Chapter 3 “Public Prayer: Speaking and Listening to God” pp. 39-50
What is public prayer? Is it different from private prayer in some substantial way? If so, how? Willimon urges care and attention to how we pray in public. For those who need help and patterns, he suggests use of the Book of Common Prayer or the various Lutheran liturgies. How is public prayer different from private prayer? First, it is the job of hte pastor to gather the congregation and lead them together in prayer. Thus, public prayer by nature draws the concerns of a variety of people and presents those concerns in terms which the congregation would understand. Praying with patterns and known structures, with opportunities for the congregation to inject input and agreement is crucial. Use of language which is fitting to the setting and the congregation is important, as we develop vocabulary and style to express our cries to the Lord. We are a blessing to the congregation as we draw them along in the work God has presented to us.