Praying is an odd thing for worship leaders. Sometimes you feel the urgency to do it and other times it can feel like a chore, especially when you have to do it in order to make some sort of transition in the service. It probably feels wrong to say it, but for a lot of worship leaders, praying is hard!
For this post, we're talking specifically about extemporaneous or off-the-cuff prayers. Corporate prayers as readings are a valid expression in our worship, but we're focusing a bit more specifically on those moments where you pray all on your own!
If you've ever struggled with "how" to pray or even wondered if there are some other ways or styles of prayer while you're leading, here are a few tips!
This is the most common way most of us pray - these are the moments where we personally feel prompted to pray. This mode of prayer gets a lot of flack because it can sometimes produce wandering, pointless prayers, but I want to speak in defense of this way of praying. You may feel weird in these personal moments, but very often God will bless your sincerity and authenticity in that moment to encourage others. I encourage you to be open and honest before the Lord in these public prayer times. Pray as yourself - not as a person on stage or as a staff member. Don't adopt a prayer voice or use phrases you normally don't speak. Be you.
There are also moments of prayer where you're NOT praying for yourself. These are prophetic prayers, meaning that you're praying publicly about something your congregation is learning or going through. You certainly should aim for sincerity here, as well, but this is not a prayer about just the condition of your heart. This is a prayer that is focusing on what God is doing (or about to do.) It's helpful to recognize this prayer for what it is and to ask God to give you this gift of prayer. It can be a huge encouragement and teaching tool for your congregation.
I'll confess that I don't do this one nearly enough. A pilot prayer is better known as "guided prayer." This is where you give the congregation instructions (and time) to pray for specific things. This may feel like an easy job, but it's a huge burden to clearly communicate and compel your people to pray. Pilot prayers need forethought, practice and possibly even some written notes to keep you on track. It might be a bit awkward for your congregation at first, but I think they'll appreciate you truly leading them in a prayer time.
What about you? What are some ways you pray from the platform?
Does praying publicly come easy for you?