Preparing and preaching sermons takes diligent, prayerful preparation. Therefore, ministers must devote themselves to studying, explaining and applying the Scriptures. The minister must digest the Word for himself before he feeds it to others. Puritan John Owen said unless the preacher “finds the power of it in his own heart, he cannot have any ground of confidence that it will have power in the hearts of others.”
In light of Jesus’ counsel to pray in secret, I was once asked if public prayer is sinful. Do you break Jesus’ command when you pray with and for your family? In our corporate worship services, we offer many prayers. Sometimes the minister prays and other times we pray together. Should we stop doing that? Should we stop holding mid-week prayer services?
If you’ve ever wondered about this, you may find Jesus’ instruction in the Lord’s Prayer helpful (Matthew 6:9-13). He said, “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…” (Matthew 6:9). The Lord’s model prayer begins: “Our Father.” When I pray by myself, I never address God by saying, “Our Father.” Instead, I might say, “My father.”
Some wrestle with making worship more “participatory.” What they mean is they want more people to lead. However, since worship is work, all of worship is an exercise in which the whole congregation participates. You are never passive in worship. This includes during prayer and preaching.