Praying More Confidently While Leading Worship
Confession time: Have you ever heard someone else pray in public and been jealous of how they sound?
There’s always that one person who seems to know exactly what to pray for, exactly how to say it, and could go on and on for eternity speaking to God (and sometimes it feels like they do). How do they do it?
On the other hand, praying in public can be a nerve-wracking experience for many people. Why do you think most people never pray out loud when you gather with people from your church? We don’t know what to say. We don’t know how to say it. We don’t like speaking in front of other people.
But, as I’m sure you’ve realized by now, leading public prayer is an ESSENTIAL skill for worship leaders. You are expected to pray when you are in front of your church.
So how can you overcome the nervousness and learn to pray more confidently in public while you lead worship? There is one SINGULAR secret that I have found that has helped me skyrocket my confidence in praying in public, and I want to share it with you.
The Secret To Praying More Confidently In Public
The secret is simple: What you do in private comes out in public.
For better or for worse, the things you do when no one is watching will eventually reveal themselves when everyone is watching.
Admittedly, that can be either scary or encouraging – it just depends on what you do in private. But the encouraging part is that if we put in the work in PRIVATE, we will reap the rewards in PUBLIC.
This is true in all areas of our worship ministry. If you practice your instrument privately, you’ll sound better on Sunday morning. If you read your Bible more privately, your worship-speaking transitions will be saturated with Scripture. If your heart is filled with gratitude for your worship team instead of grumbling, you’ll honor them when you interact with them at rehearsal.
Likewise, if you want to pray confidently in public, it starts with being able to pray confidently in private.
So I’ve got to ask you: what does your private prayer life look like?
Do you just pray before meals and right before you go to sleep? Are your prayers 15-second petitions to God when you need a miracle? Maybe if you’re being honest, you don’t regularly pray at all? (I’ll admit. I’ve been there.)
If you feel convicted by those questions, it’s not me trying to make you feel guilty – that’s the Holy Spirit working.
The worship leaders we mentioned at the beginning of this article – the ones who always know exactly what to pray for and how to say it? They didn’t just wake up one day with the ability to do that. Chances are they spend A LOT of time in private prayer. Then, when they step on stage to lead worship, they don’t have to concoct something to say because WHO they are simply flows out of them.
You can do the same if you put in the work in private. What you do in private comes out in public.
Warning: This Takes Time!
In a moment, I will walk you through how to apply that truth to your life and become more confident in praying. But there’s a caveat: this is going to take some time. You didn’t learn how to confidently play your instrument in one day – you aren’t going to learn how to confidently pray in public in one day, either.
However, if you’re looking for quick worship leading wins to keep you encouraged as you work on your public prayers, check out the FREE audio training I put together called 5 Tips To Instantly Improve Your Worship Leading!
You can do five simple things this Sunday to instantly improve your worship leading. They aren’t hard to do; you just have to know them and consciously implement them into your worship leading.
How Your Private Prayers Affect Your Public Prayers
When you put in the work in private, it changes how you pray in public. Let’s take a look at the three specific ways developing your personal prayer life allows you to pray more confidently in public.
- Private Prayers Build Your Prayer Vocabulary
Prayer is, first and foremost, a conversation with God. The more we talk with someone, the more we learn how to communicate with them.
Think of your relationship with your best friend. Think back to the first time you met them. When you started talking, you probably had one or two things in common but didn’t have much to say to them. However, the more you talked and got to know them, the deeper your connection and conversations got. You might have even developed a special way of communicating that other people can’t understand.
Or think of your relationship with your spouse. Do you remember that potentially awkward first date when you first got to know each other? You struggled to hold a conversation, and you were racking your brain to come up with the next topic to talk about. Eventually, as you got to know each other more, the conversation became effortless, and now you could talk for hours.
You build a special VOCABULARY the more you talk to someone. When it comes to our relationship with God, we develop our “prayer language” (not in a super spiritual sense). We start to form the way that we communicate with Him.
Our first prayers may be more general, thanking God for basic things and asking Him for simple needs. As we get to know Him more, our general prayers turn into specific prayers, and we start praying for things we didn’t even know we could pray for when we first started.
That vocabulary OVERFLOWS into your public prayers.
