ALC: Why is a pastoral prayer—corporate prayer—important?
WBC: Pastors have the opportunity to present the issues of concern before the people…. Since Jesus said we ‟should always pray” (Luke 18:1), we know that the discipline of prayer aids individuals and the congregation as a whole.
ALC: How does corporate prayer involve the people and their needs?
WBC: Often the pastor knows about the different concerns of the people…. Prayer unites the congregation by being confident in our great Physician and His invitation to pray for others.
ALC: Explain the difference between preparing a pastoral prayer ahead of time vs. spontaneous thoughts (ex tempore) at the time of worship service.
WBC: A pastoral prayer needs preparation; it’s that important. Pastors would not think of delivering a sermon without proper preparation and effort ahead of time. Thus, since the pastoral prayer is a vital part of worship, it needs preparation…. You prepare yourself to pray as well as work on the prayer itself.
From Bill’s next book to be published soon, Prayers for the People: from the Heart of a Pastor, these excerpts are from the front part of the book. The major portion of the book is a collection of Bill’s pastoral prayers offered during the worship services at World Gospel Church, Terre Haute, IN.
As I proofed the book’s manuscript, I read these interviews I had staged with Bill. What struck me was the timing of the content. Four years ago I prepared the questions and interviewed Bill. I hardly had to edit his answers. He spoke clearly and to the intent of the book’s purpose. I divided Unit One into three interviews: The Why, Know Your People, and The How.
How did timing come into play? If I had waited until this year or even last year, Bill’s dementia would have prevented him from being able to construct mentally the answers. He would not have understood the content of my questions, nor the purpose of the book. Words would not have flowed into a clear response from him.
I am grateful to God and His timing. For without these interviews the questions would have remained unanswered. My fudging the content would not have given you, the readers, a look into the why and the how Pastor Bill viewed the importance of pastoral prayers during worship.