Lecture 11 – Contents of Public Prayer

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Guidelines with respect to the essential contents of public prayer

1) They should be comprehensive, with invocation, adoration, thanksgiving, confession, intercession, supplication.

1 Tim. 2:1
Ezra 9
Neh. 9
Dan 9
Matt. 6:9-13

 Remember the helpful little acronym: A.C.T.S.

A-doration
C-onfession
T-hanksgiving
S-upplication

2) They should be definite.

Luke 11:5-13
Luke 18:1-8

Robert L. Dabney, Lectures on Sacred Rhetoric, Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979), p. 356.

3) They should be appropriate.

a) The content should be appropriate in terms of the most pressing concerns of the congregation in its internal life.

b) The content should be appropriate in terms of the pressing concerns of the congregation in its external life, contact with the world, and its testimony.

c) The content should be appropriate in terms of the standing responsibilities and ministries of the church.

Robert L. Dabney, Lectures on Sacred Rhetoric, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979), p. 357.

d) They should be varied

William G. T. Shedd, Homiletics and Pastoral Theology, (London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1965), p. 272.

e) They should be eminently and pervasively scriptural.

John 15:7

Rev. H. Humphrey, “Public Prayer” in The Pulpit Cyclopaedia and Christian Minister’s Companion, (New York: S. Appleton & Company, 1851), p. 492.

William Blaikie, For the Work of the Ministry, (Birmingham, AL: Solid Ground Christian Books, 2005), pp. 176-177.

f) They should be unmistakably Trinitarian.

Eph. 1:3-14
Eph. 2: 17-18
2 Cor. 13:14

 Guidelines with respect to the linguistic substance of our public prayers

1 Cor. 2:11-13
1 Cor. 14:9, 1Cor. 14:16

1) Avoid all thoughtless and excessive, irreverent repetition of any of the divine names and titles

Robert L. Dabney, Lectures on Sacred Rhetoric, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979), pp. 347-348.

Charles H. Spurgeon, “Our Public Prayer” in Lectures to My Students, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2008), pp. 59-60.

2) Avoid all meaningless phrases and repetition of pet terms.

3) Avoid all the language of indecent and irreverant familiarity with God

Robert L. Dabney, Lectures on Sacred Rhetoric, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979), pp. 349-350.

4) Avoid all glaring grammatical mistakes and vulgarisms.

5) Avoid all suggestions of personal devotions in the company of the gathered Church

6) Avoid run-on thoughts devoid of pauses.

 

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