d. Guidelines with respect to the vocal patterns of our public prayers
1) Avoid assuming a praying voice which is qualitatively different from your normal speaking voice.
John Newton, “Public Prayer” Banner of Truth Article
2) Avoid monotone.
3) Avoid overly sustained intensity.
4) Avoid indistinctness and insufficient volume.
5) Avoid praying with your face down towards the pulpit.
e. Guidelines with respect to the length of our public prayers
1) Avoid being too long.
Charles H. Spurgeon, “Our Public Prayer” in Lectures to My Students, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2008), pp. 64-65.
William Blaikie, For the Work of the Ministry, (Birmingham, AL: Solid Ground Christian Books, 2005), p. 178.
2) Avoid a consistently predictable length to your public prayers.
Charles H. Spurgeon, “Our Public Prayer” in Lectures to My Students, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2008), pp. 72-73.
f. General guidelines with respect to the spiritual life and energy in your public prayers
1) Be convinced of the necessity and availability of the Spirit’s aid in public prayer.
2) Cry to God for that special aid.
3) Cultivate an attitude of conscious, prayerful dependence on the Spirit prior to and in the midst of public prayers.
Practical suggestions with respect to cultivating the gift of public prayer
a. Establish the habit of “praying in” the Scriptures.
Robert L. Dabney, Lectures on Sacred Rhetoric, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979), pp. 358-359.
b. Establish the practice of preparing the framework or outline of public prayers.
William G. T. Shedd, Homiletics and Pastoral Theology, (London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1965), p. 271.
c. Establish the general practice of joining your own public prayers with your preaching.
Charles H. Spurgeon, “Our Public Prayer” in Lectures to My Students, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2008), pp. 61-62.
d. Establish a framework for constructive criticism of your public prayers, ideally, your fellow elders.
I can think of no better way to conclude this lecture than to read the brief paragraph with which Spurgeon concluded his treatment of this subject in his “Our Public Prayer” in Lectures to My Students. He said to the young men under his instruction,
“Let your prayers be earnest, full of fire, vehemence, prevalence. I pray the Holy Ghost to instruct every student of this college so to offer public prayer, that God shall always be served of his best. Let your petitions be plain and heart-felt; and while your people may sometimes feel that the sermon was below the mark, may they also feel that the prayer compensated for all.” Charles H. Spurgeon, “Our Public Prayer” in Lectures to My Students, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2008), p. 75.
Dabney, Robert L. On Preaching. pp. 345-361
Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students. Chapter 4
Taylor, William. Ministry of the Word. pp. 240-255
Shedd, W.G.T. Homiletics and Pastoral Theology. Chapter 22: “Liturgical Cultivation of the Preacher”
Porter. Lectures on Homiletics and Public Prayer.
Blaikie. The Work of the Ministry. Chapter on “Devotional Services.” pp. 165-180
Fairbairn, Patrick. Pastoral Theology. Chapter 7.
Olyott, Stuart. Reading the Bible and Praying in Public.