The ABCc of Corporate prayer

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A practical encouragement from Pastor Kyle on praying in the gathering. This piece was originally published in the July 11th ITC bulletin. 

One of the reasons we’ve been so eager to gather in a single service is so that we might all benefit, learn, and grow together as we pray together. Corporate prayer has been a big part of our evening services for the past couple of years. But now, we’ll have many opportunities on Sunday mornings to join our hearts together in prayer.

We will often pray together by inviting any member of our church to go to a microphone (located throughout the room) to offer a prayer. But in preparation for those times, we thought it might help to give some direction and encouragement. Many times I’ve talked with people who feel unsure about how to pray publicly. Although they have a deep desire to pray, they also want to do it in a way that’s helpful and edifying for the body.

So, I thought today would be a good day to give you a quick encouragement for praying in our services. It’s as easy as ABCC:

Audible. We pray publicly so all can join in and make another’s prayer their own. This practice allows us to “Amen” a prayer with our mouth (or, at least, our heart). For this to happen, we all need to be able to hear the prayers. So, although we use microphones to help, you can serve the body by speaking a little more loudly and clearly than you might otherwise. And we’ll try to say “Amen” clearly when you’re done!

Biblical. Certainly, we want to pray consistently with the truths of God’s word. But also, using scripture in corporate prayer can be one of the most edifying ways to pray with others, especially when you’re not quite sure what to pray. We have watched God grow this tremendously in our prayer times as elders. Believers never tire of hearing the promises and purposes of God’s word applied to their lives in prayer.

Concise.  To benefit from the prayers of the body, we want to create as much space for others to offer prayers as we can. Typically, we will allot a portion of the service (say, the length of a song or two) to corporate prayer. If we all intentionally pray more brief prayers, it will allow us to hear from and be blessed by more of our members during this time.

Corporate. Okay, this is a bonus “C.” I include it because we can too easily fall into the patterns we use when we pray privately as Christians each day. In private prayers, we pray about our individual and personal concerns. We use the language of “me” and “my.” But in corporate prayer, we pray about the concerns of the whole body. So, it might be more helpful during these times to use the language of “us” and “our.”

We’re excited to join in prayer together during our worship gathering. And we’d love for you to pray. So, if you’re a little hesitant, remember the ABCC’s of corporate prayer.