Pastors have a unique influence on their congregations to able to teach them to pray. Because of this, I am very grateful for Scott Patty’s contribution on this subject. Scott is seasoned, wise, and a wonderful resource to address this particular issue and give us some helpful practical counsel on the matter. I strongly commend this article and Scott’s ministry to you:
The church is a place of prayer (Romans 12:12, I Thessalonians 5:17). As a pastor, you can use your influence to teach and encourage people to pray. Here are some ideas for teaching people to pray that can easily be incorporated into your worship service and your church schedule.
1) Always have an opportunity for people to pray and be prayed for when they come to Sunday worship.
Several years ago I realized that people who come to our church and need prayer had no way of knowing who to ask or where to go. We established a time and place for people to be prayed for and we communicate it every Sunday in our worship service. It works for us to have prayer teams available to people at the end of the worship service. This is simple, effective, and puts prayer high on the priority list for our members each week.
2) Use the pastoral prayer with purpose.
A man told me that the pastoral prayer at his church was for the worship team to transition off the stage before the sermon. That’s not the purpose I have in mind. Use this prayer to really pray and to teach people to pray. It may take a little time for people to grow accustomed to a five to seven minute pastoral prayer, but given the opportunity they will. In fact, they will love it.
In your pastoral prayer lead the congregation through the various aspects of prayer; praise and thanksgiving, confession of sin, remembering gospel promises, petition and intercession. Pray for applications of the sermon text. Pray for the general categories of need represented by the people seated in front of you. Pray about big cultural issues at times when they are already being highlighted (Sanctity of Life Sunday, Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church). Pray for government leaders and about major events happening in your city or in the world. Pray for other churches and for missionaries. Pray for church members as they go to work, school, and serve in the community. Pray for the unconverted and for the evangelism efforts of your members. Allow for 30 seconds of silence so people can formulate their own prayers.
You may not be able to cover all of these categories of prayer in a given week, but if you make the pastoral prayer a significant part of your worship service, over time you will teach people to pray.
Read the full article here…