Prayer is not a ‘pastoral’ duty, but it is a priestly one. And we’re told in the New Testament that everyone who trusts in Jesus Christ is a priest. Prayer is for all of us! The pastor is not your High Priest. Jesus is!
There’s been a lot of confusion about what prayer should look like. In our public gatherings for worship, we’ve made it the duty of the pastor or a handful of other wordsmiths to ‘pray out loud’. We’ve formalized it, ritualized it, platformed it, ‘King James’d’ it, and polished it. We use flowery words, puffed up words, academic words, and a lot of words. We’ve taken it from the people and given it to the ‘clergy’.
On Sunday, we read a lot of scripture together about prayer and came up with these easy guidelines for how we can all pray:
Pray in humility [Luke 18:9-14]. No bragging or boasting or arrogance or judgment.
Pray always [1 Thessalonians 5:16-18]. We don’t have ‘religion’ to make our life better. No! Our life is in Jesus, and He is our everything. Prayer isn’t something we add to our life, it is living life in communion always with Jesus.
Pray for peace [Philippians 4:6-7]. When we are afraid, anxious, tormented and oppressed, we call on Jesus.
Pray in faith [James 5:13-20]. Our prayer is a declaration of our faith in Jesus!
Pray simply [Matthew 6:5-15]. It is a lie that only people who are good with words should pray in church. Prayer is never for show.
Pray as a priority [Matthew 21:12-13]. We make God’s house into many things. If we’re not making room for prayer, we are missing the mark.
Pray to do battle [2 Corinthians 10:3-5]. Prayer is how we do battle against darkness. It tears down strongholds, cuts through persuasive opposition, penetrates walled-off minds, and breaks through the stubborn heart.
At Covington Community Church, we pray many different ways when we gather for worship and study. It’s always in Jesus’ name, but it’s never led by the same people. We share it, we do it together, and we do it often.
Prayer is for all of those who are in Christ.