When the church is no longer teaching the people how to pray, we could almost say it will have lost its reason for existence. … The clergy often create a situation in which people need them so much, they can’t live without them. I’m afraid some clergy–Catholic and Protestant–have done this to the people. For example, attendance at the service where the clergy happen to be in charge is considered all-important. This overemphasis on social prayer has left many of our people passive, without personal prayer life and comfortable with “handed-down religion” instead of first-hand experience. We don’t do God any favors by keeping people passive and unaware.
The flip side of this is that there are plenty of people out there who are willing to just let the clergy do it all for them. “Please pray for me.” “You make the Bible come alive for me.” Both clergy and parishioner find themselves being guided toward the easier route that he describes above, but it is the least beneficial for everyone.