It’s not done much in our fellowship, but writing out a prayer to be spoken in public isn’t a bad idea.

I did that last Sunday in SJCampos, and here’s my translation:

We want to please you, and not the world;
We want to do your will, and not ours;
We want to speak divine truth, and not human opinion;
We want to work for the bread which comes down from heaven, and not the bread which perishes.
May it be so, through your Holy Spirit, in Christ Jesus.


Perhaps if we wrote out our prayers more, they might be more expressive, less rote, and even elicit an audible amen.

What do you think? (Comments box, below.)

9 thoughts on “Prayer: We Want

  1. I’m torn on the issue. On the one hand, it’s hard to imagine writing out a conversation to be had with a friend. On the other hand, even Jesus admitted saying things in prayers for the benefit of those listening.

  2. Like Tim Archer above, I am torn in similar ways. However, I know many men who have a bit of stage fright, and will take time to write out their prayer when they lead in public.

    When called upon at sister congregations to close a service with prayer, I have jotted down notes during the service, so that my prayer is effective to the specific group as we pray together.

    Lots to think about here.

  3. Really, what is the difference between a man who leads a public prayer that he has written down beforehand and a man who leads the exact same prayer each time he leads a public prayer (as many do)?

    Directing a congregation of the Lord’s people in prayer is a serious thing. To write down the things that are on our hearts ahead of time, to make sure we say what we want to express (but fear we couldn’t say as well “off the cuff”) seems like a good thing.

    There could be downsides to this (the perception of others; the possible tendency to lose sincerity in search of impressive words), but I think there are also great potential benefits.

  4. I thought I’d throw in a story about Peter Marshall, who was chaplain of the Senate years ago. Reporters asked him if he could provide them with an advance copy of the prayer he would lead in the Senate. He told them that was impossible, that the Holy Spirit moved him as he prayed to have the necessary words. One reporter asked, “Can’t the Holy Spirit move you a day ahead of time?”

  5. Brethren,
    Great point to bring up. During a men’s training class, the subject was leading the congregation in prayer.
    The brother conducting the class asked, ‘When you men were courting your wives, did you not write any love letters to her?’. Were you sincere, and thoughtful in what you wanted to say to her? Were your thoughts written down on paper not from your heart?’
    Leading public prayer is a serious responsibilty. As long as we are endeavoring to lead our brethren in prayer to God, seeking to worship, and thank Him for all he has provided to us, and asking His guidance, why would he not be pleased?
    Some men (myself included) are better prepared by at least using an outline. I have known of gospel preachers that never used notes, (Bro N.B Hardeman, Gus Nichols, James Watkins) and others who use an outline. It helps them organize their thoughts they wish to express.

    Just my thoughts on the subject, whatever it’s worth…..


  6. I’m pretty much where Corey is on this. Check the prayer above. It’s simple, short, avoids flowerly langauge, isn’t anybody else’s prayer but mine, but was written ahead of time to express precisely the thoughts I wanted, so the hearers could say amen to an incisive request of the Lord, at the end of our assembly. The Lord is our audience, whether we be preaching or praying. Seems to me if we can prepare a sermon beforehand, with a manuscript or outline, a written prayer would be just as appropriate.

  7. if it were to stop the practice some have of the constant repitition of certain words, such as “Father” every sentence – I know one man who starts each sentence of a prayer and ends the sentence with “Father” – it has to be a good thing to write a prayer out in advance.

  8. Hi, Pete, thanks for the comment. A brother here that I know also prays “My Father” in every breath he takes, and it’s distracting. It’s a nervous sign, likely. He’d do well also to write out his prayer.

  9. It seems there are several times where Paul writes down his prayers and mails them to be read by others out loud who read the mail.

What do you think?