mgpcpastor's blog

Public Prayer In Corporate Worship

2 Comments

Damien offered a response to my post on repentance in corporate worship.
A helpful resource for those leading prayer during corporate worship (especially churches whose worship follows some application of the dialogical principle, the concept of worship as covenant reaffirmation, God speaks, the people respond) is the Jan/Feb 2008 9Marks ejournal.

Articles include:
A Biblical Theology of Corporate Prayer (How corporate prayer is really a shadow and a type of the gospel itself.) By James M. Hamilton Jr. and Jonathan Leeman
Recommendations for Improving Public Prayer (A compelling case for why Scriptural prayers and planned prayers are best for the congregation.) By Terry L. Johnson and J. Ligon Duncan III
Corporate Aspects of the Lord’s Prayer (With the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray both with one another and for one another.) By Philip Graham Ryken
Thirty Two Principles for Public Prayer (Eighteen things not to do and fourteen things to do when praying publicly.) By J. Ligon Duncan III (following Samuel Miller)

A wonderful treatment of pastoral prayer can be found in The Pastor’s Public Ministry by Terry L. Johnson. A short (82pgs) monograph of a book, it’s well worth seeking out. You won’t find it in Australia. Monergism is one place you can get it.
The Reformers Bookshop would do well to get it in stock.

2 thoughts on “Public Prayer In Corporate Worship

  1. If you’ll pardon a passing comment from a most occasional visitor, it seems to me that the problem of how to address God in public prayer is resolved by a continuous combination of the following:
    – meditation on his sovereignty, justice and grace, all held in sweet harmony,
    – a study of Jesus’ instructions on prayer.
    – language prompted and given on-going direction by the Psalms,
    – a study of the public prayers in the Scriptures, for example, Daniel 9 and Nehemiah 9,
    – an awareness that what has exercising the heart of the one who prays, [“positively” or “negatively”] is probably exercising many others at the same time.

    Then, and only then, should one go to a helpful book, if one is still needed!!

    The big danger with books is that the nature of prayer is such that without a personalized aggregation of the points made above in the mind of the one praying,[and no doubt others, but I have tried to be concise] one may use excellent words, but will not really pray.

    • Graham ~
      Any comment you offer is welcome on this blog.
      The post to which you’ve responded seeks to offer resources that provide historical and theoretical background to the nature and practice of pastoral prayer in corporate worship, particularly with reference to the Presbyterian and Reformed heritage.
      The material I referenced above endorses and expands on your helpful advice as well as explaining our understanding of the distinctive dimensions of pastoral prayer in corporate worship.
      From your work on the Westminster Directory of Public Worship you’d be aware that many are not aware of Presbyterian concepts of pastoral prayer, particularly those who have come to our denomination from other backgrounds.
      If you have any further thoughts on the Directory’s concept of pastoral prayer (which I surmise have guided your thoughts above) I’d like to read them and if possible publish them here.

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