A blessing for more than three decades – that’s my sincere testimony about our church’s mid-week gathering for the study of God’s Word and prayer – which we commonly refer to as ‘Church Prayer Meeting’. On Tuesday nights (8 pm), as we regularly met together, we rejoiced in the Lord as we sang our hymns, meditated on God’s Word and prayed together.
However, the COVID safe measures hindered our gathering; the result was that we met online for the church prayer meeting. Though our online meetings were held efficiently and orderly, they lacked the joy of us coming together as a congregation to have fellowship with our God and one another. Besides, it had been very tedious to plan and hold the online prayer meeting.
Now that we are allowed to meet physically (with the safety protocols), the Church Prayer Meeting is being held again in the SingPost auditorium every Tuesday night. We urge all the church members and friends to come together for our prayer meeting and be blessed by the blessed ministry of the Holy Spirit amongst us through hymn-singing, meditation of the Word, prayer and fellowship.
As announced some time ago, the live webcast of the Church Prayer Meeting has been halted. The webcast of the entire meeting was made available only because of the mandated restrictions to our physical gatherings. The proper practice is that believers ought to come together in one place for the meetings. It is the Scriptural injunction and pattern that the church members get together to pray. Secondly, it is improper and unwise to share over the internet the prayer items that we mention amongst ourselves during the prayer meeting. Nonetheless, members can listen to the sermons preached during the prayer meeting from Bible Witness Web Radio’s ‘Faithful Men’ segment (available from the on-demand page).
“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication…” (Acts 1:14). True Christians (not pretentious) within the church have always been fond of coming together to pray. The church recorded in the Scriptures has always been characterised by prayer gatherings of her members. The church’s legacy in the New Testament portrays it as wholly given to prayer to give thanks to God and to plead for the Gospel work, the preachers, the fellow believers. Though faced with many treacherous circumstances, the church thrived everywhere by the continuous engagement of her people in prayer.
The record of the early church in the Book of Acts alone mentions prayer to God in heaven about 50 times. Most of the recorded prayers in Acts are public prayers, though a few are private ones, such as Cornelius’ prayer. The prayers recorded in the first four chapters of Acts are all public prayers led by the apostles. Various people offered the prayers in this book: Christ’s disciples in general (1:13-14), new believers (2:42), apostles (6:4; 8:15), a deacon (7:59-60), leaders of a church (13:3), a centurion (10:4), the concerned brethren of a church (12:5), women (16:13), a repenting persecutor of believers (9:5), etc. The book of the Acts of the Apostles also records prayers of people in different situations: as the disciples waited for the power of the Spirit (chp. 1), in appointing an apostle (chp. 1), for the releasing of Christ’s witnesses (chp. 4), at death (chp. 7), on a journey (chp. 9), when believers were still in prison (chps 12, 16), while thrusting missionaries forth (chp. 13), in strengthening churches (chp. 14), when fasting and praying (chps 13, 14), while facing persecution (chp. 16), in bidding goodbye (chp. 20), and in thanking God for food (chp. 27), etc. Indeed, prayer is strategic in Acts – from close to the start (1:14) to near the end (28:15)!
There are some unique practical benefits when church members pray together. Though more can be listed as benefits of praying together, a few are listed below:
It is downright disobedience and a dishonourable attitude to consider church prayer meetings as not obligatory. Church members and leaders must put off the tendency to think of prayer gatherings as an optional “extra-curricular activity” in the church’s life.
When church members come together to pray, they honour God, who Himself has sovereignly ordained the corporate praying of the church. May God, who down through the ages has been pleased to work out His mighty purposes through the churches that have prayed together, also grant us the grace to increase our commitment to pray together and thus be channels of His blessings.