Prayer doesn’t come natural for a church, especially for a new church. Unless a leader in the church is consistently urging the congregation to pray, the congregation is not likely to spend much time in corporate prayer. Fortunately, God sent someone to our church help lead us in this area (as I mentioned in the previous post). Over time our prayer meeting has become a very meaningful part of our church. Its not our largest meeting by far but a steady 20-30% of our congregation attends regularly.
Our church is in it’s eighth year of existence and the longer we last the more I consider this meeting the heart of our church. The meeting starts with a meal. Sometimes this is “pot luck” other times a member will take responsibility for the whole meal. We offer both dinner and childcare in order to make it possible for working families to attend on a weeknight.
The prayer meeting starts just after 7pm and is a solid 1.5 hours of prayer. I’ve been to prayer meeting before where there’s a Bible study and prayer requests that take up about 55 minutes and the actual prayer is less than 5 min. Honestly, that’s probably the way it would be here if God didn’t hadn’t sent the Catalano’s to lead in the area of prayer.
An elder usually leads us through the prayer meeting giving us leadership and keeping us focused. We start by simply praising God. The floor is opened for anyone to pray. We then pray for our pastors and missionaries. We close the meeting by praying for church concerns. Members are encouraged to come to the meeting if they have needs and be prayed for.
Over the short history of our church we’ve gathered together and asked God to start churches, heal people, save people, and on and on… the great thing is… He’s actually done it! The regularity of our prayer meeting creates a clear link between prayer and the progress of our church.
So, church planter… as you plan and create strategy don’t neglect to lead your people to cry out to God. If you, like me, are tempted to proceed with prayer as central in your work. If this is you, I pray that God will provide someone to lead your congregation in the area of prayer.