I have spoken on this before, but there is edification in prayer. Public prayer is real communication to God, first and foremost. But there is also help, encouragement, and teaching in prayer as well.
“41So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42“I knew that You always hear Me; BUT BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE STANDING AROUND I SAID IT, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” 44The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” – Jn 11.
Notice that Jesus modified the prayer to the Father for the benefit of the people who were present.
When men lead prayers, they are careful in the prayer so that they don’t lead others astray. We often add to the end of public prayers, “in the name of Christ we pray”, and we do not leave that out, so that the prayer is not thought to be made to accommodate the Jew, Muslim or spiritist.
Sometimes a wise prayer leader will be clearly speaking to the Father, but it is apparent to the careful hearer than additional words of clarification are added in the prayer so as to be of greater help to those being led in the prayer.
Yes there is teaching in prayer, as Jesus shows in His own words. And there is encouragement in prayer. Consider the number of prayers than are in the Psalms! They are encouraging. Consider the prayers of Jesus! They are holy writ. Consider the prayers of Paul. The churches at Ephesus, Philippi and other places were encouraged to know the content of his prayers to the Father.
So prayer is first and foremost communication to God. But it is also a means of teaching and edifying others.
Bless you. Dan Mayfield
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