In A Church’s Prayer Meeting
You’ll find the short answers and the longer answers below. Just want a reminder or intro into prayer meeting? There is the 30 second version below. Want to really find help in motivation and direction as we gather for prayer? Keep reading.
The Short Version
What is prayer? Calling on God to come through on his promises.
How is the prayer meeting organized? With the intention to pray through church needs through both planned and open time.
Who comes to pray? The church gathers to pray to God.
Who should pray aloud? A straightforward reading of Acts suggest those who gather pray.
How should I pray? Sincerely as yourself. No need to pray in a special voice or diction.
How long should I pray? With brevity to make room for other brothers and sisters to pray.
What do I do while others pray? Say “amen” in heart and mind as they pray and conclude with a hardy corporate “amen” aloud.
What will we pray about? The needs of the church and the promises in the gospel.
Will just pray the whole time? There will be brief singing, devotional, and introduction to prayer points. But yes, we are there to pray and all other parts help us and lead us to pray.
What is Prayer?
Calling on God to come through on his promises (calling on the name of the Lord).
This means that we call (we ask, we cry out, and invoke) on God according to his name (his promises, reputation, and character). Like when a child cries out “Daddy!” prayer invokes all that is in dad-ship — provision, protection, love, tenderness, discipline, etc. An example is when Moses calls on God to remember “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…to whom you swore yourself” (Exodus 32). Moses simply requested that God answer according to his own promises and his own name. Likewise, when Jesus taught us to pray he began with, “Hallowed be your name”. The rest of the prayer is an extension of God’s name being honored and revered.
“John Calvin asserts, 'prayer in the Bible is intimately linked with the gospel — God’s promised and provided solution to the problem of human rebellion against him and its consequences. The gospel shape of prayer is evident from the opening pages of the bible —and in particular Genesis 4:26, when people first begin to ‘call open the name of Yahweh’—right through to the end, when the church prays, ‘Come, Lord Jesus!’ (Rev 22:20).” In a sense then prayer is saying, 'Are we there yet, God? Please bring about the things you promised you would.” Prayer in the Bible is linked to the hope of redemption and thus, the gospel.” John Onwucheckwa, Prayer
Organization of Prayer Meeting
The main content of a prayer meeting will be….prayer. We will spend some time hearing short introductions to needs, testimonies, or requests. But we’ll do that with intentional brevity so that the thing we are doing about everything is seeking God, calling him.
Who Comes to Pray?
The church! Are you are a part of your church? Gather with your church (your bothers and sisters in Christ!) to emplore your Father together.
Who Should Pray Aloud?
Acts 2:42  And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (ESV)
It seems a general understanding of the daily gathering for prayer is that those who gathered prayed. Surely, there was some leadership. But prayer was and ought to be a corporate effort.
“Persuade all the brethren to pray aloud. If the younger and less-instructed members shrink from the privilege, tell them they are not to speak to man, but to God. Assure them that it does us all good to hear their groans and ineffectual attempts at utterance. For our own part, a few breakdowns generally come very sweetly home; and, awakening our sympathies, constrain us to aid the brother by our more earnest wrestlings.” CH Spurgeon, Only a Prayer Meeting
How Should I Pray?
Pray honestly as yourself. There is no need to try to pray a certain way or find your “prayer voice”. There is no need to sound more zealous than anyone else. Talk to God in reverence but talk to him truly. God does not hear us better or with greater favor because we sound prayerful. Quite the opposite.
Nor should we pray with humdrum monotony. We are not talking to the mailman about neighborhood happenings. We are talking to the very recipient of our requests — the King of the universe and the creator of all things who raised Jesus (and us) from the dead. Fear, trepidation, ferver, and jubilation are appropriate.
 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.  But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (ESV)
And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
“Let us not degenerate into formality, or we shall be dead while we think we live.” CH Spurgeon, Only a Prayer Meeting
“The cries of the lambs must mingle with the bleating of the sheep, or the flock will lack much of its natural music. As Mr. Beecher well says, " Humble prayers, timid prayers, half-inaudible prayers, the utterances of uncultured lips, may cut a poor figure as lecture-room literature; but are they to be scornfully disdained? If a child may not talk at all till it can speak fluent English, will it ever learn to speak well? There should be a process of education going on continually, by which all the members of the church shall be able to contribute of their experiences and gifts; and in such a course of development, the first hesitating, stumbling, ungrammatical prayer of a confused Christian may be worth more to the church than the best prayer of the most eloquent pastor.” CH Spurgeon, Only a Prayer Meeting
When Others Pray Say “AMEN!”
We will be led by others in prayer over specific ministries or requests. We should listen attentively praying “amen” in our minds and hearts. That means we agree in mind and heart with them and are too praying in spirit. Then, when anyone is finished praying we offer a hardy, not seeking to stand out, “amen” in unison.
 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!
And let all the people say, “Amen!”
Praise the LORD! (ESV)
How Long Should I Pray?
While there is not law about length of prayer we are encouraged to pray in brevity by wisdom and the Word. It is good for prayers prayed aloud to generally last 2-3 minutes. This allows the opportunity for many of us to pray during the course of an hr or more.
 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (ESV)
“Let the brethren labour after brevity. If each person will offer the petition most laid upon his heart by the Holy Spirit, and then make room for another, the evening will be far more profitable, and the prayers incomparably more fervent than if each brother ran round the whole circle of petition without dwelling upon any one point.” CH Spurgeon, Only a Prayer Meeting
“Among the faults, which have largely disappeared from prayer-meetings as they used to be conducted in my early days, these were the principal ones. First, the excessive length of the prayers. A brother would fix himself against the table-pew, and pray for twenty minutes or half-an- hour, and then conclude by asking forgiveness for his shortcomings,—a petition which was hardly sanctioned by those who had undergone the penance of endeavouring to join in his long-winded discourse.” CH Spurgeon, Only a Prayer Meeting
Will it Just Be Prayer?
There will be 1-3 familiar songs sung acapella from the hymnal. No instruments.
There will also be a 10 minute devotional. Preferably from someone besides the Sr. Pastor.
What Will We Pray About?
Of course this could change from meeting to meeting depending on the life of the church. Tragedies may beg our attention. Praises may overcome us. But in general we are praying through the life and needs of the church. As much as possible we will stem our prayer directly from God’s word so that our hearts and desires are aligned to His. From our deacon ministries to our international missions, from spiritual growth to financial stewardship, we simply seek and hope for his will to be done to his glory.
More in Milwood Blog
July 7, 2022Meditations on The Creation of Woman: She Owes Her Existence to God Alone
April 16, 2022Songs for Saints in Streams of Trouble
March 30, 2022Why Come Back Sunday Night?