Our Corporate Prayers
Prayer is an area we can all learn to grow in as we develop a more robust prayer life. There are some great differences between praying individually and praying corporately. At the eve of another new year, I want to focus our attention on the topic of prayer and some avenues that may help us to grow in this spiritual discipline.
The Prayer Meeting. As we look forward to 2019 in just a couple of days, many people are setting goals for new habits and making resolutions to improve their lives. I encourage you to make efforts to re-organize your life and your schedule so that you might be able to better take advantage of the ministry of the church. Try to make efforts to attend Sunday School, Evening Worship, and our mid-week prayer meeting. Beginning January 2nd I am going to take a few minutes after the prayer meeting has ended each week to discuss the ideas from the booklet, “How to Pray at Prayer Meetings.” Because our primary focus is prayer, this will be for 5-10 minutes following our prayer time for those who desire to stay.
The Pastoral Prayer. Every so often I try to clean up and consolidate our prayer page in the bulletin. The new year is a good time to do that. Please help me by looking at the sections that have names of people listed in the bulletin and give me any updates that you may have. We want to make sure that we are praying for all of those who have needs, but if there are some names that should be removed please let me know.
Also beginning this Sunday I will not be naming each individual by name in the corporate pastoral prayer. This includes the sections with our members, our civil leaders, and our friends and family. The prayer page is a tool for you to take with you and use in your personal prayers throughout the week, but I do want to focus on the differences between corporate and personal prayer more.
Ryan M. McGraw in the booklet, How to Pray at Prayer Meetings writes, “We can sometimes act superstitiously when we assume that we need a list of names for which to pray that includes every individual who concerns us. Being specific is important in private prayer, but being too specific can become distracting in public prayer. The Lord knows the names of those who are on our hearts. He can hear corporate prayer for lost people and other needs whether or not others know all the these names. This does not men that we should never pray for people by name, but we must be sparing in doing so. It is more profitable to do so only when specific names add to the substance of the prayer meeting and promote the efficacy of our prayers together. Praying for expectant mothers and those recently committed to hospitals can be a great encouragement that tightens the bonds of fellowship among the saints. Yet trying to list the needs of everyone that the group knows becomes both time-consuming and tedious.” (pages 9, 10) McGraw’s thoughts apply to corporate worship as well.
As we enter into 2019 I pray that God would bless you and your family as we seek to love God and each other more. Let us spend some time in our private prayers over the next few days counting the many blessings we have been given in this past year. As we each go to the Lord in prayer looking at how we have been blessed, that is a great time to name those blessings one by one.