Try to represent, not impress

Through the years many individuals have allowed their public prayers to become repetitive. And while it’s not wrong to include some of the same thoughts each time we pray (1 Timothy 2:1-5, Luke 18:13, as well as the outlined points by Jesus in Matthew 6:9-13 are good examples), if our prayer is nearly verbatim every time we pray on behalf of the congregation then we need to stop and think before we speak.

Am I saying our prayer must have 50 dollar words and a flow that would make the national poetic society become green with envy? No. I’m not talking about impressing people with our prayer. I’m talking about representing people with our prayer.

If you know a family has suffered recently, you could mention them. If a family has received good news recently, you could mention that. If you are familiar with the language that is used in reference to God throughout the Psalms, you could use them in connection to the church in asking for God’s help (High-tower, Shield, Strength, Light and Salvation, etc.). If the congregation supports a missionary, children’s homes or other local evangelistic efforts such as House to House, you could mention them. God has already heard the news, but if there’s a major headline news story that you know has the attention of a large percentage of the congregation, you can mention that situation.

Again, the point isn’t to impress others with our prayer originality or sophisticated sound. The point is to represent those on whose behalf we are praying for, and to simply avoid being so repetitive with our public prayers that the people we are representing know what we’re going say before we even say it.

Then the king turned around and blessed the whole assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel was standing. And he said: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who has fulfilled with His hands what He spoke with His mouth to my father David, saying,…When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.” (2 Chronicles 6:3-4; 7:1)