Bring Back the Prayer Meeting

8 12 2008

pentecost1In the conversation about what needs to be restored to the church I can’t stop thinking about our need to bring back the prayer meeting.  If you list what gatherings Christians typically attend today in order of consistency and frequency it might go something like –

1. weekly worship service
2. small group
3. ministry team or committee meeting
4. second teaching meeting (sunday night sermon etc.)
5. prayer meeting

When I read the New Testament regarding the frequency of gatherings it seems to go something like this –

1. the prayer meeting
2. discipleship training
3. body gathering
4. the lord’s supper (love feast)
5. city worship

Passages just in Acts that refer to constant, spontaneous prayer meetings include –

Acts 1 – Prayer in the upper room – “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.”

Acts 2:42 – “They devoted themselves…to prayer”

Acts 3:1 – “1One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.”

Acts 4:24, – “4When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God…31After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

Acts 6 – “We will turn this responsibility over to them 4and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

“They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.”

Acts 12 – “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.”

“where many people had gathered and were praying.”

Acts 13 – “So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.”

Acts 14 – “Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.”

Acts 16 – “On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer.”

“Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl”

Acts 20 – “36When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed.”

Acts 22 – “”When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance”

I just received an email this morning from someone in our body calling a spontaneous prayer meeting on Tuesday and I’m so encouraged.  These prayer meetings should be called constantly.  We must become a praying people that call prayer meetings as often as we think to call someone to grab lunch, come over for dinner or get a cup of coffee.

Many thanks as well to my friend Justin for pointing me to the importance of the prayer meeting in Acts.  Please share your thoughts on this and other ideas for bringing back the New Testament practice of spontaneous and rhythmic prayer meetings.  How do we make these meetings full of life and energy?  How do we motivate each other think like this naturally?  What lies are hindering this?  What beliefs will enflame this?

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10 responses

8 12 2008
Bill Faris

My experience of prayer meetings it that I always have to force myself to attend them (I hate tearing myself away from the other “stuff” that fills my time) and then I’m always TERRIFICALLY glad that I plunged in and prayed with others once the meeting is over. Woe is me.

8 12 2008
Kami

This is cool, Jeremy because many of us from our body met together on Sunday to discuss the book Surprised by the Power of the Spirit and we began talking about the importance of prayer and how we need to be praying more. I like what Mom has started in sending out the families prayer needs so that we know what to pray for one another. So I started that with our body. But I think getting together with members of our body to pray once a week should be our next step.

9 12 2008
Craig Bertrand

It seems funny to me that many people talk about prayer as if it something in itself. I mean it is something that we should be doing more. Or I didn’t get my prayer time in today. Kind of like ohh shoot I forgot to take my one-a-day vitamin!

Prayer is a conversation with God. To forget to pray is like to forget to talk to your spouse. It is like the work-aholic Dad who keeps working for His family but doesn’t spend any quality time with them.

A lack of prayer in the church just shows a low value of relationship with our father. Our actions always show our values.

I think we should schedule more ‘prayer meetings’ but it is not good enough just to go to a prayer meeting, we need to meet with the One we are praying to.

To pray is not a task that must be done more, it is the highest privilege a human can have to converse with the lover of his soul!

9 12 2008
rhett

I recommend reading “Why Revival Tarries” by Leonard Ravenhill. Dave McMurray has sparked the passion in my about prayer. He’s given me that book and so far the Holy Spirit is using it to move me to a more faithful prayer life. I know it’s a good thing, but it’s so much easier for me to find higher value in other “activities.” We must be a people who pray earnestly for the Kingdom, but I don’t really believe that deeply enough. I think we should train ourselves to believe in the necessity for intercession, healing prayer, and prayer for the Kingdom in general. While training we should be praying as well, because God reveals himself through prayer and our beliefs will align more with His the more we come together as a body in prayer.

The biggest lie is that everything we do (I mean EVERYTHING) is more important than praying. We simply do not believe that spending 3 hours in prayer is as important, much less more important, than spending 3 hours training disciples. How do we break this pattern? How do we alter this belief? How can we train in this? This could be the biggest lie we believe in Christian culture . . . we must tap into those select few who have broken that cycle and believe deeply in the value of prayer individually and with others. It sucks, but I pray that we will want to pray more.

9 12 2008
Bringing Back the Prayer Meeting « The Hand of God

[…] personal. Tags: power, prayer meeting trackback I was reading Eden2Zion’s blog post today – Bring Back the Prayer Meeting.  I love this article.  It was poignant when he commented:  If you list what gatherings […]

9 12 2008
bajanpoet

Thanks for this post! I feel that the prayer meeting should be the fulcrum of the church, where – like in Acts 13:2, the believers meet and seek God for the next strategy, rather than planning and then bringing those plans all finished to God without even asking him if we are along the right track… We need to meet with God in order to hear him say, “Set apart Paul and Barnabas for the work to which I have called them…” otherwise we are just asking God to bless OUR plans, which may not have anything to do with what HE wants to do…

10 01 2009
Thanks for calling attention to something extremely important. . . and for generating such response among some thoughtful readers donkimre.

Thanks for such a timely and important post. You’re on target. And I’m also appreciative of the thoughtful insights and observations of your readers. donkimrey

8 04 2010
Prayer Meetings and Discipleship

[…] can read the full post here.  Jeremy gives many examples of prayer meetings in […]

8 04 2010
Greg

Another great post. I linked to it from my blog and will be trying to get regular group prayer meetings setup at my local church.

3 02 2011
Alan Cole

Right on! Prayer is the only true work of the church. The disciples in Acts 2 knew that they couldn’t do anything apart from the power of God so they waited on God to move. All they could do was look to God with eager anticipation. As a result they prayed and rested in God to lead them. When God did move they were ready to be used and God did great things through them. If the modern church is to see God move with mighty power through her then she must surrender totally to the Lordship of Jesus. Until we see ourselves as totally helpless apart from God we will never pray as we should. Real prayer is all about a humble attitude that rest in God’s power instead of our own.

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