(This is the second of a two-part meditation on prayer)
Last month I reminded us that when Paul says "Pray without ceasing," it calls us to prayer anytime and anywhere—and in many ways. The same can be said about praise and worship—we can worship God anytime and anywhere.
But we set aside one day of the week to gather and worship as a community. Prayer is at the heart of our collective worship. In worship we pray in many ways—through liturgy and written prayers, through the singing of hymns, silently and aloud, we praise God, we confess our sins, we give thanks, and we pray for others. Our prayers are offered in the context of the reading of Scripture and preaching because our praying is shaped by the Word of God and by the life of faith. In our worship and praying, we acknowledge God’s presence in the world, we listen for God speaking to us today, and we offer ourselves to God, including whatever we are carrying in our hearts.
In our order of worship, we have a time of Prayers of the People, when we pray for others. I like that phrase "prayers of the people." It reminds us that worship is about being an engaged participant rather than being a passive spectator.