When you are asked to pray in public the effectiveness of your prayer should be intelligible, to the extent that (1) you address the matters you are asked to address, (2) you have the “Amen” of the audience and (3) that you are following the Lord’s instructions. The effectiveness of a prayer should be measured by the answer that God gives, whether immediate or delayed. The problems we face in our prayers include the fact that we often ask for things that we have the power to change, and there is too often no evidence that the prayer-minister is in receipt of the divine answer. Saying “amen” does not ensure God’s receipt or answer
Do we listen?
Prayer is a two-way communication. If one asks the prayer-minister “What did God say in response to your requests?” the answer will in most cases be “I cannot say”. The neglected aspect of prayer is that we do not listen as well as we speak.
Who is dictating?
The main hindrances to effective prayer is that we do not follow the Holy Spirit’s lead. After all He is the supreme Prayer-helper. He prays for us, prays ahead of us, and delivers the intents of our hearts to the Father. Related to this hindrance is the fact that we address the Son of God (who insists that we pray to the Father) and the Holy Spirit.
“Let us pray” should elicit a collective attitude and a listening ear, because it is ill-mannered to speak and not listen to the person to whom we are speaking. We ought to be assured that while we are speaking that God is preparing and sending the answer, and His work is not always perceptible in the natural world. People do not have to fall into trances as evidence that God hears us.
Already in progress
The call to prayer should be a signal to focus that which is already in progress, both on our account and more importantly the Holy Spirit’s. “Let us pray” is a reminder of the prayerful attitude that we ought to be in all the time with the acknowledgement that the entire audience is at the throne of God by virtue of the Holy Spirit’s ministry.