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Reading the Bible and Praying in Public

By Stuart Olyott
July 2008 | Review by David Magowan


Bible reading and prayer are two elements in all evangelical church worship. At certain points in every service someone will read the Scriptures and lead the congregation in prayer. These regular acts of worship are so familiar that many probably take them for granted and do not think too seriously about them. But what is the best way to read the Bible in public and what are the things we need to keep in mind if we are to lead others in public prayer? In Reading the Bible and Praying in Public, Stuart Olyott supplies us with wise practical advice on these vitally important acts of our corporate church worship.

  • Publisher: Banner of Truth
  • ISBN: 978-0851519722
  • Pages: 32
  • Price: £1.02
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Book Review

Often there is pressure from a congregation, and a desire on the part of the pastor, to involve a number of different people in public worship. The easiest way in which to accommodate other voices in the leading of corporate worship is for people to be asked to read Scripture or to lead in prayer – but before they do so, they would be well advised to read this little booklet. It should also be read by pastors to whom these responsibilities usually fall.

With his usual succinctness, Stuart Olyott covers a lot of ground with few words. His premise in the first part of the booklet ‘The public reading of Scripture’ is that the way in which you read Scripture conveys how you regard the Bible, and that by our reading of Scripture we can bear witness, for example, to its divine inspiration, its inerrancy, its clarity, and its universal appeal.

In the second part of the booklet ‘Public prayer’, we are reminded that public prayer is public; it is to be exemplary and doctrinally sound, it is to be pastoral, and it must remain fresh. Practical and sensible advice is given throughout.

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