Notes and quotes from The Power of Prayer Meetings by Peter Masters.
1. In the early church, there were two distinct types of services – a pattern still followed today. The more public gatherings for worship and instruction – referred to at length in 1 Corinthians 14 – led by pastors, teachers and other leaders in the church. The other being the distinctive prayer meeting. Less ‘public’ and less formal. No teaching element. All those attending appear to have been believers. Both men and women participated.
2. “To this day the prayer meeting is often the least regarded and supported gathering in the church programme.”
3. Most believers agree in theory that the prayer meeting is the ‘power house’ of the church.
4. “A church prayer meeting is not a season for surprises, shocks, novelties and innovations. Nor is it an opportunity for individuals to bang particular drums, or promote causes that may not be in accord with the concerns of the whole prayer meeting. It is certainly not a time for the airing of complaints. This is a gathering in which all will be agreed. There will be an appropriate ‘agenda’, and common desires, and people will broadly pray in agreement with those things.”
5. Don’t make the prayer meeting an optional extra.
6. In the early church – ‘many’ – gathered to pray. “A great rebuke to numerous believers today.”
7. Masters like Spurgeon ain’t no fan of combining the weekly prayer meeting with the weekly Bible Study. Obviously it is better than having no prayer meeting at all. Spurgeon could not understand why churches should want to do this and asked how a combined meeting could do justice to either purpose.
8. What are some of the benefits of corporate prayer? 1) Bonding the church; 2) Demonstrate dependence on God’s power; 3) Focus minds on the church and its mission; 4) Extends faith’s horizons; 5) Provides schooling in prayer.
9. “The prayer meeting provides a clear and emphatic demonstration of our complete dependence upon God’s power for all our work.”
10. “In the prayer gathering, preoccupation with ourselves as individual believers, slips away, and we become a group of people longing for the blessing of others, and the prosperity of the cause.”
11. The church that prays together, stays together.
12. It is at the church prayer meeting that the young in faith learn the way of prayer, and even those who are older in the faith are lifted and stirred by the fresh earnestness of the young.
13. The meeting ordained by Christ is first and foremost an asking meeting.
14. “Of course we ought to pray for revival, but surely the ministries that we actively pursue, in season and out of season, are bound to occupy most of the time.”
15. How should we pray? With great feeling and earnestness. Using direct and plain language. By means of many contributors. Addressing prayer to the Father. All joining in the loud ‘Amen’.
16. “We should pray as those who truly believe that Christ is present and the Father is listening.”
17. “As many people as possible should pray audibly in the prayer meeting.”
18. In prayer meetings at the Metropolitan Tabernacle we reserve a final portion of time for brief, single item prayers, which may be only two or three sentences long.
19. A loud amen signifies attentive minds and fervent hearts.
20. “Every great blessing in the life of a church is obtained through prayer.”
21. Throughout church history, the story is the same, all the great awakenings and reformations beginning with the Lord waking up souls to pray for these things.