Notes and quotes from the 9Marks Journal – Corporate Prayer.
1. Christians used to take greater care in their prayers. We need to again.
2. If you are leading in prayer, pray “We” not “I”, because you are representing yourself and all those other people before the Lord.
3. “The pastoral prayer is important for showing ourselves and others that the church is not doing what we appear to be doing, but that all this is God’s work. Ultimately, everything that we do is dependent upon God and his grace, his mercy, his action.”
4. Why do people pray to God? Because they believe that He is mighty to save, able to change the course of events, and willing to respond to the prayers of His people.
5. God has always intended for His people to pray for His glory and their good.
6. In corporate prayer we are to listen intently to the person leading prayer, while repeating to God, “Yes, yes, that person speaks for me and all those around me.”
7. “Corporate prayer…requires the church to agree to be without division, to be of the same mind and judgment. It’s one way the church “stands firm in one spirit: and “with one mind strives side by side for the faith”.”
8. To approach the task of praying on behalf of others is something Christians should approach slowly and reverently.
9. “One of the most essential excellencies in public prayer, and that which I feel constrained first of all, and above all to recommend is, that it abound in the language of the word of God.” (Samuel Miller)
10. The language of Scripture provides the language for prayer.
11. “No prayers more accurately reflect the will of God than those which use the language which God Himself puts into our mouths. No request is more sure to be granted than that which expresses what God Himself has promised to fulfil. No petition is more sure to be answered than that which pleads for that which God already commands.”
12. Why were the previous generations of evangelicals more biblically literate that ours? One reason is because there was more Bible content in their services than there is in ours. “The word preached and the word prayed and the word sung were constantly reinforcing each other.”
13. “We recommend for the improvement of public prayers that they should be planned.”
14. You wouldn’t preach without preparation, so why do you lead prays in the worship service without preparation? “The young minister should no more venture into the pulpit with an impromptu prayer, than with an impromptu sermon.”
15. “Many of our pastoral prayers are a maze of poorly thought out, confusing cliches, hackneyed expressions, shallow constructions, and formalized, impersonal ramblings.” (William Willimon)
16. Use an outline, even write out your prayers, but not in order to read, but to organise your thoughts. “It is studied prayer, not read prayer that we are advocating here.”
17. Wise Christians have never been satisfied to worship only once a week. They have always gathered during the week for prayer.
18. “Since the Lord’s Prayer is a family prayer, we not only pray with one another, we also pray for one another.”
19. During our public worship every Biblical element of prayer (such as adoration, confession, thanksgiving, petition, and intercession) should be employed.
20. “Long prayers are for the closet.”
21. What are the characteristics of a good public prayer? a) It should abound in the language of Scripture; b) It should be well-ordered; c) It should be general and comprehensive; d) It should not be too wordy or lengthy; e) It ought to contain a good dose of gospel truth; f) It should manifest variety; g) It should contain petition for the advance of the gospel.
22. Employ the names of the Lord in various parts of the prayer. Change the title used from one segment of prayer to another.
23. “Prayer is how God’s people respond to him in thankfulness and praise. Prayer is how God’s people cry out to him for mercy and deliverance. Prayer is how God’s people call upon him to accomplish the work of his kingdom. In short, prayer is how we actively demonstrate our utter dependence on him. It honours him as the source of all blessing.”
24. Throughout history we’ve seen God’s work to be particularly active when his people have faithfully prayed together.
25. “Praying together has a natural tendency to draw people closer.”
26. “Concerning a prayer’s genuineness, I don’t think there’s any reason to say that something that is spontaneous is somehow more genuine than something that’s been carefully reflected upon and considered.”
27. Pray the prayers of Scripture. Pray the commands of Scripture. Pray the “ambitions” of Scripture. Pray the promises of Scripture.
28. Pray through the church membership directory one page a day. Ask people how you can pray for them as you have occasion. And then let them know that you have prayed for them.
29. “As you move into intercessions, plead for the sanctification of your people, let them hear compassion and urgency in your voice as you pray that the ideals of the Christian life might be realised in their lives. They need to hear you praying week after week that they might be holy even as God is holy, that they might be imitators of God as beloved children, and walk in love, and conformed to the image of Christ, bearing the fruit of Spirit. Let them hear you pleading that they’ll not love the world nor the things of the world, and that they’ll not be seduced by the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life.”
30. Pray for the 1) civil authorities; 2) the Christian ministry (Mt 9:36-38) (1 Tim 2:1,2); 3); the salvation of all men (1 Tim 2:1,3-4); and 4) the afflicted (2 Cor 1:3,4,11; Jas 5:13-18).