How many times in the book of Acts do you find the local church praying together? Take a guess! The answer is at the bottom of this post, no cheating! 1
The church prayer meeting is probably not the most glamorous meeting in the church calendar (although glamorous is probably not a word that anyone would use to describe any of our meetings but you get the picture) yet it’s probably the most common kind of meeting recorded in the early church. From the very beginning Christians have gathered to pray together, coming before God in acknowledgement of their need of him, laying hold of him for what they long for and praising him for what they’re thankful for.
In our own faltering way that’s what we’ve tried to do as a church since we started 8 ½ years ago and I thought for your encouragement I’d list some of the answers to those prayers that we’ve seen:
- We’ve asked for and seen people become Christians.
- We started with less than 20 people and prayed for God to send more workers, we now have nearly 80 adult members.
- We had no-where to meet and asked God to provide and we’ve now got a place to meet that has been renovated, where the roof no longer leaks, we don’t have to give out blankets in the winter and where we can have an office during the week.
- Twice we’ve called emergency prayer meetings for 2 really poorly children who praise God are still with us and are in good health.
- Two church members have been much in our prayers as they’ve battled cancer, both are still with us and both are spiritually stronger than they were before.
- Having started with mostly young families we prayed for a more diverse age spread and now have a membership with an age spread of 70 years.
- We’ve prayed for God to provide the money we’ve needed and we’ve not yet been broke and instead have been able to give away £1,000s every year to local and overseas mission.
- We longed for God to use us to help plant other churches in the North West and prayed for God to make a way, Ralph came and joined the staff team leaving 2 years later to start City Church Manchester, which is now bigger than our own church.
- We prayed and prayed for a church planting team in an east European city with no church, and last year they saw the first new local believer in living memory.
- We prayed for God to send out workers from our church to other places and the Jones’ and Wilsons are both training for ministry elsewhere.
I could go on, the list is very long. Don’t misunderstand me though I don’t want to give the impression that we’ve never had any difficulties. Grief, loss, trouble and hardship have all been part of our experience and continue to be so, yet in every situation God has never let us down, no prayer has been wasted, no request unheard, he has drawn near to us as we have drawn near to him.
Churches have always gathered to pray, and we will continue to 2, and it’s pretty clear why.