Public Prayer

As of late Carl Trueman has become one of my favorite bloggers to read which is hosted over at Reformation 21.  I found his blog Another Thing We Do Badly yeterday particularly striking.  I have personally been in the presense of some bad prayer and some magificient prayer.  It was convicting and challenging as I get the opportunity to pray publicly somewhat frequently during the adult Sunday School class I lead.

In fact, pulpit prayer should be a vital part of the worship service.  It is at those moments that the pastor has the task of leading the people into the very presence of God.  This is an awe inspiring task, not to be undertaken lightly.  Such leading should be clear, suffused with biblical allusions and shaped by biblical thought patterns.  It should be built on the foundation of a solid grasp of the mediation of Christ and should reflect that in its content.

To listen to a lot of public prayer in churches is too often like listening in to a private quiet time — and that is not meant as a compliment.  The erosion of the boundary between public and private and the relentless march of the aesthetics of casualness have taken their toll here.  It seems that unless somebody prays in public precisely as we think they might do in private, we all fear that this might be a form of affectation which prevents the prayer from being `authentic’ — whatever that might mean.  Yet often there are people in the congregation on Sunday who have come from a week of pain, worry and confusion; they may be spiritually shattered; they might barely be able to string two words of a prayer together; and at this moment a good pastor can through a well-thought out and carefully expressed prayer draw their eyes heavenwards, lead them to the throne of grace and give them the words of adoration, confession, thanksgiving and intercession which they cannot find for themselves.

Read the rest here at Reformation 21.

Don’t forget the books that are linked as well to give us a healthy example.

Valley of Vision : A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

Pastor in Prayer by Charles Spurgeon

Pray the Bible by Matthew Henry

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