Have you ever been asked to lead a prayer, out loud, in public? Were you prepared?
To assist you in "building a prayer" for the next opportunity, I'd like to share the following tips.
First of all, whenever you pray, remember three things:
- Be “you.” Be authentic and reflect your own faith journey.
- The Holy Spirit works in and through you, enabling you to pray.
- Reflect on the common beliefs you share with those around you, such as the primary tenets of your faith: The cross, a trinitarian God and God’s constant abiding presence.
Second, remember some of the purposes of prayer:
- To invoke God’s presence, or better, our awareness that he is with us.
- To focus a group of people or an activity in a prayerful way.
- To remind the group that the Holy Spirit is working in, through and among us.
As you add the content to your prayer, the ACTS acronym can help you remember key points.
Words of adoration and praise to God. For example, “Good and gracious God, we praise you for your goodness and your love.”
Words that express our need for God, or that our needs are the purpose of the meeting. For example, “As we gather to accomplish this goal, we need your wisdom because we don’t have all the answers.”
Words of gratitude. For example, “We thank you for the gift of this day, this place and the people gathered here.”
Words that express our needs or concerns. Name specifically what the group is hoping to accomplish, and invoke God’s help. Remember the prayer needs of those in the group that are common knowledge or that you have permission to name.
The To/From/For What structure is another model. Click the tabs for more.
Begin with a name for God: Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Creator, Savior.
Name the group and use adjectives that describe your understanding or relationship with God: sons, daughters, servants, brothers, sisters, children – frightened, joyful, angry, grateful, confused.
Name the purpose or task of the get-together, and lift that up to God.
What I share here is not comprehensive, and it’s not the last word. My prayer for you is that you will be blessed and you will recognize that you are a blessing to others when you pray!