The Ruling Elder & the Ministry of Prayer

From the point of my conversion forward, I wanted to do everything in my life by reference to God, and so I needed to be constantly talking to Him. I was naïve and overwhelmed, but I had not yet thought that I could pray wrongly. It was clear to me that God was God and I was not; therefore, I had no problem with deferring to Him, no real desire to get my own way, and no inclination to ask merely for the benefits package. However, as I learned more and became increasingly exposed to private and public prayer, I realized that my way of doing it had some deficiencies.

How did this realization hit? First, I read about true prayer in the Bible. Second, I observed or experienced some issues with prayer, particularly with Session and in corporate prayer gatherings. Third, I recognized that the biblical condemnations of praying wrongly might apply in different ways to committed Christians.

Below are some of the errors in prayer that I have witnessed or fallen into over the course of Christian life. My hope is that this brief list highlights some things all of us – and especially us ruling elders – need to be careful about while trying to serve the church.

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