The Privilege of Prayer and Leading in Prayer

Greg Strand – January 13, 2015 4 Comments

Max Lucado has recently written about prayer in a new release, Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer. Lucado, recently interviewed , defines the heart of prayer as the following: “A prayer is simply an honest conversation with God. A good prayer creates a sense of communion between the one who prays and the One who hears the prayer.”

In his honesty, transparency and humility, Lucado acknowledges that he, like all of us, does not always practice what he preaches regarding prayer. This does not change the truth regarding prayer or his commitment to prayer, but he is willing to provide a glimpse into his life through an honest assessment of his own prayer life.

Lucado also addresses the importance and privilege of prayer and praying publicly as a pastor. As pastors, we are often called upon to pray. This happens both individually and corporately, privately with one or two others and publicly, inside the church with the people of God and outside the church with others.

It is a wonderful privilege to be invited into these situations to communicate with the Lord on behalf of others. Some pastors would prefer not becoming the token pray-er at these public occasions and events. They would prefer not being asked.

I have never understood that response. For me, I have always considered it a privilege and responsibility: a privilege to be invited into the lives of people at some of the most important and meaningful times in their lives; a responsibility to speak faithfully to God, for God, in the midst of these people.

What about you? Are you bothered by invitations to pray or do you consider it a privilege? How do you approach this?

Greg Strand

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Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

4 responses to The Privilege of Prayer and Leading in Prayer

  1. This is a bit off topic, but I wonder why so many evangelical churches lack a specific prayer (or portion of prayer time) for a congregational confession of sins (and for assurance of forgiveness).

    • Because I am involved at the local church, I am not sure what other churches do. From the little I observe/experience, there are not many that give a time for confession of sins and assurance of God’s forgiveness. One reason is that it has too many connections/associations with the mainline church. It was part of the liturgy that became rote and had no real meaning. Another reason is that many Evangelicals live with a strong sense of the presence of the kingdom and overlook and neglect the reality of the futurity of the kingdom. We focus on the now-ness, but not the not-yet-ness of the kingdom. This has numerous implications for many issues of the Christian life. It also has implications for how we view sin, confession and repentance, both individually and corporately.

  2. Do you have any [reading] resources to recommend to help those non-pastors who are being encouraged to pray during worship services?

    • Give this a try: C. Frederick Barbee and Paul F. M. Zahl, The Collects of Thomas Cranmer (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999). I have found this to be very helpful. I have written a blog post on this issue that is almost ready to be posted.

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