Giving an opening and/or closing prayer at a church service, or other congregational meeting is an important function of service. Although we are coming before God as we normally do in prayer, we are serving in a different capacity. We are praying to God on behalf of the congregation, not simply on our part personally. With that in mind, here are some guidelines to help serve in an appropriate manner.
In Summary from Mr. George Damon Deacon from the Kansas City Congregation:
1) Have in mind generally what you want to say, but let God inspire your words, and speak to God from the heart on behalf of the congregation.
2) Have your coat buttoned and cellphone off before going onto the stage.
3) As the song ends, already be standing at one side of the stage.
4) As the song leader introduces you, be walking to the lectern.
5) Keep the prayer short (1.0 to 1.5 minutes), on-target, and NOT a mini-sermonette!
6) Use modern English, NOT Old King James English (with thee’s and thou’s).
7) Review the below more detailed and lengthy instructions.
In addition to what is written below, here is a link to download a PDF files explaining this topic
How to Give Opening and Closing Prayers
Being called on to lead an opening or closing prayer is a meaningful responsibility for men in God’s Church. Opening and closing prayers are not hollow, meaningless rituals. Fervent prayers offered in earnest, believing faith make a difference (James 5:16)! Men who are asked to lead opening or closing prayers should understand the purpose of these prayers and know what to do when giving them, as well as what not to do.
- Don’t pray a canned or rehearsed prayer. Let God inspire your words.
- Be careful not to turn prayers into sermonettes. Prayers should be brief. Brevity does not make a prayer ineffective.
- Avoid vain repetitions (Matthew 6:7). Don’t just mouth words. Some have repeated “Father” a dozen times or more in a short opening prayer. This is certainly vain repetition.
- Talk to God, not to the audience. Keep in mind that you are speaking to God. It is a prayer.
- Be sincere, straightforward and unaffected. Get your mind off yourself and say what you have to say. Be confident without being conceited. Use a normal, clear voice and avoid theatrics. Avoid false humility or an emotional display.
- Move to the microphone without a lot of noise and commotion. Avoid making a grand entrance. During the last song, move discreetly to the speaker’s area on stage. As the song ends, you should be about five feet from the song leader. There should be no time lag after the hymn.
|OPENING PRAYERS||CLOSING PRAYERS:|
|• Remember the primary purpose of the opening prayer. Ask for God’s inspiration on all aspects of the service, especially the hearing and the speaking.• Be sure to thank God. Express gratitude for being able to meet in peace, for the meeting hall, for the weather or for other ways God has blessed the Church (Eph 5:20).
• Ask For Gods inspiration on the sermonette and sermon. Ask that Jesus Christ be present in spirit to guide the proceedings. Ask God to speak through His servants to provide the congregation with what it most needs.
• Stick to the point. A brief opening prayer is just that it is meant to open services. You do not need to cover the entire spectrum of current events or the plan of salvation.
|• Show God you comprehended and benefited from the messages. Thank God for the spiritual food He provided, perhaps mentioning one or two specific points from the messages.• Don’ l summarize or add additional points to the messages. Primarily, the closing prayer should ask God to help the congregation achieve the objects the speakers had in mind.
• Allude to important areas that may have been mentioned in the announcements. If the announcements included news of illnesses in the Church or other important points about God’s Work, include brief comments about these points.
• Ask for God’s protection as brethren travel home and ministers travel to other congregations.
These points are given as guidelines, and are not a set of rigid rules. If you are called upon to lead an opening or closing prayer, thank God for the opportunity and be sure your prayer is one to which the whole congregation can sincerely say “Amen”.