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9Marks Explained : A Letter From Mark Dever

Praying So As To Teach


Public praying is a responsibility as well as a privilege... Many facets of Christian discipleship, not least prayer, are rather more effectively passed on by modeling than by formal teaching. Good praying is more easily caught than taught. If it is right to say that we should choose models from whom we can learn, then the obverse truth is that we ourselves become responsible to become models for others. So whether you are leading a service or family prayers, whether you are praying in a small-group Bible study or at a convention, work at your public prayers.

-- D.A. Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation (page 35)

And just to head off potential objections... before you suggest that it's always a sin to give thought to the way others will hear your prayer (as in Matthew 6:5-8), take time to wrestle with Jesus' example in John 11:41-42.

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Thanks for this, Michael.

I thought of 1 Corinthians 14:16-17, as well, that seems to indicate that our prayers are for others to hear & be edified.

Praying for others in a public setting is a humbling experience. To stand in intercession for someone else or for a group of people comes from the heart but you do have to know what you are doing.


    Empty prayers mean nothing to a lot of people involved but in the end it is God who determines whether or not a prayer is empty but practice does make perfect.

Thank you so much for this post! God has blessed my husband and I with an organic church. We have a few very new believers and although we "model pray" we often wondered how the scripture in Matthew 6:5-8 was applied - now I have the answer in John 11:41-42! GBU & HJD!

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