Have you ever been in a worship service where the band sounds incredible, the light show is on point, and everything seems to be going right, but when you get to the end of the set and the worship leader starts to pray, the whole thing seems to lose momentum? The problem is the prayer has no focus or direction and the leader is just saying a bunch of different phrases that don't make sense. This is one of my pet peeves with worship leaders. We have to do a better job of directing our prayers at the end of our worship sets. If you lead worship often, your prayers can have the tendency to get stale and lack purpose. So I started using this three-step process in all of my prayers.
1. Pray the theme of the song
I always focus the beginning of my prayer thanking God for a specific theme of the song that we just finished singing.Take the song God is Able as an example. Here are the words of the chorus:
Lifted up he defeated the grave
Raised to live our God is able
In his name we overcome
For the Lord our God is able.
Here’s how I would start a prayer after that song: God, we are thankful today that you're a God that is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine. Thank you that You love us so much that you gave Jesus to die on the cross and three days later be raised to life by your power.
Thank him for a main theme of the song.
2. Ask God to Help
The second thing I pray is ‘God help us.’ Sometimes It’s not easy for us to believe the first part of the prayer, that God is able, when our life does not reflect it. We know that God loves us, that he gave his Son for us, and that he wants to do exceedingly abundantly more in our lives, but our circumstances say the opposite, so I want the second part of my prayer to recognize that there are some that are having a hard time believing. It may look like this:
God, help us to realize that the same power that raised Jesus from the grave lives in us. Help us to see when problems seem too big, You are bigger. When Our need seems too great, You are greater!
3. Thank God for what He has done
I always end my prayers by thanking God for what He has done. I want to lift the emotion of the prayer up and begin to give praise to God for who He is and for what He's done. In our setting, I very rarely end a prayer without lifting the tone in the room so that people want to clap and celebrate what God has done. This is important because (1) It puts in ending to that section of the service with a celebration, and (2) It gives the person who is coming up next a clean slate. They can make comments or receive the offering without having to bridge two sections of the service with completely different feels. Some people can bridge that gap well but, in my experience, most cannot. So this section of my prayer would look like this:
So God we trust you with our lives and we praise you because there is no one like you. We praise you because you bring hope when there is no hope. You bring peace when everything around us is in chaos. We praise you because you conquered death and the grave, and because you live, we too can live. We pray all this in the strong name of Jesus. Amen! Then if they aren’t already clapping I will say let’s just put our hands together and thank God for who He is and for what He’s done. Here is an example at the 17:30 mark from a recent service at Stevens Creek Church.
Don't allow the end of your worship time to fall flat because of an unprepared or meandering prayer. Take these three things and implement them in your prayer and I believe you can end your worship set with an exclamation point as you pray with purpose.