Bible Studies/Public Prayer


I have been asked to say a prayer in a group setting at work. Is it proper to read a prayer I have written ahead of time instead of an extemporaneous prayer?

Dear Betty,

I'm so happy for you, that you've been asked to pray at work. I've already prayed for you that God will use you to reach your fellow workers through your prayer.

In public prayer, you are virtually taking the group into God's presence, seeking His blessings. It's an awesome privilege/responsibility. And what you say in your prayer can also have an effect upon those who listen to your prayer.

When you plan ahead for your prayer, like you are now, ask God to help you to pray in a way that will spiritually lift you and your group into God's presence, and bring upon them the blessings they need. Whether you read your prayer or pray "extemporaneously", God will pray through you if you ask Him to.

The only difference between the two types of prayers you mention is in the time of composition. In extemporaneous prayers, you compose them on the spot, and, having committed yourself to God beforehand, you allow the Lord to speak through you. You may not even be aware that anything out of the ordinary is happening, but you know, by faith, that the prayer to God has come from God. It's really a wonderful, peaceful experience.

In written prayers, you approach God and ask Him to give you the message He wants you to pray to Him. Then you put your hands on the keyboard (or pen on paper) and proceed in writing your prayer. God will give you the right words as you write.

The main difference between the two is that you have opportunity in the written prayer to edit it for grammar, so it moves along more smoothly. However, be sure to pray that God also guides you in the editing process so that His message remains intact.

Then when you present your prayer, if you read it, try to stand at a podium, or something like it, so that it won't be seen (at least prominently) that you are reading.

Reading the Bible is very important to the Christian. It would be very difficult to maintain a saving relationship with God without it. And learning about God and His requirements for us would be nearly impossible without some connection with God’s Holy Word.

Actually, if we watch for Him, we’ll find Jesus Christ in almost every passage of the Old and New Testaments. Sometimes He’s known as the Creator (cf. John 1:1-4, 10, 14); sometimes He’s known as “the Angel of the LORD” (Ex. 3:1-14; cf. John 8:56-58); sometimes He’s known as the “servant” (Isa. 52:13-53:12); and sometimes as the Messiah. Often He’s behind the scenes, working through those who live according to His will.

If you have difficulty understanding the Bible, there are many aids available to help you do this, (see list below). But above all, read your Bible for yourself, and pray that God will help you understand it.

Check out for answers to your Bible questions. They specialize in only the Bible.

Stay close to Jesus.

Thurman C. Petty, Jr. (43 Bible lessons; 20 Books; more)

Sources of Bible study aids and answers for your questions.
Mail order Bible lessons: Amazing Facts Bible Lessons, PO Box 1058, Roseville, CA 95678
Telephone questions answered: 3ABN 1-800-752-3226 (pastoral dept., ext. 1)
On-line:; (Bible studies/Discover Bible Guides)
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Thurman C. Petty, Jr.


I`ve been a Pastor and Bible teacher for 40 years.


I`m a writer--author of 18 Bible-based books and over 200 journal articles. Web site: where a lot of my books and writings are posted. I've been married to the same lovely lady for 55 years. We're more in love now than when we married. My wife and I were missionaries to Pitcairn Island, in the South Pacific, from 1982-1984.

I've been a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church since the age of 9.

Books: Pacific Press Publishing Association; PettyPress. Number of titles published: 16. Journal Articles: Adventist Review; Signs of the Times; Guide Magazine; Ministry: A Journal for Clergy; Sabbath School Leadership; The Youth's Instructor; Student Movement; Cord, and others. Total Journal articles: over 200. Web Site: Contents: 18 of my books; 41 Bible study guides; over 30 sermons; Stories; poems; links to other sites, etc. E-mail address:

I have a BA and a Master`s degree--both degrees are in Biblical studies.

Awards and Honors
I was awarded the "Golden Cord" from my Alma Mater, Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, for my foreign mission service.

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