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Archive for Public Prayer

Aug
15

Praying for Our Schools

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Tonight I will participate in a nondenominational prayer gathering led by my wife at her elementary school. It is organized by Inspire Our Schools.org. I am grateful that our central Iowa school districts are willing to allow volunteers come to school campuses to surround the buildings with prayer for the new school year. I have inserted the examples of prayers that will be offered, and wanted to share them so you can join parents, faculty and students in prayer. While you may not want to pray these exact prayers, the outline will certainly help you to make sure that you are as inclusive as possible in covering the needs. For more information about this annual gathering, find www.inspireourschools.org.

GENERAL PRAYER AT BEGINNING

Lord, we commit this building to you. Father, may those who enter this building experience your love in profound and authentic ways. (John 13:35)

Lord, we ask for your blessing over this building. We pray it would be a place of great discovery, adventure and creativity. May it be a place where we love to learn and where we learn to love. A place where everyone is respected and all are deeply valued.

STUDENTS

Lord, we commit to you the lives and welfare of all our students. We pray they would show proper respect for the authorities you have placed over them and recognize all authority comes from you. Help them to speak and act in a way that is respectful of all teachers, administrators, and other school staff.  (Romans 13:1-5)

Teach them, Lord, to be kind and unselfish and to love those who are different from themselves. May the children consider their school work an act of worship in that “whatever they do in word or deed, it all be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the Father through Him.” (Col 3:17)

Grant the Christian students wisdom and boldness in living out their faith. Help them share effectively with their classmates the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ, first by living and loving as Jesus did, and secondly with their words. (1 Timothy 4:12)

Lord, release truth in this school. Help students to rightly discern truth and not believe any false teachings. (Proverbs 23:23)

Lord, fill the students’ lives with trusted teachers and advisers who can lead them toward you and your promises. Help them turn to you as they learn and grow so they can lead fruitful and prosperous lives. May your grace be sufficient for every challenge they face.

Amen.

PARENTS

We ask for your favor on all parents as they work to keep you and your commands at the forefront of their family despite all the pressures of this world. We pray they will take an active role in their children’s Spiritual lives, protecting time for weekly worship and putting you at the center or their homes. We pray for parents to be encouragers of their children by word and example.

We ask that you would grant good working relationships between the parents and teachers, showing mutual respect and support for one another. (Ephesians 6:4)

We lift all parents up to you now and remind them that you are parenting alongside them—teaching, training and equipping them to handle every situation so long as they keep you at the center of their lives. They are never alone – they need only to speak your name and you will provide for them. We ask all this in your Holy and precious name.

Amen.

TEACHERS

Almighty God, we come to you today and give thanks for all of our teachers. Thank you for the way in which they give of themselves each day in the classroom, serving and instructing the next generation.

Father, please fill their hearts with courage by your mighty Spirit. Fill them with your strength, so they may rise to every challenge and not grow weary. Fill them with your wisdom, so they may be able to make good judgement when guiding and helping others. Fill them with your peace, so that when stress and anxiety come, they would not be overwhelmed. Fill them with your joy, so that the passion they have for their subject may become an infectious passion that spreads.

Father, please give the teachers your divine wisdom. Show them when they must discipline and when they can show mercy. Remind them that grace is typically most needed when it is least deserved. And above all, may they love and care for each student they teach. Show them how to serve as Christ serves, give as Christ gives, love as Christ loves.

We ask all this in the wonderful name of Jesus.  Amen.

PRINCIPAL, FACULTY & STAFF

Father, we thank you for the staff members of our schools who show our students what it means to lead with a servant’s heart. We pray for your protection and blessing over them. We ask that you would show them daily what an important role they play in our schools, often times working behind the scenes to create an environment where our children’s minds and hearts are open to learning and growing.

We specifically pray for anyone who is transporting our students, providing nourishment to our students, providing clean facilities, or caring for our students in a variety of other ways. We ask that you would pour your blessings over them as they create an environment where learning is possible and comfortable.

