It would be wise to consider times of both corporate, or public prayer, as well as times of private prayer in the service. Giving time for silence of heart and imploring people to call on God privately to use the light of his truth proclaimed to change to their own lives and the lives of others is a vital part in leading the church in prayer and in teaching the church to pray. It would be wise for the worship leader not to be afraid of silence in corporate worship, but rather to encourage directed silence—silence of personal prayer directed towards a specific request of God for the service.
Pastoral prayers are important in not only calling on God for his mercy and truth, but in teaching others to pray. Pastors might do well to consider resisting the urge to extemporize their entire prayer choosing rather to plan their prayers according to a general outline. The use of Scripture in prayer can also help to form our thoughts and direct our requests.
Prayer, like music, should be intelligible. The “catch phrases” of church life may be confusing to a church of newer believers, and may be blasé or trite to a church of mature believers. Thanking God for the “finished cross work of Christ” is an appropriate prayer, but may prove confusing to those who do not know what it means. While are prayers are not directed to people, but to God, our prayers are for people and thus should be intelligible to them so that they know what we are praying for and so that they can participate along with the person leading in prayer. Our wording should also be varied, so as to prevent vain repetition and to engage thoughtful participation.
Public prayer should be characterized by both reverence and boldness, rather than presumption, and should likely take a different nature than private prayer. The heart immersed in constant prayer throughout the day may breathe a sentence or two of “colloquial prayer” during a moment of thought. A corporate prayer should be less colloquial and personal, and in keeping with the corporate gathering of the church.
We may speak boldly with God, but still He is in heaven and we are upon earth, and we are to avoid presumption. In supplication we are peculiarly before the throne of the Infinite, and as the courtier in the king’s palace puts on another mien and another manner than that which he exhibits to his fellows courtiers, so should it be with us.
 E.g., Acts 1:14, 24; 2:42, 4:24-31; 6:4; 6:6; 8:14; 12:5-12; 13:3; 14:23; 21:5; Rom 12:12; 15:30; 2 Cor 9:14; Eph 1:16; 6:18-20; Phil 1:4, 9, 19; 4:6; Col 4:2; 1 Thess 3:10; 5:17; 2 Thess 1:11; 3:1; 1 Tim 2:1; 8; 1 Tim 5:5; Jam -18; 1 Peter 4:7; Jude 1:20.
 See Derek Prime and Alistair Begg, On Being a Pastor (
 Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, p. 55