If you had to have a conversation with someone on stage in front of your church on Sunday, would you rather have it with a stranger OR with your best friend or spouse? Probably the latter because you’d feel more comfortable in the conversation. The same is true with your prayers to God.
2. Private Prayers Make You More Confident With Praying In General
Any time you do something more frequently, you become more confident in it.
The first time you cooked – you were nervous you would mess things up, and you kept your eyes glued to the recipe. Now you’ve memorized your grandma’s spaghetti Bolognese recipe, and you don’t even have to think about it. It comes out perfectly every single time.
When you first started playing an instrument and joined the worship team, you were timid and kept your eyes glued to the music stand, praying that God would guard you against making a mistake and embarrassing yourself.
It’s easy to feel the same way when praying in public. We haven’t done it much, so we’re nervous that we will mess up.
Focusing on your PRIVATE prayers allows you to become more confident in praying.
What’d you do to overcome the nervousness in your cooking skill? You probably made your grandma’s secret recipe for yourself before you cooked it for someone else.
How’d you get better and more confident at your instrument? You practiced for hours on end before you stepped on stage.
We can do the same thing with prayer – the more we practice in private, the more confident we’ll be when we do it in public.
3. Private Prayers INFORM Your Public Prayers
Maybe your concern isn’t so much with speaking in front of people; you just don’t know WHAT to pray for. You feel like you have the same three things you pray for every Sunday, and you repeat yourself over and over again. Well, focusing on your private prayers can help with that.
One of the hidden benefits of focusing on your private prayer life is that it INFORMS your public prayers. As you pray privately, God REVEALS things that need to be prayed for. The more you pray for people in your church, the more you recognize the needs of the people in your church.
Remember: prayer isn’t just TALKING; it’s also LISTENING. So listen to what needs in your church God wants to reveal to you. Use those promptings to guide your public prayers, and you’ll never be short on things to pray about.
Where To Start
So maybe you’re finally sold on this idea that you NEED to start developing your private prayer life because it will make you more confident in your public prayers. After all, what we do in private comes out in public. But where do you start?
There has been no bigger benefit in my prayer life than a COMMITMENT to prayer. You can’t just wish that you would pray more. You need a plan to make it happen. When talking about self-discipline in 1 Corinthians 9:27, Paul says, “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.” (NLT) We need a little less time WISHING and a little more time TRAINING.
What is the training routine you can implement to improve your prayer life?
- Set a timer for 15 minutes every morning.
- Force yourself to pray for those 15 minutes. Do not stop praying until the alarm goes off.
- Do this every morning for the next week.
(PRO-TIP: If you struggle at the beginning with what to pray for, open the book of Psalms and start praying the words out loud.)
My own experience with this process was a struggle. But I quickly learned that the more I did it, the easier it got. The first week was painful as my mind seemed to want me to do anything BUT pray. However, over time with self-discipline (and the power of the Holy Spirit), I beat my body into submission like an athlete, and soon 15 minutes wasn’t long enough for me to pray. I constantly crossed that time limit and craved more time with God. My discipline turned into enjoyment.
I am not special. The same Spirit that lives in me lives in you. You can do this too! It just takes a commitment to start.
Remember, if you want to pray more confidently while leading worship: what you do in private comes out in public.
Now, as I said, this process admittedly takes some time. It’s not a quick fix. You probably need some other encouraging wins along the way. That’s why I created the 5 Tips To Instantly Improve Your Worship Leading audio training.
In this FREE training, you’ll learn five simple things you can do this Sunday that will instantly improve your worship leading and help you confidently lead an engaging time of worship. They aren’t hard things to do. You just have to know them, and most worship leaders don’t.
About Spencer Cormany
LeadingWorshipWell.com is an online resource created by Spencer Cormany to help worship leaders lead themselves well, lead their churches well, and lead worship well. Through weekly training on the Leading Worship Well blog and Leading Worship Well YouTube channel, Spencer equips worship leaders with the tools to point people to the worthiness of God AND how to develop worship teams spiritually, relationally, and musically consistently. Spencer has been in worship ministry for over 15 years and is currently serving as the Director of Worship at Salem Church in Chambersburg, PA.