The ministry of Prayer-Leading
One essential part of the gathering of God’s people is prayer (1 Tim 2:1). A person praying up-front is exercising leadership in their call for others to join them in prayer, and their modelling of prayer for those present.
All Christians should have a private prayer-life, but our corporate prayer expresses our unity as we pray in Christ’s name, and it allows us to build each other up as we pray for each other and our shared concerns.
God’s Spirit aids us when our prayers are weak (Rom 8), but that doesn’t mean our lack of seriousness or preparation should distract or confuse the prayers of those present.
We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.
Tips & Tricks
- Introduce your prayers if those present may not know about the topic, e.g. particular missionaries.
- Not everyone can pray fluently without writing out their prayers. If in doubt, write it out.
- Avoid praying word-for-word from prayer-letters and prayer-lists
- Borrow prayers or phrases from the Bible, a prayer-book, or other devotional sources to keep your prayers fresh.
- Use the Bible as a model for what to pray for people, ministries, and missions.
- Ring around or research online to gather relevant or personal prayer-points, but ask permission before using personal information.
- Use inclusive language – ‘we’, not ‘I’
- Use personal language – ‘you’, not ‘God’ in the 3rd person
- Avoid ‘preachy’ prayers – ‘I pray that we would all realise/remember that…’
Links and resources
Mark Ashton (ed. D. A. Carson)
There is a place for spontaneous prayer in services as well. But rarely is it as helpful to the whole congregation as well-led, well-constructed, carefully prepared, and biblically based praying. There may be problems of audibility with open prayer. It is more prone to being introverted and repetitive; and it is not possible to ensure that it is biblical, accessible, and balanced. But these may be minor considerations if spontaneous prayer allows the congregation to respond immediately to God’s leading through his Spirit and his Word.
D. A. Carson
What is both surprising and depressing is the sheer prayerlessness that characterizes so much of the Western church. It is surprising, because it is out of step with the Bible that portrays what Christian living should be; it is depressing, because it frequently coexists with abounding Christian activity that somehow seems hollow, frivolous, and superficial. Scarcely less disturbing is the enthusiastic praying in some circles that overflows with emotional release but is utterly uncontrolled by any thoughtful reflection on the prayers of Scripture.