It seems that prayer meetings are not right at the top of every believer’s list of favorite things to do. Why is that? Let me carefully venture some answers to that question…
Repetition is the mother of boredom. Predictability is often the stuff of lethargy. If there are no answers, if nothing changes, if “prayer meeting” is thirty minutes spent reading from an inspirational book, vague prayers by the same 5 people, a prayer list comprised of all the woes the group can think of – including the ones from last week and last month – many feel, who needs it?
The early church discovered that when they assembled to pray, everything that came after that was better. Where is the disconnect here? It’s 7:00 Wednesday evening and to the group assembled it’s almost like God went home at 5:30.
Make no mistake; we pray even when we don’t immediately see God’s answers. It’s called faith. But when our communal prayer would sound pretty much the same if we played a tape from last week and lip-synched the words, maybe it suggests that our passion has gone south, our intensity cooled, our expectation wilted. If when we pray we do not expect God to answer, it robs our prayers of their power. God is impatient to give us blessings we’ve never even considered asking for. Spending time on our knees with God’s people provides opportunity for our hearts and God’s will to intersect, and that’s when grand and supernatural things happen.
Most Christians pray though sometimes they aren’t quite sure it’s going to make much difference. But to give perspective to what we’re doing, reflect on that event in Antioch (in today’s Syria) when the young church met to pray (the story is in Acts 13:1-3). The events that happened that night were a powerful force in shaping the future of the Western world that is still being felt today. Now there’s a prayer meeting that made a difference! But they all can.
When God’s people kneel together and worship Him and intercede, and worship Him and bring Him their repentance, and worship Him and seek His will, He is committed to show Himself strong. Prayer is the means God often uses to give us what He wants. Not every prayer season is followed by a revival, but it is certain that no revival ever occurs without one.
So we pray, “God, we’re not bringing our needs before You just now, we have to come to listen. What is on Your heart this evening? What do You want us to pray about? For what eternal matter do You want our intercession right now? Speak Lord, for Your servants are listening.” Then let Him lead the prayer time. After all, He didn’t go home at 5:30.