Whatever happened to the prayer meeting?
While the early Christians “continued steadfastly in…the prayers” (Acts 2:42), mid-week congregational prayer meetings have, in many places, become a thing of the past.
Much of the blame lies at the door of those of us Christians who, by our actions and attitudes, have precipitated its decline and demise. So, consider:
7 Ways to Kill a Prayer Meeting:
- Don’t go
- If you go, go late
- Go, but don’t pray
- If you pray, pray long and low
- In prayer mention everything but ask for nothing
- Yawn and stare while others are praying
- Give out a long hymn at the end and read it all through
7 Ways to Keep a Prayer Meeting Alive
- Be sure to go
- Go in good time
- Join in the prayers and don’t leave long gaps
- Pray briefly and so you can be heard
- Do not “say prayers” – pray!
- Keep awake, with eyes closed and head bowed
- Do not wait on others – wait on God
Here are some further items about prayer:
E.M. Bounds, author of Power Through Prayer, said: “Much prayer, much blessing; little prayer, little blessing; no prayer, no blessing.”
C. H. Spurgeon was once showing some guests around the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London. After taking them round the main auditorium he said: “Come with me, and I’ll show you our new boiler”. Imagine the surprise of the visitors when he took them down to a room where there were 400 people on their knees in prayer!
An anonymous author wrote the following obituary for “Mrs Prayer Meeting”:
“Mrs. Prayer Meeting died recently at the First Neglected Church on Worldly Avenue. Born many years ago in the midst of great revivals, she was a strong, healthy child, fed largely on testimony and Bible study. She soon grew into worldwide prominence, and was one of the most influential members of the famous church family. For the past several years, Mrs. Prayer Meeting has been failing in health, gradually wasting away until rendered helpless by stiffness of knees, coldness of heart, inactivity and weakness of purpose and will power. At the last she was but a shadow of her former happy self. Her last whispered words were inquiries concerning the strange absence of her loved ones now busy in the markets of trade and places of worldly amusements. Experts, including Dr. Works, Dr. Reform, and Dr. Joiner, disagreed as to the cause of her fatal illness. They had administered large doses of organisations, socials, contests and drives, but to no avail. A postmortem showed that a deficiency of spiritual food, coupled with a lack of faith, heartfelt religion, and general support, were contributing causes. Only a few were present at her death, sobbing over memories of her past beauty and power. In honour of her going, the church doors will be closed on Wednesday nights, except the third Wednesday night of each month when the ladies Pink Lemonade Society serves refreshments to the men’s football team.”