Arminian Today

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Hard To Find A Prayer Meeting

Leonard Ravenhill said that the prayer meeting was the Cinderella of the Church.  He said that she (the prayer meeting) was unloved and she was tucked away in the castle.  Yet beauty is truly found in the prayer meeting.  It was prayer, after all, that Jesus sent His disciples to after His ascension to the Father (Acts 1:14).  It was on the day of Pentecost, while the disciples were at prayer, that the gift of the Holy Spirit came.  After Pentecost, the disciples continue to pray (Acts 2:42).

In fact, prayer marked the early disciples.  All through the book of Acts we find the church at prayer.  In Acts 3:1 that Peter and John were heading to the temple during the hour of prayer.  It seems from this text that the Apostles kept the hour of prayer.  They continued to seek God.  These Apostles did not trust in their Pentecostal experience in Acts 2 to keep them.  They kept on praying, kept on seeking.  Paul the Apostle would later write that disciples are to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), to be devoted to prayer (Colossians 4:2), to be constant in prayer (Romans 12:12).  Prayer was not then some vain ritual.  Prayer was their direct communication with the Father through the Lord Jesus (John 14:13-14; Hebrews 4:14-16).  The Apostles had seen the power of prayer in the life of the Lord Jesus (Luke 5:16).  In fact, it was the prayer life of Jesus that caused the Apostles to come to the Lord and ask Him to teach them to pray as well (Luke 11:1).  They heard the words of Jesus to always pray and not give up (Luke 18:1).

And yet what about us?  Is my life marked by prayer?  Is my life marked by my seeking His face?  If prayer was a focus for the early disciples, why not also today?  If the early disciples needed to pray, we also ought to seek God’s face as well!  We have exchanged prayer for technology.  We have substituted the presence of God with emotions.  We have convinced ourselves that we can make it though with human power but not with the power of God.  As E.M. Bounds wrote, “Men are looking for better methods; God is looking for better men.”  God does not anoint methods.  God anoints people.  God may very well work through some of our methods but He is looking for people who will cry to Him and those He will use for His glory.

Prayer meetings are hard to find these days.  There was a time when the church would often meet to pray.  I remember as a boy going to New Year’s Eve prayer meetings and I remember going with my parents to the prayer meetings at our church.  Some of those prayer meetings were more teaching and more talking than actual prayer meetings (what one man called “worthless prayer meetings”).  When I was a young disciple, Wednesday night was often called “prayer meetings” instead of “family night.”  These days, prayer meetings are hard to find.  Churches have many programs but the prayer meeting is all but abandoned these days.

We need a revival of the prayer meeting.  We need churches that preach the truth to not only preach the truth but pray.  If Jesus is truly on His throne, this should stir us to prayer.  If Jesus is truly risen from the dead, this should stir us to prayer.  If Jesus is our faithful high priest, this should stir us to prayer.  If we look at our fallen sinful world and yet see the promise of God in Psalm 110:1, this should stir us to prayer.  If we have truly experienced the gospel, this should stir us to prayer.

I pray that the prayer meeting makes a comeback.  I pray that God will stir His children to pray.  I pray that the Holy Spirit, who teaches us to pray (Romans 8:26-27), will stir up His people to prayer.  The cults are seeking their false gods.  The false religions of this world are seeking their false gods.  How much more should we who know the true and living God not seek His face?  We often seek God for His hand but oh for us to seek His face!  Our God alone hears our prayers (Psalm 65:2).  Our God alone is able to move mountains (Mark 11:22-24).  Our God alone is able to save.  Let us seek His face!

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/25/2014 at 4:26 PM

2 Responses

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  1. I have heard such thoughts before, and would agree. Prayer meetings don’t serve felt needs or whatever other seeker sensitive fad thing is desired.

    At the same time, when I have attended prayer meetings, they are often uncomfortable, stilted, hijacked by extroverts, and frequently delve into gossip and slander.

    I’m wondering if institutionalizing prayer meetings defeats the purpose? Those in the upper room weren’t there because it was Wednesday night and that’s what you do on Wednesday night cuz the church calendar said so.

    Wondering your thoughts on that.

    jeff

    06/25/2014 at 6:42 PM

    • I agree. A prayer meeting needs to be focused. I don’t mind if there is “shotgun” praying where we just pray for whatever we can think of but I enjoy a focused prayer meeting where we are praying for revival, for the sick, for souls to be saved, or whatever but there is a focus. You are right that too often so called prayer meetings drift into gossip (“Let’s pray for sister Beth” which leads to “What happened to her?” followed by “She is in sin”) or personal agendas. I have attended prayer meetings where a person came to basically teach us to pray instead of praying. Because he felt he had the gift of teaching, he dominated our meetings by trying to teach us about prayer. It wasn’t the time nor the place and so the prayer meeting failed.

      There needs to be a prayer focus that the church agrees to pray about. I think this keeps the disciples focused on what we are here to do. Just my thoughts on the matter.


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