Church Worship Services Need to Recapture the Pastoral Prayer
In the past few years, I have given a clear and consistent call to bring prayer back into public worship services in the church. I want to lift up a specific and significant way to do this today.
We Need to Recapture the Pastoral Prayer
Prayer led by the pastor of the church used to be a normal part of worship services. What was deemed in the past as a part of public worship, has now been minimized, eliminated, or delegated. This is not acceptable or good for the church.
There are several examples in the Scriptures where spiritual leaders called out to God in prayer before the people of God. Their prayers were passionate, from the heart, and meaningful. Prayers offered by the pastor of the church during worship services should be the same way.
When Pastors Pray in Public Worship Services
Prayer by the pastor should be one of the highest moments in public worship services. As the spiritual leader of the church, the pastor is standing in the gap, calling out to God in prayer for the church. This moment of public intercession can be absolutely powerful.
I would like to suggest these things for consideration:
The pastor needs to set the context for this prayer moment. He can do this before or after asking the congregation to bow their heads, preparing to pray. Setting the stage for this moment needs to be an important part of worship planning.
The timing for the pastoral prayer is very important. Personally, I like to set it just before the offering is received, prior to the final song before the message. Many times, the previous song can help me set the context and the moment. Not only is the timing important, but the amount of time allocated for the prayer is important. Allocate enough time for a four to five-minute prayer led by the pastor. Having latitude to follow the Spirit of God is key in any worship service. If we are not careful, we are going to schedule God right out of our public worship services in the church.
Teach your people how to agree in prayer with you. As pastor, they need to be engaged with you while you are praying. They do not need to just be listening in, but involved with you in prayer. They can agree with you verbally while you pray. As we turn the church house into a house of prayer for the nations, people need to become involved as you pray.
Click here to read more.
Dr. Ronnie Floyd is Senior Pastor of Cross Church and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Follow him on Twitter @ronniefloyd.