From the very beginning of the church, Christians have gathered to pray (Acts 4:24; Acts 12:5; Acts 21:5). Prayer meetings are valuable for the church as a whole and for the individuals who participate. Each Tuesday morning we meet for prayer at 9am till around 10am, in the Kalbarri Anglican church hall.
Prayer is only for those who believe that God is personal and who want a personal relationship with Him. Christians know prayer works because they have encountered a God who declares, “Talk to me and I will listen.” The apostle John confirms this: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him” (1 John 5:14,15).
Through our prayers, especially with one another, we are demonstrating and validating the faith we have in Jesus. Andrew Murray, the great Christian minister and prolific writer, said, “Prayer depends chiefly, almost entirely, on who we think we are praying to.” It is through the discipline of prayer with one another that we develop a growing intimacy with God, and create a spiritual bond with one another. This is one of the most valuable aspects of praying with one another.
Another valuable benefit of prayer meetings is the confession of our sins to one another. Prayer meetings give us opportunity to obey the command to “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16). Here, James does not necessarily speak of physical healing, but rather of spiritual restoration (Hebrews 12:12,13). He also refers to the forgiveness of God, which enables the believer to become spiritually whole again. James knew that the one who becomes separated from the flock is most susceptible to the dangers of sin. God wants His people to encourage and support one another in loving fellowship, mutual honesty and confession as we pray for and with each other. Such close fellowship helps provide spiritual strength to experience victory over sin.
Another great value of prayer meetings is that believers encourage one another to endure. All of us face obstacles, but by sharing and praying together as Christians, we often help others avoid “bottoming out” in their spiritual lives. The value of corporate prayer lies in its power to unify hearts. Praying before God on behalf of our brothers and sisters has the effect of linking one another spiritually. As we “carry each other’s burdens,” we “fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Where there is prayer, there is unity, which Jesus prayed so fervently for His followers to have (John 17:23).
More than anything else, prayer meetings bring about change. Praying with one another, believers can witness God produce miracles and change hearts.
A prayer meeting is a time of real value as believers seek a deeper intimacy and quiet communion with God at His throne. It is a time of unity with fellow believers in the presence of the Lord. It is a time to care for those around us as we share their burdens. It is a time when God manifests His never-ending love and desire to communicate with those who love Him.