We also pray that the Principal & leaders will recognize the God-given responsibility they have in overseeing the best interests of our students, teachers and staff. May they walk in wisdom, integrity, grace, and truth. May they lean on you for wisdom and discernment in every decision they make, knowing that you and your ways are always good and you always work for the good of all your people. We pray for your protection over them and that you would be the governor of all the choices they make in school and outside of school. We pray for protection and favor over their families, and that their service would be appreciated and respected throughout the community. (Proverbs 2:1-11)

We ask all of this in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

ADMINISTRATION / SCHOOL BOARD

Father, we lift up those who serve as part of our district administration and impact the operations of our entire school district. We pray for your guidance and direction to fill their days. We ask that they would not be overwhelmed with the tasks before them, but that they would be energized and impassioned by the lives they are impacting each and every day. We pray they would feel encouraged and supported by us, and that they would commit all they do to the Lord so their plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:3)

We pray blessings on each school board member. Father, may your will be done at board meetings. May they work together for the good of their schools and community, and may they be filled with your wisdom, discernment, grace and guidance. May they have open minds and hearts to listen to one another and the needs of this school system, and may they lean on you for every decision they make. (Romans 13:1)

In your Holy name we pray.  Amen.

BLESSING OF EXTERIOR DOORS

Lord, we commit this school to you. Cover this school with the protection only you can give and keep harm far away. We ask that you post one of your angels at this door so evil cannot enter, and all who pass through this door will encounter your Holy Spirit. Amen.

PRAYER OVER OUR COMMUNITY

Father we seek your favor on our community. Thank you, Father, that you will bring abundant peace, security and healing to our community. We ask you to shine your light into homes and restore families to wholeness. Lord, place a hedge of protection around the children and their families. Protect them from evil and command your angels to guard them in all their ways. Reign over our community with your righteousness and your goodness. May you be glorified this school year as never before. Amen.

Categories : Prayer, Public Prayer
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Aug
01

How to Offer an Invocation

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A couple of weeks ago Rev. Joe Nelms, Pastor of Family Baptist Church, gained national attention by delivering a rousing invocation at the Nationwide Federated Auto Parts 300 NASCAR event in Nashville, TN. National media quickly picked up on the prayer and the video has since gone viral. While Rev. Nelms’ prayer may not make it into the core curriculum of any worship course at an accredited theological seminary, it does provide an opportunity for me to share a few suggestions on how to offer a public prayer.

1. Know the Purpose for the Prayer
Public prayers are often requested as a part of corporate worship or some public gathering. When asked to perform such a task, the first question you should ask is, What is the purpose of the prayer? What function does the prayer serve in the context of the event? For example, in times of corporate worship several public prayers may be utilized: an invocation to invite or acknowledge the presence of God; an offertory prayer to express gratitude for the faithful and gracious provision of God; or a benediction to ask God to depart with the people as they endeavor to fulfill His purposes in the world. Other times of prayer may be more pastoral in nature and share concern for personal needs and burdens within the congregation or request wisdom and discernment that is needed for a special decision the church is facing. Every public prayer is designed to serve a particular purpose in light of a larger function, and that is where you should begin.

2. Voice the Prayer of the Community
When asked to deliver a public prayer one should consider the audience or the congregation. What are their concerns? What would they pray if they were in your shoes? Part of what distinguishes corporate prayer from private prayer is that the person who offers the corporate prayer offers it on behalf of and for the larger group. If your audience is your regular congregation, you need not be as sensitive to biblical words and theological concepts as you would if you were at, say for example, a NASCAR event.

3. Prepare in Advance
Some religious traditions are comfortable with writing public prayers as a part of their preparation while others are reluctant to write their prayers out. Either way, it is thoroughly appropriate to give some consideration and thought to the prayer well in advance. A little advance preparation will prevent your prayer from coming across as wordy or redundant.

4. Remember your True Audience
At the end of the day, all prayer is directed to God. When you pray, either publicly or privately, you pray to God. The purpose of prayer is not entertainment and its not to make an impression. All genuine prayer is to God as though no one else exists, even when offered in public. I don’t think of God as a cosmic killjoy who doesn’t delight in His children at play. But in a world where 1 out of every 3 people live on $2 a day or less, I think its safe to say that there are larger concerns than high performance tires.

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