As you prepare to lead your congregation in worship, how do you incorporate prayer into the flow of the morning? In many churches, congregational prayer is woven through the liturgy. There are parts where the pastor/priest/director will say a particular part of a prayer and the congregation will respond or agree with what is being said by the leader.
There are other churches that rely on the inspiration of the person leading the prayer. These prayer times are organic, free, and full of expression that glorify the Lord.
Both of these styles are wonderful, and I believe that God is honored and blessed in the traditional and contemporary styles of prayer. For this post, I want to challenge you to think about this question…how do you lead your congregation in prayer during the worship service, or time of singing?
Prayer is one of the the most important ways we can communicate with God; however, many worship services will rely on the music and lyrics to be the only method of communication to the Lord by the congregation. Often, it is easy to sing 3-5 songs, and then look to the pastor for words of inspiration. Then, when the service is over, many people leave without ever expressing praise and adoration (along with surrender) to God.
Sometimes, we need some new ideas on how to incorporate prayer in the worship service. Here are three ways that I have utilized prayer as part of a worship set on a Sunday morning:
- Invite everyone to pray together. This method can be scary for people that want to be alone; however, as a church, I find it helpful for people to connect and pray together. I will ask everyone to think of a prayer request and share that request with someone near them. Then, we spend about 3-4 minutes praying for each other. At the end of the prayer time, I will lead us in a couple of worship songs. Many people have appreciated this time of prayer, and the worship service is more meaningful to the entire church.
- Coordinate special prayer services with other churches in your community. When you get together with other believers, you begin to see how God is working throughout the whole city. Often, we see things through the lens of the church that we attend. God is at work and making His name great…everywhere! Praying with other churches will inspire and encourage you and your congregation.
- Provide moments of prayer throughout the Sunday morning service AND throughout the week. You can create a prayer room or area for your team to meet and pray on a weekly basis (consistency is key). Talk with your senior pastor about ways to include prayer in the service. If you work with multiple staff members, talk about creative ways to include prayer in all the ministry areas of the church. The more we pray and seek God as a church, the greater He will become in and through us!
These are three ways I utilize prayer in the church. What about you? I would love to hear if you have any additional ideas on prayer in the worship service. Please share them with me by contacting me here.