Public speaking, in general, paralyzes many individuals with fear. Praying in public can even be more nerve-racking due to the extremely personal nature of prayer. If you are asked to pray in public, there are ways that you can handle this task so that you reduce your level of anxiety and say what you need to say. With a little preparation and practice, praying in public can become a positive, worshipful experience.
Pray privately. If you aren't used to praying at all, doing so in public can be very intimidating. However, if you pray regularly on your own, praying in public won't seem as foreign or strange.
Consider the specific needs of the group in front of whom you will be praying. Praying publicly is a means of representing others' needs in prayer. For example, if you are asked to lead a prayer at a parenting event at church, you might want to pray for wisdom, patience and love for the parents present, as well as the well-being of everyone's children.
Write out a prayer if you prefer. Some people prefer to pray with no notes, as is common in many churches. However, others choose to use notes or even to read the entire prayer. Depending on your background, using notes or a written prayer may be more familiar and reassuring. If you don't need notes, and praying on the spot seems more sincere, then go with that type of prayer instead.
Focus on God as your audience rather than the people in the room. The purpose of prayer is to communicate with God. Therefore, try to shift your concentration toward speaking to him, which can reduce your nervousness about being in front of people.
Read instructions on prayer from the Bible. Jesus gives an outline for prayer in the "Lord's Prayer," in Matthew 6, and he prays for his disciples in John 17. Other instructions on prayer include Ephesians 6:18 and Philippians 4:6. The Psalms also offer many prayers that cover a wide range of emotions and situations.
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