In a day when church attendance is waning in America, there is a gathering each week that can be a powerhouse of God’s working and a refreshing, reviving time of community.
In days of old, this gathering was simply known as Prayer Meeting. That designation is still in vogue today but not as frequent. And, even though the gathering may be called a prayer meeting, little to no time is given to prayer.
Without sounding legalistic or making you feel guilty, let me share some reasons why believers should be involved in a weekly prayer gathering.
Prayer connects us with the character of God.
The Lord’s model prayer begins with the words, Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name (Matthew 6:9). Albert Mohler, in his book, The Prayer That Turns the World Upside Down, gives us good insight to God’s name being hallowed, “When Jesus petitions God to hallow his name, he is asking that God act in such a way that he visibly demonstrates his holiness and his glory”
How absolutely awesome to see God display His character to His church through prayer and in His response to our supplications!
Prayer connects us with answers from God.
How many times have you quoted Jeremiah 33:3, Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. Or 1 John 5:14-15, And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
God’s answers are always right. They are always the best for us. They always bring Him glory. They always transcend the work of man!
How absolutely awesome to see God answer the prayers of His people!!
Prayer connects us to the body of Christ.
There are two passages of Scripture that resonates in my heart concerning the early church. Acts 2:42 says, And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then in Acts 12:5, we find these words, Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.
The richest fellowship a body of believers can experience is when they are gathered around the Throne of Grace (Hebrews 4:16). Intercessory prayer unifies the body in marvelous ways around the person of Christ, the glory of God, and the helplessness of man. David Mathis has written an excellent post on this point. https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/nine-profits-of-praying-with-company
Prayer connects us to the Person of prayer.
Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of prayer (Luke 5:16; 6:12; 22:42). Prayer draws the church into the influence of the preeminent One, the Lord Jesus Christ. Prayer leads the church to follow the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4) and Head of the Church (Ephesians 5:23).
Prayer connects us to eternity.
The Church is involved in the gospel ministry of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). The eternal destination of every individual around the world is one second away from reality. The Church needs to gather to pray for lost souls with a passion and a purpose (1 Timothy 2:1-8).
The old hymn, Brethren, We Have Met to Worship says it well:Brethren, see poor sinners round you slumb’ring on the brink of woe;
Death is coming, hell is moving, can you bear to let them go?
See our fathers and our mothers, and our children sinking down;
Brethren, pray, and holy manna will be showered all around.
Furthermore, we desire that God’s will be done here on earth as it is in heaven and for His kingdom to come (Matthew 6:10). That’s an eternal viewpoint in prayer!
“Four things let us ever keep in mind: God hears prayer, God heeds prayer, God answers prayer and God delivers by prayer.” (E. M. Bounds)
Will you be willing to make the connections this week in your local church prayer gatherings?