Anyone can pray, but learning to pray well can take a lifetime.
You may not realize this but one of the ways that Intown seeks to teach people to pray is through our "Prayers of the People." Each week members of our congregation stand up to lead us in both scripted and extemporaneous prayers. While praying together as a community is a long-standing tradition in the church, and biblically-commanded, you may not have thought before of using these prayers to enrich your personal prayer time.
So, we're going to begin posting the extemporaneous prayers of those who lead us in prayer on Sunday mornings. Along with the scripted prayers which are printed in your bulletin, I would advise you taking these prayers into your personal prayer time and using them either as a script, and outline, or just a guide.
I hope that these will enrich your prayer life. Here is a prayer from two weeks ago from Mr. Pete Sommerfeld:
Lord, as we begin this morning, may we be struck afresh, and possibly in new ways, as we contemplate who it is we address as we pray. May we be shaken from the grip of our distractions, knowing that we have the ear of the God who created the universe. One who is all powerful, all knowing and all loving. May we be awed and humbled, knowing you are a God who is more interested in hearing from us, than we are in speaking to You. May our confidence and trust grow as we reflect on the fact that you are a God who does not only listen, but who responds to our prayers, who stands ready to calm our fears, comfort our hearts, and wisely and compassionately address our needs.
At the same time, on this day when many of us remember and celebrate our earthly fathers, may we also contemplate the fact that as we pray we are addressing One who is also our Heavenly Father. One who loves us, who is the head of our family, the church. One who wants only the best for us, who longs to see us thrive, to live out life as you designed it, and to bring honor to the family name. With that in mind, we ask ourselves, what – as our father – would you like to hear from your children?
As our Heavenly Father, like our earthly fathers, you want to know those things for which we are thankful. At the most basic level, we are thankful that you have called us into a relationship with yourself, and that you have done everything necessary for our adoption into your family. And, we are thankful that you have given us a new family, a new identity, a new place to belong, a new community, a new home. An eternal home. We are grateful that your every thought of us is for our good. Certainly not always what we would consider good, but what you in your wisdom know to be good. We are grateful you have given us a new and higher purpose for our lives. That we are part of something bigger than we are that will long outlive us. You actually allow us to have given us a share in the incredible task of seeing your kingdom come and your will being done.
As our Heavenly Father, like our earthly fathers, you also want to know all that concerns us. And, you know there is much causing us concern. The fractiousness in the church. Lord, we would ask that we as a people would seek those things that unite us, rather than those that split and splinter us. That your call on our lives would guide us to fulfilling your purposes here on earth. That we would consider one another as more important than ourselves, and that we would live sacrificially on behalf of others. We are also concerned by the fractiousness and acrimony in the process by which our nation is governed. Lord we would ask that those who are in leadership, and who aspire to leadership, would seek common ground, and the common good, in the situations that can and do divide us. May they be men and women who do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with you. May we as citizens of this country, and of another kingdom, seek to be ministers of reconciliation pointing people to God, rather than agents of condemnation, shaming and degrading those whose lifestyles are different from our own and cause us to be uncomfortable.
But, mostly Lord, if I could still speak with my earthly father, what I would want to say more than anything is “I love you.” And, I can only imagine that is what you would like to hear from us as well. So, we as a congregation want to say to you “We love you.” Sometimes selfishly, frequently inconsistently, certainly never perfectly, but as much as we are able to express at this moment in time, we love you. And, we know that our love for You is a response to your love for us. A love that is perfect, longsuffering, and wise. For that reason we can now come to you confidently, trusting in your loving wisdom and power to do as you deem best in all that concerns up. And, we come on the merit of, and in the name of, the one who will indeed be crowned with many crowns, the Lord Jesus Christ,