Communal Prayer

The Society of Publicans invites you to pray daily for the parishes and institutions of our Melkite Church in America—for the clergy, monastics, catechists and all the faithful—with the particular intention for the renewal of our spiritual life in Christ.

Mission of the Society of Publicans

Over the past quarter century our Church has grown and matured in many areas. We received a bishop, doubled the number of our parishes, established a seminary, monastery anfd convent, developed programs and publications, and deepened our awareness of our rightful spiritual heritage. All these are good, but too often our growth remains on the physical or intellectual level. For growth in the spirit, our church must depend on the Lord and approach Him eagerly in prayer. Without this foundation of dependence on the Lord in prayer, no spiritual work can hope to succeed. “unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it.” (Psalms 127:1)

In the conviction that prayer is essential to the spiritual renewal of our communities, the Society of Publicans was established in 1982. This prayer movement takes its name from the Lord’s story of the Pharissee and the Publican Luke 18:9-14 in which the Publican is the example of true prayer. This “society” is a loosely knit fellowship of people in parishes throughout the diocese who have committed themselves to pray on a daily basis for the spiritual renewal of our parishes and the entire eparchy.

Levels of Commitment

There are three levels of commitment in the Society of Publicans. In the first, people commit themselves as individuals to daily prayer for the spiritual renewal of our Church. On the day people pray for their own parish, we also ask that they remember the administration of the diocese as well. One may participate on only this level or, if one has the time and interest, become involved on one of the other levels.

No one particular prayer is necessary to participate in this prayer ministry: only the commitment to pray the best way you know how. Some people pray the Jesus Prayer, others use the spontaneous prayer or other forms with which they are comfortable. Still others incorporate these intentions into their regular intercessions. At the request of many people in the Society, the Prayers of Intercession are offered to provide a form of intercession harmonious with our Eastern prayer tradition.

Praying Together in the Parish

In the second level of commitment, Publicans in the parish may gather regularly for communal prayer to intercede for the intentions of the Society as well as for any needs people may have in mind in the parish. In some parishes people meet weekly or biweekly for the Divine Liturgy, the Paracisis, or an Intercession Service. In other places, the group meets ad hoc when a special intention is presented. In several of our parishes members of the Society have formed a prayer line in which intentions are brought to the members’ attention by a local coordinator as soon as that person learns of them. Still other parishes remember the prayer intentions of the society in their regularly scheduled services every Sunday or daily.

In some parishes we have only one person committed to this call for prayer. In some parishes there are many and they participate in telephone prayer chains as well. People call one another to ask for prayer, even long distance. In other parishes, people meet for common worship and prayer. And so, however members of individual communities pray, we know that their service has borne fruit.

You may participate on only the first level (daily personal prayer), or on the second level (attending community prayer services or participating in a prayer chain), or on the third level (serving as coordinator for your parish, enlisting others to pray daily and communicating intentions received).

Serving as a Coordinator

In some parishes members have accepted the third level of commitment: agreeing to serve as local coordinators, receiving intentions from the diocese or from other parishioners and making these intentions known to other Publicans.

If you have been praying individually and would like to help bring others in the parish to do the same, start by sharing a copy of this material with them. If they are willing to participate, send us their names and addresses and we will put them on our regular mailing list. If you feel you may be called to coordinate a prayer group in your parish, notify your pastor or the diocesan coordinator.