A Prayer Twist on A Powerful Practice
Most churches have some form of scripture reading during a morning worship service. It may be in the form of a responsive reading, a recitation by the congregation, or a leader or lay person reading a passage from the platform. The declaration of scripture is a powerful practice. But with a simple twist from time to time you can add a dynamic prayer element that can teach your people to pray scripture.
The idea is not just to recite scripture or hear it read (there's nothing wrong with that practice, of course), but to add an element where people pray those scriptures into each other or themselves, or their city, neighborhood, etc. This can be done in a variety of creative ways with not a lot of effort.
Instead of having a leader recite a phrase and the congregation read the next phrase in unison as in typical responsive readings, have the leader read a verse or two, then have the congregation recite a prayer, based on those verses. Go back and forth a few times with three or four sections. This not only allows the congregation to hear God's Word, but it teaches them to pray it.
After reading a passage relevant to God transforming a community, such as Jeremiah 29:4-7, have the congregation pray prayers related to the content of the passage. You can either provide specific scripture based prayers to pray or let them pray their own.
Praying the Pastor's Passage
A dynamic practice that can solidify the points of your pastor's sermon would be to pray scriptures at the close of the message. Have you pastor give you what his passage will be, and what applications he wants to leave with people. Then develop some prayers your people can pray that relates to them.
There are many other creative ways you can add prayer to scripture reading in a service. The idea is to both be creative and to find ways to show your people how to pray scripture. If you feel weak in developing scripture prayer for your congregation, there are prayer guides you can get to use. Pray! and Waymakers have developed a number of powerful guides that are based on scripture. Depending on how you use them, be sure to ask permission. But I suspect both organizations will be happy to grant permission because their hearts are to see people learn to pray scripture above simply making money. Another good idea would be to purchase enough guides for everyone and hand them out at the close of the service. Tell your people they are to help them continue to pray the scripture prayers. Check out dozens of prayer guides at prayershop.org.
(c) Church Prayer Leaders Network