The Prayer Meeting
The Fruit of Praying Together
Prayer is both a privilege and duty for Christian believers. It is a privilege because Christ purchased our redemption with his very own blood. Through His blood we are justified and have been given glorious access to the throne of grace (Rom. 5:1-2; Heb. 4:14-16). The hymn-writer expressed it well: “What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer.” Prayer is also a duty. God commands us to pray at all times and give thanks in all circumstances (I Thess. 5:17). So if prayer is such a grand privilege and holy duty, why do we not make it more of a priority? Why does prayer so often get pushed to the periphery of our schedules? Even our church schedules? Indeed, why has the weekly church “prayer meeting” become a distant memory in most congregations? And why is it so poorly attended in those that have continued it?
There are many reasons why prayer is so neglected— worldliness, laziness, spiritual dryness, etc. But perhaps our prayerlessness is also due to the fact that we are ignorant of the extraordinary blessings or fruit of prayer. While abundant fruit is produced through personal and family prayer, I would like to briefly mention three ways that congregational prayer benefits Christian believers and churches.
Encouragement: Praying with fellow believers is deeply encouraging. What a blessing to hear brothers and sisters in Christ pray God’s truth and promises; to hear them cry out to God with a heart of sincere devotion and humble reliance upon the Lord. It fosters encouragement to hear earnest prayers for world mission, the lost, and the spiritual health of the church. Praying with others cultivates spiritual renewal. One reason our hearts grow cold towards God is because we are going at it alone. We are not praying with fellow believers.
Unity: The church that prays together stays together. Prayer breaks down walls. Indeed, unity is bolstered through prayer. Grudges, anger, and bitterness are hard to find in a church that humbles themselves before God in prayer. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray He said “Our Father.” Congregational prayer underscores the corporate nature of the church.
Love: Prayer nurtures love. Over the years I’ve learned how prayer strengthens my love for God and others. When I pray I feel closer to God and to those for whom I pray. Are you feeling detached from God? Is your love for fellow believers waning? Joyfully engage in congregational prayer in Lord’s Day worship and the weekly prayer meeting, and see if this does not foster a love for God and others.
The Christ Church weekly prayer meeting is growing, but it is still poorly attended relative to our current membership. We have 160 members and average 20-25 at the prayer meeting. I’ve been praying that this number would significantly increase. We gather every Sunday in the choir room at 9:50 a.m. before morning worship. Would you join us?
Come join the prayer meeting and see how the Lord will use congregational prayer to foster encouragement, unity, and love in your life and in the lives of others. My heart is always full after the prayer meeting! In Colossians 4:2 we are exhorted to “continue steadfastly in prayer.” Prayer is a privilege and a duty. Let us, therefore, renew our commitment to make prayer a priority at Christ Church Presbyterian.
Your Pastor, Servant, and Friend,