My Thoughts About Prayer
For the last ten years, I have written over 600 articles related to prayer. Some are good. Some… not so good. And a few, in my opinion, are life-giving.
All this writing and thinking has helped me grow in my understanding of prayer and how others often view prayer.
When I started this blog, the top issue facing the church as identified by Christians was the need to pray more. While I still think most Christians feel that we should pray more, I don’t get the impression most of us actually want to pray more.
It’s like how we feel about going on a diet. I will agree I need to eat healthier, but I’m glad when someone offers me a doughnut.
My Thoughts About Prayer Meetings
This becomes even more evident when we put on prayer meetings. There is often no excitement about going to a prayer meeting. Then when we go, there is often very little praying. You may hear someone speak about prayer, and then listen to them pray, but you may not be asked to pray much.
Then when we pray, we are often instructed to tell God what we want Him to do for us. We will end with, “if it’s Your will,” of course. We finish the meeting wondering if that did anything. There has got to be more to it than this.
God Tells Us How to Have a Prayer Meeting
God has given some instructions in 2 Chronicles 7:14 regarding holding a prayer meeting.
Solomon had just finished building the temple David had in his heart to build. God had showed up. He sent fire from heaven to consume the offering and followed that by filling the temple with His glory.
It was in this time that God gave us this verse instructing a prayer meeting for Him to move on behalf of Israel. Why did God give them this instruction at this time?
- Could God not enjoy the moment because He knew Israel would turn away?
- Was God already thinking of how He would need to punish them?
- Did God regret making mankind?
Wrong Views About God
Oftentimes, we think of prayer as an outlet to twist God’s arm to have favor on us. We think passages like these are concessions from God. He might relent from His anger if we put on a big show of humility.
A wrong view of God will negatively affect how we pray.
The Older Brother and the Prodigal Son
- Are we like the older son sulking in the field because we are just a slave in God’s eye?
- Or, like the prodigal son, do we think God is some cosmic killjoy keeping us from good things?
Or, do we see God as a Heavenly Father coming toward us inviting us into His celebration over us? All that He has is ours. He runs with joy toward us when He sees our coming to Him.
How Did the Israelites Respond to God?
The Israelites dedicate the temple, fire comes from heaven to consume the offering, then God’s glory fills the temple. When they saw the Lord’s response, they shout:
The Lord is good and His love endures forever!
God’s instruction on prayer meetings doesn’t come from a reluctant God, but a loving Father offering guidance to help a nation that He loves. He was trying to keep them in the place of His blessings. This view helps us maintain a healthy perspective of God as we come before Him.
What Does God Say About You?
Before we go to the passage, allow me to take you through a quick activity. Read this through before going on to the rest of the article.
I want you to close your eyes after you read this. Imagine the room you are in. Think through where you are related to the main way in. Now, imagine God coming into the room. He walks over to you. He wants to tell you what He thinks about you.
OK, now try it out, and listen to what you think He would say. Stay in the moment for awhile.
How to Have a Prayer Meeting God Wants
1. “If My people, who are called by My name…”
What did Jesus just say to you? Almost every time when God speaks to me, He starts with, “Kevin, I love you.” He then follows with other good things, even when I didn’t think too highly of myself. God is a good Father who is proud of His children.
God starts His instructions on having a prayer meeting by recommitting Himself to them. We should do the same. He enjoys spending time with us, and we need that reminder when we come before Him.
2. “Will humble themselves…”
Humility is not thinking poorly about ourselves; it’s seeing ourselves as God sees us. We just started with hearing how God views us. He is not chastising us for not being better… He thinks we are wonderful.
When we humble ourselves, we are stating our dependence on Him. We need Him because He is our everything. Without Him, we can do nothing. Declare your need for Him now.
3. “Pray and seek My face.”
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us and that we have what we ask (1 John 5:14-15). Take a few minutes to ask God for specific things. Don’t demand things from Him, but allow God to know what is on your heart. Now, also ask Him if there is anything He wants to do and pray for those things, as well.
4. “Turn from their wicked ways.”
For yourself and for those you are praying for, confess. Confess attitudes, actions, and mindsets that you have that are against God’s ways. Commit yourself to following God and pray for others to do the same.
5. “Then I will hear from heaven… will forgive… and will heal their land.”
Believe God for what He said He will do. He will hear, forgive, and heal. Thank Him for that. Praise Him. Celebrate. Praying to God should leave us more hopeful and joyful than when we started. God is good and He loves to hear our prayers.
What Would You Add to a Prayer Meeting?
I hope you find this discussion helpful. Prayer meetings can be exciting, life-giving activities for the church and for you. It does have to be just listening to someone else pray, but it can be a place where all connect with God. May this article give you ideas to breathe life to your next prayer meeting.
I really appreciate your partnership with me as we journey together in prayer. Let me know in the comments below what you would add for a effective prayer meeting.
Prayer Meeting Resources
- Only a Prayer Meeting by Charles Spurgeon
- And the Place Was Shaken by John Franklin
- Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala
- 7 Steps to Lead Others into God’s Presence (on this blog).