Every Christian has the right to pray. Prayer is both a great privilege and a great blessing. A Christian should pray privately (Philippians 4:6) and should pray with the church (Acts 12:5; 20:36; 21:5). One act of Christian worship is prayer.
In Matthew 6:9-13 Jesus gave his disciples an example of how to pray. In that prayer there was praise to God, a promise of loyalty and submission to God's will, a request for help with physical needs, a request for forgiveness, and a request for strength to face temptation.
There are different kinds of prayers (I Timothy 2:1). Supplication is a prayer prayed many times asking for help with a problem or a trouble. Intercession is a prayer asking God to help someone else. Thanksgiving is a prayer thanking God for His blessings and goodness. There are also prayers of praise honoring God. It is proper to pray a prayer for only one of these reasons. It is also proper to pray one prayer for all of these reasons. A prayer can have one purpose or can have many purposes.
Christians must properly understand public prayer. Only Christian men can lead public prayers in the church (I Corinthians 14:34). One man leads the prayer but all listen and pray with him in their hearts. The man must pray loud enough for everyone to hear so each can follow his prayer. If one cannot hear the man, how can he pray with the man? The man should pray about things that concern the whole church. Everyone must remember the church is talking to God and God is listening. The prayer must be given reverently and respectfully. The man should talk to God, as our Father who loves us. The prayer should use words both the leader and listeners understand. All prayers should close with the words "in Jesus' name" or some other appeal to Jesus because Jesus is our mediator before God (John 16:23-27; I Timothy 2:5). Prayer ends with "Amen" which means, "So be it".
For what can the church pray? God can be praised for His greatness and be thanked for His blessings. God can be asked to help with common problems. We can ask for God's guidance and for God's forgiveness. Help for the sick and those with trouble can be asked. We can ask for help with spiritual needs. God's help in spreading the gospel and helping the church to grow can be asked. All these things and other similar concerns can be voiced in public prayer.
There is power in prayer. Christians should talk to God respectfully, but they also should talk to Him freely and without fear (I John 5:14).
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