Friday, March 19, 2010

Pastoral prayer

Kevin DeYoung offers "Thirteen Tips for Leading the Congregation in Prayer." As one who is ordinarily praying with, rather than leading, these below particularly caught my attention, but all of them are good advice.
3. Pray Scripture. Don’t just ask God for what we want. Let him teach us what we should want.

5. Leave the preaching for the sermon. Don’t exhort. Don’t explain texts. Don’t unpack complex theology. Spurgeon again: “Long prayers either consist of repetitions, or else of unnecessary explanations which God does not require....”

8. Keep it relatively brief. Better to be too short than too long. Five minutes is plenty in most North American churches. Seven to ten minutes is possible if you are experienced and have trained your people well.

9. Remember you are praying with and on behalf of others. Use “we” and “our” (like in the Lord’s Prayer). This is not the time to confess your personal sins or recount your personal experiences.

11. Beware of verbal ticks. For example: popping your p’s, smacking your lips, sighing, ums, mindless repetition of the divine name, unnecessary use of the word “just” and “like,” an over-reliance on the phrase “we pray” or “we would pray” instead of simply praying.

12. Show proper reverence, confidence, and emotion. Pray like you mean it, like God is God, and as if he really hears us. .... [more]
Thirteen Tips for Leading the Congregation in Prayer – Kevin DeYoung