Are you embarrassed when people ask you to pray out loud?

embarrassed2prayaloud

Are you embarrassed when people ask you to pray out loud?

If you are, you’re not alone. Many people—even those who have no trouble praying in private—freeze when asked to pray aloud in public. It can be scary at first, but if you have a plan, it will become easy, and you may find that you actually enjoy praying in front of a group.

Praying out loud in public is a form of leadership. You are giving a group of people a voice in prayer. You don’t need fancy words—in fact, they just get in the way. You don’t need to pray for a long time; short prayers are usually better. You don’t need—nor do you want—to preach a sermon while you’re praying. As a rule, avoid saying negative things about yourself or someone else. Instead, focus on God and His goodness.

To pray aloud in public, you need a plan because it helps you lead well by knowing what to say, how to start and how to finish. I’m going to give you a simple formula you can use when you are called upon to pray in front of a group. When you get more practice, you can enhance this and deviate from it. But this will help you in the beginning.

Here’s a very simple formula for public prayer that you can use in almost any situation:
You go to “bat” for someone in prayer. Here’s the formula you use:
B – A – T

  • B – Believe
  • A – Ask
  • T – Thank

It’s easy. Let me explain.

Start with B – Believe. What do you believe to be true about God in this situation? This isn’t the time for an entire theology lesson, but rather one or two simple statements about what we believe to be true about God:

We believe You are good.
We believe You care.
We believe You are here.
We believe You heal.

Starting with what we believe to be true about God focuses everyone’s attention on God’s goodness and His greatness. I try to pick out one thing I know about God that seems relevant to the subject of the prayer.

Now move on to A – Ask. What do you want God to do? Ask Him!

Please remove this cancer from John’s body and restore him to health.
Please show us what to do. We want to honor You in this situation.
Please provide a way for us to help these children.

If the situation is particularly difficult—a death or impending death, seemingly insurmountable trials or difficulties, or whatever—you can always ask for things like these:

Please bring Your presence near in a way that we can experience.
Please grant us clarity in this difficult time.
Please show us a way forward and guide us with Your love.

If you’re not sure what to ask, you can ask for God’s guidance, His presence, His wisdom.
Finally, end with T – Thank You. What has God done or what can we expect God to do that gives us reason to give thanks?

Thank You that You have always provided for us in the past.
Thank You that You are here, You are listening, and You care.
Thank You for loving us.

“Thank You” is a way of expressing faith and gratitude. We believe God hears our prayers and will do something good in response to them. We are grateful for all the good He has already brought into our lives.
Here are some sample prayers. Read them carefully and notice how each one follows the B – A – T plan. Then read them aloud. Pause a moment after each line. Get a feel for the rhythm of praying aloud so when your turn comes you can say, “Sure, I’d be happy to pray.”

A mealtime prayer:
Our Father in heaven
We believe that every good gift comes from You.
We welcome You to our table. Please be honored here in our conversation.
Thank You for this food.
In Jesus’ name
Amen

A prayer for healing:
Our Father in heaven
We believe You are the God who heals us.
We ask you to bring complete healing and recovery to Mary.
Thank You for hearing us. Thank You for caring. And thank You for what You will do.
In Jesus’ name
Amen

A prayer in a very difficult situation:
Our Father in heaven
We believe that You are higher, smarter, better than we are.
We are in a situation that’s way bigger than we are. We ask for clarity. We ask for guidance. We ask for strength. We ask for the comfort of your presence to be with Mike.
Thank You for listening, for caring, for doing what only You can do.
In Jesus’ name
Amen

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One Response to Are you embarrassed when people ask you to pray out loud?

  1. Alan Bergstrom says:

    Great guidance! Thanks for sharing.

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