later offered to God on their behalf at services.
Archbishop of York Dr. John Sentamu went out collecting prayers in York with clergy and two sisters, while Bishop of Manchester the Rt. Rev. Nigel McCulloch received prayers at the local Job Center in Moss Side.
The Bishops of Dudley, Birmingham and Leicester also met members of the public to receive their prayers.
The website will stay live until Easter Sunday, April 4.