The scriptures urge us to pray when we meet together. Paul urges Timothy that “supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made” as part of how we are to behave in the household of God (1 Tim 2.1, 3.15), and calls the Thessalonian church to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). However, we shouldn't be anxious about praying - our Father knows what we need (Matt. 6:32) and we can come before him with confidence because he loves us (Jn 16:26-27).
- Frequency: Prayer volunteers are generally put on the roster
every 6 weeks at most
- In advance: at least 20 minutes of preparation before coming
- Before the service: Those leading in prayer are invited to join the other up-front contributors to pray for the service 15 minutes before the start time.
What does a win look like?
- We have prayed for “all people”, for “kings
and all who are in authority” (1 Tim. 2:1-2) and for the sick
- We have prayed for our own church and the wider Christian
church, particularly our linked ministries
- We have prayed for our local community
- We have prayed corporately (in a way that everyone can say
Keys to winning
- Because we pray together, the form should always be “we
praise you”, “we thank you”, “we
- Don't forget to say “amen”
at the end, so that everyone else can too.
- You will receive with the run
sheet the linked ministry prayer points for the week, which you
should include in your prayers. NB The prayer points you receive are a guide for composing your prayers, not a paragraph to read out verbatim. Feel free to focus on some points in particular and to leave out others as you see fit.
- It can be good to divide your prayer into sections. But if you have in mind for the congregation to say something together at the end of each section (other than "amen"), and it's not indicated on the service sheet, you need to explain it clearly at the beginning.
- The prayer book collects are good
examples of corporate prayer, albeit in dated language. In
particular their structure is often helpful:
- address to God (‘Gracious
God’ or ‘Heavenly Father’, but not “dear
God” which is a letter form)
- something about God that is
relevant to the prayer (eg. ‘We know you rule all the nations
of the world, and no corner of the earth is beyond your reach’)
- the need (eg. ‘we live in
a world where many rulers oppress rather than serve etc’),
including appropriate specific details.
- the actual request (eg. ‘please
bring justice and peace’)
- the basis of the prayer (eg.
‘through Jesus Christ, who is the prince of peace’)
- Sometimes the run sheet indicates prayers “based on the
Lord's prayer”. This means the congregation will not be
saying the Lord's prayer together and you should intersperse
particular prayer points between lines of the Lord's prayer, for
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
We honour you as the one above all, who created us and
deserves our obedience. [...]
Your kingdom come, your will be
done on earth as in heaven
We look forward to the day when
Jesus comes in glory; as we wait, please build many people
our area into your kingdom and lead us to obey you in everything
- If the service has the Lord's prayer straight after the
general prayers, it is usually appropriate for you to lead the
Lord's prayer – liaise with the service leader about this.
- Sometimes in a service that includes the Lord's Supper the
run sheet will indicate that we're using a “prayers of the
people” structure, where the prayers are led in distinct
sections that each end with a set congregational response:
Let us pray for all people and for the
Church throughout the world.
At the end of each section:
hear our prayer,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
the end of the prayers:
our prayers through Jesus Christ our Lord, who taught us to pray:
Father in heaven...
- The traditional structure for the
sections of “prayers of the people” is as follows. This structure or a similar one can be useful at other times too.
- Prayer for the church - This
prayer includes prayer for church from its worldwide level to the
local level. In the prayer book, it included prayer for church
leaders, especially the Bishop and Rector of the local church.
- Prayer for all people - This
includes prayer for the world and its troubles, and especially for
those in positions of authority.
- Prayer for the community - This
includes prayer for wider society at a local level, i.e. for the
neighbourhood, local families, etc.
- Prayer for those in need - This
includes prayer for the sick and all who are suffering.
- Thanksgiving for the faithful
departed - This is a prayer of thanks for any Christians who have
died, and that we would follow their good example of faith.