Dangerous Prayers

As I reflect on my pastoral prayers in worship, I must confess some wrongs I have committed in the past. Great is the temptation to keep making them.

Smuggling prayers. If I didn't make a point very well in the sermon, I am tempted to take one more stab at it in the prayer. Sentences beginning "Teach us that … " are probably not voicing what is on the hearts of the people. I must learn to leave the preaching to the sermon.

Systematic theology prayers. We Presbyterians are particularly bad at this. We can't offer a blessing without explaining the doctrine of the Trinity. There is certainly a place in worship for helping the congregation to get the theology right, but prayer isn't that place. I'm learning to avoid the prolegomena and jump right into the truth telling.

Partisan prayers. Every congregation confronts issues about which there are differences of opinion. I have my views, too, but prayer is not the place to lobby for the vote I want on the building program. When Abraham Lincoln ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

From Issue:Spring 1999: Real Worship
Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
When God Seems Far Away
When God Seems Far Away
Spiritual thermometers and prayer in the darkness
From the Magazine
Why There Are So Many ‘Miraculous’ Stories of Bibles Surviving Disaster
Why There Are So Many ‘Miraculous’ Stories of Bibles Surviving Disaster
When Scripture makes it through flood or fire, we see signs of a faith that endures.
Editor's Pick
His Eye Is on the Pastors
Seasoned Salt
His Eye Is on the Pastors
God sees and watches (as do others), which is both a comfort and a caution as pastors navigate their calling.
close