How do you pray in a formal worship service? Of course you want to join your heart to prayers that are prayed out loud as part of the service. You need to remind yourself to connect with those prayers. And you need to pour yourself into the praises being sung. This too may need to be intentional.
However, that is not all the praying you need to do in a worship service. Every time you enter a worship service you need to ask God to help you hear His voice. One of my life-scriptures is Matthew 23:1-12. In those verses Jesus said none of us were to be called Rabbi or instructor “because we have one instructor, the Christ.” This is more than a call for humility in preachers. This is a reminder that if we learn from or are stirred by a preacher, it is to be Christ Jesus Himself speaking through him. There are a number of barriers to hearing from God in a worship service. The greatest of them are in our own hearts. But whatever the barriers, we can ask God to speak to us.
For many years I began worship services by inviting people to ask God to speak to them and let them hear His voice. I have usually added words like, “I do not believe it offends God for you to pray, ‘God if you are real, let me hear your voice.’”
I have also asked people to pray the same prayer for the persons seated on either side of them. You may not know exactly what that person needs, but God knows just what they need to hear from Him. I have also suggested that it would not be impossible for some to pray for everyone in the room, or if it were a large congregation, it would not be impossible to pray for many people all around them during the service. I am aware that many preachers have told us to pray only for ourselves in a worship service. We understand that they wanted us not to be distracted from our own needs or sins by praying for other people. However, I believe we are most likely to hear God’s voice if we are praying throughout the service.