As I write this I’ve just come home from the Friday morning prayer meeting. It is led by Ann, and is a great way for those of us that come to focus our thoughts on God, to enjoy spending time in his presence, and to share with Him and each other our thoughts, hopes and concerns. The pattern is Bible study, followed by the leader’s prayer, followed by open prayer. We are also blessed to have the monthly Saturday morning prayer meeting led by Andre – this meeting has a stronger emphasis on open prayer and happens on the last Saturday of the month.
Prayer meetings can be a bit intimidating for some who are not used to them. “What if there are awkward silences? What if my prayer isn’t as good as everybody else’s? What if I can’t think of anything to say? Perhaps I’d better leave those meetings to the people who are better at praying out loud than I am….” Actually the best way to answer such questions would be to come along a few times and see how you get on. Jesus offered different models of prayer – In Matthew 6 it is suggested that it is good to pray privately on your own – without making a show of it. But in Matthew 18 we are told that when two or three gather in Jesus’ name He is there with them. Prayer meetings, then, are not ‘instead of’ personal prayers; they are in addition to them. And actually they can be very useful if you are finding it difficult to pray on your own – something that many Christians will struggle with every now and then.
It’s also worth turning to God in prayer when big decisions have to be made – not to get out of making them (!) – but rather to share our plans with Him and seek his blessing on them. Just at the moment the church has a number of decisions to make. John and Joanna B. have done a wonderful job heading up our contemporary service – so how shall we develop the service now that they are moving on to pasture new? The parlour area of the church is where most of our building users enter and exit the building – so can we develop it to make it a more user friendly space? And the Circuit has asked each church to come up with a Mission Action Plan (which we are calling the 1% challenge – read on to learn more!) so this will also involve continued decision making.
Those attending the prayer meetings have already started praying about some of these things which is a great comfort to me. After all, the old proverb says, ‘Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.’ (Proverbs 19: 21) In all of our decision making, and in all the work we do as a church community we need to show God we are dependent on Him – not independent of Him! How do we do that? The prayer meeting is a good start…..
Rev Andy Clark