Prayers

Credit: Rachel Sian at http://flickr.com/photos/rachelsianDid you know that there are seven types of prayers that might be offered during the service?

  • Invocation
  • Adoration and praise
  • Confession
  • Thanksgiving
  • Supplication
  • Intercession
  • Consecration

Various elements of these prayers can be joined together in the pastoral/congregational prayer, and sometimes hymns are used to represent a type of worship/prayer.

To hear or read wonderful prayers offered during worship services,
click here to go to the Prayer Category.

On the other hand, separating out the various elements means that no one type of prayer is too long, allowing focus for its individual meaning/purpose during the worship of God.

There are these “traditional” elements that have been part of Christian worship services for 2000 years. The following description gives the run down of worship as it evolved from the first century down through the ages.

Call to worship – preparing to worship.

Invocation - calling for (invoking) God’s presence in, and blessing upon, the worship service.

Adoration, Praise - sometimes part of the invocation but usually is in the form of a hymn.

Confession of sin – either after the invocation or as the second part of the pastoral prayer. First we praise God then we declare how unworthy we are of God’s love. This reflects, in our order of service, the Scriptural teaching that only those who are truly penitent will receive the full benefits of God’s grace. Unless we confess the fact that we are sinners in the sight of God we can’t properly worship God.

Thanksgiving - having praised God and confessed our sin, this prayer is an act of thanksgiving to God for the material and spiritual benefits God has given to us despite our sinfulness. Only the sinner can be truly thankful to God because we know how much we have received despite the fact that we deserve nothing. (This concept is sometimes difficult for our modern culture.) Sometimes Thanksgiving, Supplication and Intercession follow the sermon, to which you can then add thanks for the Word of God which has been revealed to us through the Scripture readings and sermon.
Supplication – this is where we pray for our personal spiritual and material needs. It can be a part of the pastoral prayer. Sometimes you can link supplication with intercession where we pray not only for ourselves but also for others.

Intercession - praying for the needs of others. This is often included in the pastoral/congregational prayer or it can be done separately after the sermon. Prayers of intercession include the needs of the church, local area, region, country and world.

Consecration - The final part of the service should include an act of Consecration during which the members of the congregation rededicate themselves to God’s service. Many times this is done in the form of a hymn. This act reminds us that the purpose of worship is not only to praise and glorify God but also to give us the spiritual understanding and strength to enable us to live a better life during the week. So the closing hymn needs to be on the theme of consecration or dedication.

The benediction is when the minister asks God’s blessings upon the congregation as it goes forth into the world; because it is addressed to the congregation rather than to God it is not actually a prayer.

Our individual prayers can be found, grouped in the Prayer Category, on this page.

Photo credit: Rachel Sain