Low attendance at church prayer meetings sadly demonstrates the spiritual coldness of many Christians. And so, in the introduction, I dare affirm this: believers losing their passion for prayer as a congregation is the result of the deception of Satan, who has the goal of destroying the work of God in the believer (although we know that is ultimately impossible!).
To combat this, we need to remember the importance of prayer meetings. This will change our attitudes so that we long to cry out to God with others.
Let me share three reasons why I love going to my church prayer meetings. With them, I hope to encourage you to make a commitment of faith and obedience to our God and to your church community. The church in Acts was characterized by prayer (2:1; 3:1; 4:24; 8:15; etc.); may it be said of us as well!
1. I talk with my heavenly Father along with my brothers and sisters.
Yes, I know. I can talk to my heavenly Father from home. But God desires that as we come together as a church, together as one body, we speak to our heavenly Father.
I used to converse with my dad alone growing up, something important and good. However, there was something different when the whole family sat at the table and talked with him about the experiences of the day, our challenges, and our fears. Our family relationships grew in harmony, empathy, and joy.
Likewise, I look forward to coming together with brothers in Christ to pray to our Father. Knowing that I can speak to my Father in a context in which “my Father” becomes “our Father” generates in me an urgent desire to participate in that prayer meeting. My brothers in Christ add a different touch to my time with God. As a body, we enjoy the same fellowship and show God’s love for each other.
Furthermore, it is interesting to note that in the Old Testament, God didn’t call His temple a house of preaching or a house of brotherhood, but a house of prayer, thus showing His desire to relate to His people. Through the prophet Isaiah, God said:
“These I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” (Isaiah 56:7)
2. My spiritual life is strengthened.
I have lived it over and over again: arriving at the middle of the week prayer meeting loaded with current trials and the cares of life. Dealing with disbelief and fears. Fighting my own sins.
However, through communion with the saints in prayer, the Holy Spirit revitalizes my soul. I have been able to feel the fullness that the Lord brings through His Word read, explained, and prayed in the midst of prayer with other brothers. My inner being takes courage and receives strength to continue in the battle of faith.
The Lord has promised His support and endorsement of corporate prayer. We see it in Matthew, as Christ speaks to His disciples about the process to follow when they must apply discipline in the church:
“Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Mathew 18:19-20)
Jesus assures an answer to the prayer of the church gathered in harmony, and confirms His presence among said group of believers.
3. It makes me more sensitive to others.
My heart is sensitized by hearing the needs and prayer requests of others, their temptations and trials, bitterness and anxieties, their struggles with family, children, and work. It moves me to compassion, because I can feel the pain they are going through.
James teaches us that we are called to pray for each other:
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:13-16, emphasis added)
My soul is blessed by obeying this command together, not only because I am more empathetic to those who suffer, but also because I see my problems as much smaller than I originally thought. God uses confession and requests for prayer from my other brothers to minister to my soul. Praise be to God!
Prioritize the prayer meeting!
It’s sad to say, but I think one reason we don’t love prayer meetings is because we don’t trust God as much as we should. We doubt that He is capable of doing what He says He can do.
Let’s turn our eyes to our all-powerful God Who has sovereignly willed that His children be included in the extension and administration of His kingdom. And, if we want to see God move in our midst, let’s pray together at church.
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 4:2)
A version of this article originally appeared in Spanish at Coalición Por El Evangelio.