Suggestions for a way to pray in public, and especially for prayer in Sunday and home groups — to get more involved and attached.
Because so many group prayer times are really request times, with little time left to pray….
Because so many group prayer times are only about “surgeries and accidents”…..
Because sometimes one or two people pray long prayers in group prayers, inhibiting others …..
Crucial for this to work well: there is a leader who moderates the whole prayer time, instructing as needed, and modeling what a short prayer is!
Praise/ Repent (and about character)/ Ask/ Yield
The leader calls for people to express a sentence of praise-worship directly to God, and he or she models this by offering the first praise, perhaps adding, “Please hear us now as we worship You or thank You for who You are.”
When possible, it is healthy to have people stand up for this. This may be a form of respect, but it also calls attention to this effort.
Usually people participate easily and heartily. The leader might pray a second or third time, just to show that is fine and to help this concert of prayer keep moving.
Then, at the appropriate time (yes the leader watches the clock) or before praying dies down, the leader calls for next section.
The leader calls people to pray in confession or repentance: “Please pray now in confession before God – not out loud, but in your heart.
Confess any known sins, and pray for your character and spirit.”
This is not a long time, for most people will go immediately to a need in their own hearts.
The leader then thanks God out loud for His mercy and grace to forgive and to cleanse us.
Then, ask the people to form groups of four or five, still standing to begin the Ask segment:
“Please do not pray in any order, or around the circle. No one has to pray out loud. But someone begin by praying for ‘something you are worried about,’ and then someone else ‘back that up’ with a short prayer for God to answer that person.”
You may be surprised by these: how easily people do this and how well it goes; how everyone is worried about something and at ease to pray about it in front of just a few; and how some still want to give a request and explain it before they pray!
Then, before silence or time allotted is up, the leader leads again:
The leader prays a prayer related to what you are all going to study, and saying that all want to obey that; or leads a quiet song that honors the Lord, and all join in; or reads a verse on the theme of the day and prays for strength for all to obey that. Then AMEN.