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The Most Important Meeting of the Week?
By: Jonathan Graf

 

At the church I attend, there is always a statement in the bulletin announcing the Wednesday night prayer meeting as “the most important meeting of the week.” Between 50 and 60 people out of a church of 350 regularly attend. Not bad by prayer meeting standards.

But some wonder why call it the most important meeting of the week? What makes it more important than the weekly worship service? As I pondered that question, I came up with four reasons:

 

It is the place to meet God more easily.

I believe that people more readily hear from God during times of corporate prayer and worship.

Acts 13:1-3 shows us that it was simply in a general time of prayer and fasting that the Holy Spirit gave the Antioch Church direction for Saul and Barnabas. Jeremiah 29:11-13 (a passage written to a group, not an individual) reminds us that when we all seek God (together is implied) we will find the plans He has for us.

An interesting phenomenon takes place at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City (which is a place of 24-hour worship and prayer). Businesspeople regularly sit in the back in the intercessory prayer sessions, laptops plugged in and running. They are  seeking God for direction in their businesses. They believe it is easier to hear God speak there than in their office.

Our people will connect with God and hear Him speak more clearly if they make a corporate prayer time a priority.

 

It is the place to grow as a pray-er.

One of the primary ways that people learn to pray (good or bad) is by hearing others pray. If less mature believers never put themselves in places where they can hear others pray, that can stunt their own prayer growth. The prayer meeting is a great place for such a person to launch out. Hopefully it is a safe place to experiment and try to pray. It is a place they can practice.

One ministry I worked for had a weekly prayer time (voluntary) for our staff. One new believer came every week to that gathering, but she never prayed . . . for a good three years! But then one day, she—voice shaking from fear—prayed a two sentence prayer. A few weeks later she prayed four or five sentences.

Soon she was venturing in almost every week.

 

It is the place of unity.

Both Acts 1:14 and Acts 4:32 talk about the early church praying in one accord. That means they were all in agreement about what they were asking God to do. That kind of unity can be difficult in a local church prayer meeting—especially when we all have different ideas about what we think

God should do. But if we pray together, a natural agreement begins to occur. Why? As we pray with others, we let go of our own agendas and begin to seek God’s. Then a powerful unity can result.

Prayer is the great unifier! In the early days of Pray! magazine’s development, I remember a time when I was touched by this prayer unity. I was new to the National Prayer Committee and a little nervous coming to a meeting with those I viewed as “intercessory giants.” I was put in a prayer group with Evelyn Christenson, Bobbye Byerly, and Glen Shepherd—two conservative believers and a charismatic believer. Despite the fair difference in some of our theologies, total unity was there as we prayed. There are few theological walls in a prayer meeting. 

Churches whose people do not pray together often struggle with disunity. Get people to pray together and they will come into agreement.

 

It is the place of power.

In Acts 4 we see the enabling power of the Holy Spirit baptizing believers—the same believers who were baptized at Pentecost—as they prayed for boldness to proclaim the Name of Jesus. 

As we pray together as a church body--for the things that are on God’s heart rather than the things we want God to do for us to make our lives better—we will see increased power of the Holy Spirit come!

These days it is getting harder and harder to get people to pray together. It is essential to both the health of a church and the spiritual growth of a believer. And with the structure of most church Sunday am worship services, the things a believer gains from participating in a prayer time and never realized. Churches that do not address these needs not see their people mature much in their prayer lives.

Maybe the prayer meeting is the most important meeting of the week!

 

--Jonathan Graf is the president of the Church Prayer Leaders Network. He is available for prayer weekends. You may contact him at jong@harvestprayer.com.


 

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