I Am Looking For Tips On How To Pray Well In Public

I get the opportunity to pray in public often.  In my Sunday School class I usually do the opening and closing prayer.  In the Sunday morning worship service I get to do the offertory prayer every couple weeks and I sometimes get to do the closing prayer.  In my junior youth discipleship class I do the majority of the public prayers (although I always ask the young people to do this I seldom have any volunteers).

My concern is that I am not very good at praying in public.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not afraid to do it and would not consider turning down the opportunity to do so (unless there was some extreme extenuating circumstance).  I would like to get better at praying in public.  I hear some people who are so great at it that it makes me self-conscience about my inabilities.  I know that praying does not have to eloquent but in a corporate setting the ability to pray well can lift the congregation and help set the appropriate mood (for lack of a better word) for worship.

So, I am asking for any tips you might have.  What do you do?  Do you prepare prayers ahead of time?  Do you attempt to follow some type of outline (like ACTS) in your public prayers?  Do you practice?  Lets here what you do and maybe we can learn from each other.

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15 Responses to I Am Looking For Tips On How To Pray Well In Public

  1. bshelley says:

    Great question. The best preparation for public prayer is private prayer. Puffed up and wordy public prayers are no substitute for the heart-felt prayers of a man who has a solid prayer life outside the assembly. It is very easy to spot someone who does not have a deep prayer life privately when they attempt to pray publically. They may have some big church-words, but there is no spiritual depth that comes from an ongoing dialog with the Father.

    Granted, public prayer is a bit different because you are praying as a representative of the assembled church. Just like a prayer for the sick list is not appropriate at meal time, neither is a wordy prayer intentioned to impress others appropriate as a public prayer. Stick to the business at hand. If you are praying to open an assembly, ask God’s blessing on it and for those lifting up worship or teaching to be focused on the task. If you are praying for dismissal, pray that God bless each one as they leave and place on their heart a need to be obedient to His calling as they go forth. Pray they would be a blessing in their home, work and community this week.

    Pray that the Spirit will help give you words appropriate to the occasion always. Try not to read prewritten prayers. That is very hard to pull off and is unnecessary for the man of God who wears out the knees of his pants in prayer. Don’t forget who the audience of your prayer is. God bless you for wanting to lead worthy of the calling. Bryan

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  2. Tom says:

    bshelley,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and taking time to comment. Thanks also for the tips.

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  3. Jesse says:

    I really wish we could just move to the Lord’s Prayer for all public prayer. Actually, I really, really wish we would just follow Matt. 6:5-6…

    5″And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

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  4. Tom says:

    Jesse,

    That is my concern with my own attempts to pray in public. I don’t want to be the hypocrite who prays in such a way as to get praised for his ability to pray. I want to do it in a way that will glorify God and edify the body.

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  5. Jesse says:

    I think your approach ought to be short and to the point. I feel your pain because I am a pretty good public speaker in most settings, but a terrible public prayer. I think it is because I feel the pressure of having the pastor there when I do it (board meetings usually). I have to remind myself that the point of the prayer is to honor God not to honor myself.

    I try to be brief and make a “thank you sandwich” — thank Him for bring you all there safely, ask Him to bless the activity you are gathering for, thank Him for the opportunity to participate in the activity and the ability to give money / study the Bible/ have a church to meet in etc. Lastly I try to acknowledge all things come from Him. Takes about 20 seconds at the most – been teased about my short prayers, but really, I feel like if I try to do more I would be doing it to show off or perform.

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  6. Linda Lorah says:

    It was interesting to me to read the responses to your blog. I think a lot of people give this questions some thought. I would suggest a couple of things: First – be inclusive, since this is a public prayer, help people feel a part of this conversation with God, that includes using “inclusive’ language, don’t assume that “he” or “men includes women too; it doesn’t. Talk about ordinary things for which you and they are grateful. Call people for whom you are praying by name, there’s nothing quite hearing a loved one who is being prayed for, called by name.
    Your heart is in the right place; I am sure you touch people all of the time when you pray.

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  7. When reading the NT is there any record of anyone praying in public. Jesus said to pray in secret that you might be rewarded openly, It is one of those things the church does when Jesus said not to do it. and their are many more things to examine in the church that are against the word of God, such as going with the message in the way of the gentiles by sending missionaries out to convert gentile. Some have the motto “Have you witnessed today to a sinner” or “Save a soul for Jesus” We need to review what we do and see if we are aligned with the word of God.

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  8. foluke says:

    I recommend ASK ASK
    Adore him
    State what you want, need,
    Keep it simple then
    Accept his will
    Say thank you
    Keep it real

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  9. The best praying you can deliver is to pray first to the Heavenly Father to give you the strength, courage and confidence to go out among many to deliver prayer and if sincere about what you do and believe in, your prayers will be better and heart felt thus received as. Go forth and mean it from your heart and the God will do the rest😊

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  10. Denise Perkins says:

    Always start of in worship exalt Him on high acknowledge all that He is to us appreciate his gifts his mercy his love and unfailing promise in our lives then seek forgiveness from Him acknowledging our failings in life because we come to Him with fault everyday then press on the prayer for that moment asking of your need… Bless you for being Bold and reaching out for an answer to a very real question that has affected me also and often times I have little gaps where I lose that concentration hey we are not perfect…Amen

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  11. Denise Perkins says:

    oops your question was back in 2008…funny

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  12. Greg Jensen says:

    I too am nervous about public prayer. I am able to pray in front of my family but haven’t prayed in front of church. I am active in church helping with communion and the offering. When i pray alone i ask for god to help me be better at prayer. God Bless you all ! Greg

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