Pastors, deacons, and other Christian leaders often have to privilege of leading others in prayer in a worship service, Bible study, or similar gathering. Here are six suggestions to help you pray more effectively in public.
- Prepare. Prayers don’t have to be spontaneous to be meaningful. Feel free to write down some notes or focus your mind for few minutes before hand so that you will feel more at ease.
- Don’t apologize. Nervousness or humility can lead some people to start their prayer out with an apology. Leave it up to the congregation to decide if they are sorry that you were asked to lead in prayer; don’t make their mind up for them.
- Match the mood of the service. Different services have different tones. Some services are energetic and upbeat while others are more somber and reflective. If you violate this principle you may make people wonder if you have been attention to the rest of the service.
- Pray for the benefit of other. Leading others in public prayer is not the same as praying by yourself. Share enough details to draw the congregation in, but not enough to embarrass yourself or the people listening to you.
- Don’t editorialize. Public prayer is not the place to air your negative thoughts or opinions on the sermon, the church, or other church leaders. Instead, concentrate on lifting others up and leading them into the presence of God.
- Keep it relatively brief. You will not wear God out, but you might wear the congregation if you choose to drag on with long-winded prayer. If this suggestion doesn’t make sense, review the previous suggestions till it does.
This is not an exhaustive list. What would you add to it to help other pray more effectively in public?