We pray for ourselves. We pray for our friends and family and co-workers. We pray for those on the church’s prayer concern list. We pray for the people our friends and family and co-workers ask us to pray for. There are so many in need of prayer and so many things to pray for it can be overwhelming.
When a litany of names and petitions seems monotonous, you might try writing a corporate prayer. This would be similar to the Pastoral Prayer on Sunday mornings in worship. Simply, it is a prayer offered on behalf of and for the community. A corporate prayer you write is something you can lift up to God on behalf of all of those on your heart.
A simple formula for prayer is: opening, praise, petition, closing. Open your prayer by calling on God’s name. Next, let’s give God thanks. There is so much we could praise God for, pick a few, e.g. ways that you have witnessed God working in your life answering your prayers. (This also serves as a reminder to yourself about who God is and why you know you can trust God.) I explain petitions in the following paragraphs. And, to end, ask in the name Christ, for it is He who said that whatever we ask in His name will be granted by God.
Your petitions might start with your prayer list when writing a corporate prayer. Look for the common threads like healing, treatment, diagnosis, finances, forgiveness, reconciliation, restoring to faith, grieving, etc. Having made a list of the requests, convert each to the model: “verb that objective.” That is, make a petition with bold confidence and tell God why you are making the petition. “Heal them so that they might live” commands God’s attention in a way much different than “please make them better.”
Use your verbs. God is mighty and powerful. Don’t be afraid to approach God’s throne with bold authority giving glory to the power you call on to address your requests.
Your petitions might start with Scriptures. Pick a Psalm or the Scripture readings from Sunday’s worship service. Read over the text asking yourself: what is God being praised for? what is God commanding of you? what is being asked of God? what is Jesus doing? who is Jesus? There is a prayer in those answers. The Psalms are an excellent example of bold petitions paired with praise. Take a look at Psalm 13 and let’s practice.
Your prayer based on Psalm 13 might be: Lord God, Your love is trustworthy and salvation brings me joy. I praise you because you are good and have been good to me. I know you haven’t forgotten my prayers. Don’t hide yourself from me, reveal yourself to me that I won’t think you’ve abandon me. Take from my heart the sorrow that fills it and the thoughts that torment my mind so that I will know you have heard my prayers. In Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.
As you write a corporate prayer, keep a few things in mind. This is a prayer that you are offering on behalf of a group of people. Make sure the prayer is something that each person you are praying for would pray for themselves. And, ensure that all of your petitions are incorporated in your prayer.
This is a great exercise. Writing the prayer is an act of prayer itself. You’ve made all your petitions to God and intently thought about what it is you’re asking of God and why. You can write a corporate prayer for all those on your concern list. Or, write a prayer for your church or community or those involved in an accident or disaster.
When you write your prayer, be sure to write it down and stick it in your Bible or a folder – this will be perfect for the next time you’re asked to pray in a group. If you’ve privately written it on behalf of a group, it’ll be something you can pray in a group that will encompass that group’s concerns as well.
May all your prayers be answered,