This week I was asked to pray at the swearing in of our new county treasurer, who is also a member of our church. I wrote Prayer for A New County Treasurer for that occasion. I also wrote Prayer for the Opening of Court a couple of years ago. Both were well-received and hopefully were appropriate to the occasion.
I prefer to write out these prayers for public gatherings for two reasons:
- I don’t want to say the wrong thing;
- I don’t want to sound like God is endorsing whatever it is we are doing.
So, writing public prayers helps me focus on presenting the situation to God; asking for God’s guidance, presence, or blessing depending upon the circumstances; and, reminding those of us gathered of our corporate need for Divine connection.
Like many of you, because I’m a preacher I often get asked to pray — for the food, for the team, for the class, for whatever it is that I’m at that needs a prayer. Those are not too difficult, but public gatherings of significance, especially those that have political overtones, require a wisely discerned expression.
What’s your experience? Do you write out any of your public prayers? If so, why? What are your favorite public prayer stories? I’d love to hear them. Amen.