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Our Christian Perspective

Article 14:

Do You Know How to Pray?

By Brother James

Psychological studies clearly indicate that next to dying, public speaking is the second most revered fear in American life. Some psychologists even list the fear of public speaking as the number one phobia with death coming in as a close second place. Whether the fear of public speaking is the first or second phobia in American life, the issue is that it is a problem in this society that can ultimately lead to poor mental and physical heath, loss of meaningful interactions and loving relationships with others, and potential loss of financial success. How can we communicate our desires and needs to others if we are incapable of verbally saying what is in our hearts and on our minds?  

Google informs us that, “Public speaking fear (Glossophobia) is a form of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD).  I would suggest that if we were to determine the most feared topics related to public speaking, praying in public is the horror of all horrors especially for professed Christians.  Why? Because many of us compare our ability to praying publicly to one of the deacons or elders in our body of Christ. Have you ever heard someone in your church say something like, “Man, deacon Mark Matthew Paul Peter’s sure can pray?” I remember as a child how I would look at the horoscope in my hometown newspapers, The Louisville Times and Courier Journal, and see who shared my birthdate. It was never one of my neighbors, teachers, or one of the neighborhood business owners, etc.; who shared my birthday, rather, it was always at least three nationally known celebrities. Yet, while sharing a birthdate with these celebrities, I never felt inferior to any of them because of their success in life. I used their success as fuel to spur me on to whatever goals I had made for myself at a young age.  I mention this so we might feel comfortable praying in public and not allowing ourselves to be intimidated by someone else’s gifts. We must understand that prayer is simply a means of communicating with the Lord. Are you concerned about your articulation and eloquence when talking to your co-workers, family and friends, or, children? I do not think so. So, if we find it easy to communicate with those we possibly see daily, why should we be afraid to communicate with the Lord in public. By the way, how often do you engage the Lord in a conversation through prayer? A very wise man, Jake Gaines, pastor of Synagogue Baptist Church, Detroit  posed the following question, “How long would your loving relationship with your significant other last if you communicated with him or her as often as you communicated with the Lord in prayer?” Would you be concerned if your significant other did not communicate with you on a regular basis, or, seemed to be embarrassed by your presence when the two of you are in public?

In an Internet article on the website, magneticspeaking.com, Peter Khoury, author of, “7 Unbelievable Fear of Public Speaking Statistics” informs us that::  (1) 7% of Americans fear public speaking; (2) 6% of male Americans have speaking anxiety; (3) 8% of female Americans have speaking anxiety; (4) “7% of the US population is a big number; that’s about 27 million Americans;” (The percentage of American males who are afraid to speak publically is 6% while 8 % of American females are afraid to speak publically suggesting that the average  of Americans who fear to speak publically is 7%); (5) Public speaking fear has a 10% impairment on wages; (6) Public speaking fear has a 10% impairment on college graduation and (7) Public speaking fear has a 15% impairment on promotions to management. These are startling statistics that do not bode well for this society. So, I ask what are the valid reasons that professed Christians decline to pray in public? Have you volunteered to pray when you and your colleagues go out for lunch? Are you asked then refused to pray at an event either within or outside your church? When asked to pray do you opt to create a “who should pray” pecking order and say something like, “Oh, Deacon Johnson is here, ask him to pray!” Or, my favorite excuse, “Reverend James’s son is here. He is a preacher’s son, ask him to pray!”

            We all might consider what Jesus said on this issue, “32  “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.33  But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven (Matthew 10:32-33, NIV). How do we pray without acknowledging Jesus as part of the Trinity when we pray? Have you ever heard someone end a prayer by saying, “in Jesus’s name Amen?” Of course you have.

I sincerely mean no harm with what I am about to communicate. Sometimes in life we must face the fact that we are not astute in certain academic disciplines and have not attempted to demonstrate the requisite study skills etc., to be successful in a field of endeavor without considerable effort. It took considerable effort on my part eons ago to attend and graduated from a computer programming school while holding down a fulltime labor intensive job. Studying the Bible is a labor intensive field of endeavor that will always reward our research.  Unfortunately, we sometimes think we do not have to study God’s word if we attend church regularly. Given the reality that our Biblical study skills are insufficient, we might choose to use some form of remedial learning guides such as The Bible For Dummies by Jeffrey Geoghegan and Michael Homan and / or The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Bible by James Stuart Bell Jr. and Stan Campbell. Or better yet, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Christian Prayers & Devotions by James S. Bell Jr. and Tracy Macon Sumner, and / or, Christian Prayer For Dummies by Richard Wagner. Please do not become insulted by the terms “Dummies” and “Idiots” in the titles of these worthwhile books. The author’s intent is to simplify our understanding of the subject matter, the word of God. The last two books mentioned should help alleviate the fear of praying in public. May I suggest that to combat and bolster your praying skills you might want to join Toastmasters? This international organization asks on their website, “Is Toastmasters Right For You? Do you want to become a confident public speaker and strong leader? If so, Toastmasters is the place for you. You’ll find a supportive learn-by-doing environment that allows you to achieve your goals at your own pace. Learn how Toastmasters has changed the lives of members.” God always has a solution for every problem we might perceive in life.

