Opinion

How to Pray Extemporaneously Using CAPS

Many faithful people are uncomfortable praying publicly. They don’t want to be put on the spot. They feel inadequate. They stumble for things to say. Then they hem and haw with shifty feet as they struggle to express themselves out loud in prayer. The result is a muddled, uncomfortable prayer and a quick amen followed by a sigh of relief from the one who was asked to pray that the moment is over.

Well, no more. Here is an outline for all the faithful saints to use extemporaneously for prayer. It is easy and proficient. People will be impressed with your prayer skills. It has 5 parts, Call, Attribute, Petition, Sign off (CAPS). It starts with calling on God. Many just say, God our Father. That is good but the other thought could call on God as it relates to the situation for which you are praying. Let’s say you are praying for a test before a class with students. Instead of calling on, “Father God,” you could call on “God of all knowledge.” This combines the calling on God part and the attribute of God for which you are calling.

Here is another example. Let’s say you are praying for a sick relative in the hospital. One attribute of God is healing. So you could say, “God you are a healer.” Or you could say, “Jesus, Our great physician.” The calling upon the specific attribute of God fits the context of the prayer.

Then you add the request or petition. In the test example, you might say, “God of all knowledge. Your students have studied your world. Help them recall what they know.” Or in the hospital example, “Jesus, Our great physician, we know you are a great healer. Please show mercy to Aunt Jane.” Here you have the attribute of God as it relates to the situation. You use the attribute to call on God. Then you petition God based on the need.

Finally, you simply sign off. The most common signoff is Amen, which means we agree. Others like to sign off saying, “We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.” This lets everyone know the prayer is done.

Prayers don’t have to be long and complex. I think they are better if they are quick and to the point. This is what CAPS does. It Calls on God’s Attribute as it relates to the Petition of prayer and then Signs off. Here is a final example. It’s thanksgiving. You are asked to pray.

You can remember that God created the Garden of Eden and all people. Then you can give thanks asking God to bless the food and the family gathered. It may sound like this, “God you created the garden and the first people and called it good. It is good to be gathered here. Bless this food and this family. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.”

See, it is easy. Just relate the prayer context to a story of God and ask for what you need. I hope this gives you confidence next time you are asked to pray. Going to God in prayer is a privilege, not something we should be afraid of doing. Have a great week!