Prayer is one of the most important and most neglected steps in preparing to preach. These days, the church is all about the latest method, statistics and even gimmicks. Prayer however is not any of these. Instead, prayer, simply put, is just communication with God. Somehow it can get lost in the pastoral habit due to the demand put on the preacher. Nevertheless, prayer needs to take some priority on top of sound preparation. If you don’t even talk to the God whom you worship, how can you talk about God?
Prayer can be divided into two general categories: person and pastoral.
Personal prayer comes from our daily living. It’s no different than us talking to our spouses, children or friends, except in this case, we’re talking to God. This can happen as a disciplined form of daily worship or can happen as part of what we do going about our day.
Pastoral prayer is something quite different. That’s the part of the public worship procedure. The pastor often represents concerns and sentiments from his church when he prays publicly. Public prayer than needs preparation. The pastor can bring in an outline of all the items that need to be prayed for. For example, prayers for our world can often be neglected in favor of our personal concerns (e.g. sickness and death in the congregation etc.) or vice versa. We should be aware of both local and global concerns because after all, we do believe that God is the ruler of the universe. For some pastors, they prefer to use prayer books from their denomination. Those are also very useful tools. Whatever tool we use, most important is our preparation to do the prayer instead of praying off the cuff.