So, let us look at the types of prayer so we might learn how to pray. In essence, there are eight distinctly different types of prayer, each with a specific purpose. These types of prayer are: (1) the corporate prayer. This prayer type would be used in a situation where you are praying for your church, family, or some group. (2) The prayer of supplication. This is a prayer type we might use when we are in dire need of God’s blessings such as being stressed out by people or events in our lives that make it difficult for us to get out of bed each day. (3) The prayer of Faith, where we tell the Lord we are sure of his promises in His word and will strive to obediently maintain our undying faith in Him. (4) The prayer of Thanksgiving. In this prayer we would thank God for all He has done in our lives, is doing in our lives and will do in our lives. The book of Psalms is replete with prayers of thanksgiving. (5) The prayer of Worship. This prayer is similar to the prayer of thanksgiving but differs in the fact that this prayer focuses on worshipping God’s goodness while the prayer of thanksgiving focuses on thanking God for what He is doing and has done for us. (6) The prayer of Consecration or Sanctification. In this prayer we recognize God for setting us apart, sanctifying us for a special task such as teaching, preaching, leading worship services, etc. (7) The prayer of Intercession. This prayer is used when we offer a prayer on behalf of someone else. Many prayers are lifted up when people are ill, financially distressed, having relationship issues, etc. Finally the (8th) eighth prayer type is a prayer type some pastors frown upon since we are under grace and not under law and are expected to love our enemies. This prayer type is known as the prayer of Imprecation or Imprecatory prayer. But since we are under grace should we not use this type of prayer? The website www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/differenttypesofprayerfoundinthebible informs us thusly about the contemporary use/nonuse of imprecatory prayers, “You won’t find this word in the Bible, but it is a type of prayer that is associated with King David. To imprecate means to curse or speak evil toward someone. When David used this type of praying it wasn’t as a form of exacting revenge. Rather, David used it as a way to show agreement with God’s judgment and sovereignty over evil. A few examples of this type of prayer are Psalms 7, 35, 55, 58 and 59.” I have used this prayer type often so that the Lord knows I support Him when He punishes evildoers, especially those in the pulpit and church leadership.

So, now that we are familiar with the types what is our next move to become comfortable with praying in public?  Good writers and public speakers use an outline for their written and spoken communications. What follows is my suggested prayer outline that may be used with each type of prayer. Every prayer we lift up should contain three component parts; an Opening, the Acknowledgement or Request made to the Lord and a Closing. If you are afraid to pray in public be comforted by the fact that one of the Lord’s disciples asked Him the proper way to pray. Have you ever been in a classroom-like situation where someone asked a question that you had on your mind but, was afraid to ask? I respectfully suggest that the disciple who asked Jesus how to pray was not the only one with that question on his mind! The disciples were novice students of their Rabbi (teacher) Jesus and probably were afraid to pray as He did in public. However, knowing their mission to help Jesus, they wanted to know how to pray properly. We find this fact borne out in Luke 11:1 in the Amplified Bible, “1 Then He was praying in a certain place; and when He stopped, one of His disciples said to Him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John [the Baptist] taught his disciples.” Now using my suggested prayer outline let us use the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus shared with His disciples as the proper way to lift up a prayer.


Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name

Thy kingdom come

Thy will be done in earth

As it is in heaven

Acknowledgement or Request etc.

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us of our transgressions

As we forgive those who trespass against us

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil


For thine is the kingdom

The power and the glory

Forever and ever


            I sincerely believe if one uses this model prayer outline and uses a prayer of faith asking and believing that the Lord will bless them with a calm spirit, the proper words and attitude toward praying in public, they will be okay.  I suggest, you always praise and thank God first in any prayer for what He does in your life. This should be followed by asking for forgiveness for your sins and transgressions. Next, pray for others either in the individual or corporate context. Finally, then pray for yourself. Employing this method I believe your prayers will as they say in sports jargon, “Cover all the bases!”

I sincerely pray that you realize that I do not possess all the answers on how to pray in public without fear. I get nervous every time I speak in public but have learned to channel that fear into positive energy that the Lord uses to calm my spirit and make me feel comfortable speaking to others as easily as I speak to my siblings.  I am a Preacher’s Kid (PK) and am probably more afraid than you as I have a slight fear of praying in public. This fear is due to the perceived expectations of my audiences because after all, my father was a preacher, right! God called my Dad to preach and not his entire family! I get tremendous comfort from the fact that the twelve disciples Jesus recruited from Galilee were mostly illiterate fishermen with the exception of Matthew who was a tax collector, and Luke who a doctor. I find encouragement in the fact that at Pentecost the Lord gave these illiterate fishermen the ability to speak in the native tongues of all the Jews assembled in Jerusalem. This was truly a Holy Spirit inspired miracle! Acts 2:7-8 teaches us that God will help us pray and speak in public if we believe and have faith in Him. “7 Utterly amazed, they [the Jews assembled in Jerusalem for Pentecost] asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans?8  Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?”  In the first century context the Galileans were viewed like the derogatory term, “Hill Billy’s” in the modern American vernacular. Therefore, the Jews in Jerusalem for Pentecost were utterly amazed as to how these alleged “dummies” and “idiots” were able to eloquently and articulately teach them the word of God.

Whenever I speak publically at an event, I always use the words God delivered to Moses who was afraid to speak in public to calm my spirit and remove my fear of public speaking. Exodus 4:10-12 from the NIV reads, “10Moses said to the Lord, “O Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” 11  The Lord said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord?12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” My friend, fight the fear of praying in public and be like Moses because the Lord will go with you and help you speak and will teach you what to say! God had Moses’s back and He will have yours if you demonstrate Moses like faith in Him!

Unpublished Materials
© ECO 2017 Brother James

Resurrection Mission Baptist Church
Meeting at Restoration Ministries
1728 Stanford Road, Berkley, MI 48072-3060
Sunday School 10:00 AM
Sunday Worship 11:00 AM
Cell: (248) 225-3876
Residence: (248) 356-2537

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