When I was a young Christian in rural Kansas, almost every local church had a Wednesday evening prayer meeting. The focus was on Scripture-guided prayer and most of the time was spent in prayer. This was a delightful time when we could gather as Christians and spend a lot of time in prayer.
When I look at the church scene today, I see very few churches that have this Wednesday evening prayer meeting. Most churches have switched to small group meetings during the week that meet in homes. Most of the time in these groups is devoted to Bible studies, and very little time is left for prayer.
Now I certainly would never discourage Bible studies in small groups, or anywhere, but shouldn’t the churches set aside more time during the week for corporate or small group prayer meetings? These times of prayer would still be guided by Scripture.
The local Navigators in my area have started a prayer team consisting mainly of non-staff members. This team meets once a month for about an hour and a half. We lift up the Navigator staff members and their vision and mission. This is a blessed time. I wish we could do it once a week, instead of just once a month. Of course, we share e-mail prayer requests more often than once a month, but there is something especially precious about gathering together as Christians for prayer.
If your church does not promote quality small group prayer time, try this! Find two or three other people who could meet with you once a week for kingdom-focused prayer. This time could be spent praying through a section of Scripture, offering up praise and worship to God, and pleading God’s promises. You could also have time to share requests and thanksgivings with each other.
This kind of prayer meeting would probably work best in homes. I find that coffee shops and restaurants do not work very well for prayer-they are just too noisy. When the weather is nice, people could meet in a park or at the lake. You could even take a prayer walk.
I believe God wants His people to pray more, and He wants them to pray more together. I am not saying that God’s people are not praying. I am saying that we need more time in prayer. Once again, let me be very clear that I am not discouraging Bible study and meditation. The Word of God must shape and mold our prayer time. But where are the prayer meetings? Let’s bring them back, and let’s keep them going! It is the only thing that will save our nation.
For more about experiencing Christian joy, visit [http://thesourceofjoy.com]. Glen Averill has been a Christian minister and journalist for more than 25 years.
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