The Worship Quote of the Week for (01/23/2001):

Sponaneous Prayer
Prayer is a crucial part of our personal and corporate communion with the
Lord. The apostle Paul instructs the church to "pray without ceasing."
Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is from an amazing volume that serves as a prayer
resource for ministers and those who lead in public worship.

For many generations American Protestants have prized spontaneity in public
prayer. I hope it will always be so. One has to admit, however, that the
spontaneous prayer one often hears in public worship is an embarrassment to
the tradition. It all too often lacks content. It may be sincere, but
sometimes it is not very profound. One notices sometimes that the approach to
prayer that these prayers reveal is immature, if not simply misleading.
Spontaneity needs to be balance by careful preparation and forethought. It
needs to be supported by an intense prayer life on the part of the minister.
One must be well experienced in prayer to lead in prayer, One can hardly lead
if one does not know the way oneself. Spontaneity has to arise from a
profound experience in prayer.

- Hughes Oliphant Old, from LEADING IN PRAYER: A WORKBOOK FOR WORSHIP, Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995. p. 5.

[Actually, the above title is what is printed on the cover of the book, but
on the inside, the subtitle is A WORKBOOK FOR MINISTERS. Either way, this
volume is a tutorial in public prayer for anyone who is responsible for
leading God's people to the throne of grace. Highly recommended! Some of the
various sections of the book are The Invocation, Psalms as Prayer, Prayers of
Confession and Supplication, The Prayer of Illumination, Prayers of
Intercession, Communion Prayers, Prayers of Thanksgiving, Hymnody, and
Benedictions and Doxologies. The author writes, "The reason I have wanted to
publish these prayers is that I have found studying the prayers of other
ministers very helpful in my attempt to learn how to lead the congregation in
prayer. I have no objection if some other ministers were to use the prayers I
have written, but that is not what they were written for."

Have a great week.
Don't forget to pray.

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky