Can you imagine a church of over five hundred members holding a prayer meeting, and only two people showing up?
Maybe everything is going well in this church. Nobody is ill or mourning the loss of a loved one. Everyone agrees on everything. No one outside the church is attacking it, and all hearts are humble.
Um, no. None of the above.
Perhaps the prayer meeting took place on a week when things are going well in the nation. People of different skin tones and positions of authority get along. Politicians speak the truth and humbly serve the people.
Hardly. Especially not this week.
Why would it be that only two people in a large congregation see the need for prayer right now? Of course, people are busy. Conflicts arise. No one can attend every church meeting. And many people go on vacations during the summer.
How important is prayer?
Lord’s Day 45 of the Heidelberg Catechism addresses this, calling prayer “the most important part of the thankfulness which God requires of us” (Q&A 116, emphasis added). Maybe the people of the large church didn’t have anything to thank God for this week.
But the Heidelberg Catechism is only a confession, a document written by men. What does the Bible say? Well, how much time do you have?
Colossians 4:2 urges us to continue steadfastly in prayer, and 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray without ceasing.
Throughout Scripture, God commands prayer and shows its importance. But I’ll share only one more verse: “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18, ESV).
This past Wednesday, two people prayed for the nation and all the saints in their congregation.
2 thoughts on “The Prayer Meeting”
I don’t have to imagine it — I’ve seen it.
Well, the numbers aren’t exactly the same, but the church I attended in New Philly had several hundred members, and the Saturday morning prayer meetings usually had 5 – 8 people attending.
The church was going through an extremely difficult time with some dicey situations within, and some felt compelled to call us to pray. So we approached scads of people and asked, “If there were a Saturday morning prayer meeting, would you be interested in coming?” We got an overwhelming affirmative response. So the meeting was organized, the first one was held… and it pretty much fell flat. A few core people continued for a couple of years, and it was wonderful in every regard (except participation). We saw God move in amazing ways and grew closer to one another in the process.
All this was unofficial. The church allowed it, but none of the leadership endorsed it and there were never any official announcements made; it was all word of mouth. But those of us involved made sure to mention it to everyone we saw at the church.
Eventually the newly-established leadership (one of the things we’d been praying about, and God’s answer to our prayers!) organized an “official” prayer meeting as one of the Sunday morning “elective” classes. (We had four “quarters” of Sunday school class offerings.) That was somewhat better attended, with something between 10 – 20 participants, depending on the week.
At such a time as that. With several hundred members. How sad!
Thank you for this post.
Yvonne Anderson Fiction That Takes You Out of This World http://www.YsWords.com
Thanks for reading and responding, Y. It is sad. May it please God to change the attitude toward prayer within His churches. Nothing will change in our congregations and our countries until hearts change.