What do you say when you are about to pray at a meeting? ‘Let me pray’ is very popular at the moment.
However, this is not the best way to introduce prayer, even a short prayer before preaching or doing something else in the meeting. I suggest rather that we should be saying, ‘Let us pray’.
The reason is simple: the prayer that is about to be prayed is a corporate prayer - we hope that everyone will be joining in the prayer in their hearts. ‘Let me pray’ implies that everyone else sits by and listens while you do the praying. That is obviously not what we want.
Probably, when we say ‘let me pray’, we mean something along the lines of: ‘I’m going to lead us all in prayer now - please join me in your hearts’. But that is not what the words, ‘let me pray’ actually say. This may be a small point, but words matter. Why would we use a form of words which conveys, even if only subliminally, an idea which is the precise opposite of what we intend?
There is, of course, a better way of conveying what we want at this point in a meeting, without sounding as if we are about to launch into a one-man/woman prayer demonstration. ‘Let us pray’ is the phrase we need. Let us use it.
MA (University of Cambridge, Corpus Christi College)
ThM (Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia)
PhD (University of Stirling)
Having trained for the pastoral ministry at LTS, Robert pastored an evangelical church in Banbury for 8 years. Prior to training for the ministry, he was a solicitor in private practice, working in London and Brussels. He has been involved in training pastors in French-speaking West Africa. He teaches New Testament and Greek and also lectures on Contemporary Issues. His doctoral research was on Philip Doddridge and early 18th century Dissent. He is married to Sarah and they have three sons.