Are there things we should avoid when we pray in public worship? I listened to a sermon recently in which a well-known expositor began his sermon by addressing Satan in his prayer. Something to the effect of “Satan, you have no authority, you are bound . . .etc.” I listened to another sermon where the closing prayer fleshed-out the preacher’s final point which he had not developed during the sermon.
How many times have we concluded a sermon and started to pray only to drift back over into the other lane and round-out a few points of the sermon in our prayer? We must avoid the temptation to keep preaching to the people in our prayers. When we pray we are no longer addressing the people but “Our Father who art in heaven . . .” Therefore pray to God, it is not a time to preach to the people or worse announce to Satan that he is somehow “bound.”
Samuel Miller wrote that “the excellence of a public prayer may be marred by introducing into it a large portion of didactic statement.” More recently, Ligon Duncan has noted “The purpose of prayer is not to provide an outline of the text, the sermon or some topic in Christian doctrine, but to lead sinners to the throne of grace.”