Some thoughts on a decline in deep and focussed prayer as part of corporate worship from an article by Jesse Johnson at the Cripplegate blog.
Terry Johnson—who wrote When Grace Comes Alive and When Grace Comes Home (two books about theological prayers), points out that through church history, pastoral prayers have been a mark of healthy churches, but particularly during the Reformation. They are common today because they remain embodied (if neglected) in most liturgical churches.
By deep I mean that the prayer is profound. That it takes some truth of the Bible, or a pair of truths often in tension, and prays through their application. It causes to the congregational prayer to move past the sick list and the immediate, and instead strengthens our understanding of how we relate to God. Of all places, church is the place where people should be exposed to carefully crafted and deep prayers. It is helpful to know that the pool we are in has a deep end, and that it is ok to swim there.
By over/for/with I mean that the prayer draws in the congregation. It is done on their behalf, with them in mind. It exposes the pastor’s heart in a personal way, but beyond that it exposes the pastor’s care for his people. It gives them a window to the pastor’s prayer life, and to specifically how the pastor prays for them. It is with them, in that it draws them in, and they begin praying the same thoughts as well.
Read the whole post here.