In 2012, researchers at the University of Nebraska-Omaha asked 815 college students to identify their three greatest fears. Far more than they feared heights, flying, deep water, and even death, the students feared “speaking before a group.”
If public speaking is the general population’s greatest fear, public praying very well may be its Christian equivalent. And this fear is not restricted to ordinarily timid people. Even leaders sometimes have trouble leading in prayer. Read More
Before praying I invite those present to take a moment and quieten their minds and place themselves into God's presence--to focus their attention on God. I use this pause to settle my own thoughts and to ask the Holy Spirit to come and pray through my lips, to give me the right words to say. The Holy Spirit will prompt me where I should begin. I then proceed, trusting that Holy Spirit will indeed give me the right words.
I don't worry about being eloquent. I pray about what I believe God would want me to pray about, trusting that the Holy Spirit has brought these things to mind. I address God at the beginning of the prayer and at its conclusion. I don't repeatedly address God throughout the prayer. He knows to whom the prayers is directed. Indeed he knows what we are going to pray before we pray it.
Being honest with God, with ourselves, and those present is important. I sometimes start a prayer by admitting out loud that that I don't know what to pray or I may make such an admission when I come to a point in a prayer when I do not know what to say next. Sometimes it helps to pause in a prayer to gather one's thoughts.
Those who regularly called up to pray should immerse themselves in God's Word. God reveals his mind in his Word and we can learn from the Scriptures what God wants us to pray for. On occasion I have recalled a verse from Scripture, prayed that, and used it as a springboard to more spontaneous prayer.
I listen carefully to what the members of the group are talking about before I pray. God often will use other people to draw to our attention what he wants us to pray for.