The church prayer meeting ought to be life-giving, imparting grace to help and strength for the journey. For this to happen, part of the process of praying together as a church must involve our approach when we come together in the prayer meeting. There are things which each brother or sister must bring to the prayer meeting if the time is to be profitable and effectual–an open heart, faith, desire, Spirit-given earnestness, humility, transparency, expectation, and actual verbal expressions of confession and request. There must be an “opening of the heart”, as the 18th century Methodists often experienced in their fellowship meetings, which they actually called “the experience meeting.” There should be times, when the saints assemble, when we not only experience the ministry of the Word and the ministry of the Spirit, but also experience one another.
This week at our church prayer meeting this very reality occurred. The gentle breezes of the Spirit began to blow graciously, quietly, as one of our elders clearly felt that the church should not just pray together for needs and requests, but that we should pray directly for and pray over anyone who specifically desired prayer for their life or family.
After ten minutes of general prayer, a chair was set in the middle of the prayer meeting and the time was opened up to pray specifically for each other. This was optional of course; obviously no one was expected or manipulated to come; the elder gave the direction that whoever desired to be prayed for, was to take the chair and share their prayer need, if it was proper and fitting to share in public; if not, they were to simply ask for prayer.
Soon one after another, different brothers or sisters began take the chair; then as directed, 2 people would pray spontaneously for each one, as brethren were gathered around them. Quite a number came to be prayed for, with proper, honest sharing and confession of needs, which were only edifying and good.
From the beginning of the time of prayer, the spiritual breeze was blowing; there was a quickening of life, real grace, heart-felt love, humility, fervency, and effectual prayer that brought an impartation of strength, help, and grace to those present. Tears flowed, love was felt, strength was imparted, burdens were lifted, and faith was given in fresh ways.
To pray effectually for one another, up close and personal, is very real, experiential, and strengthening. It is love in action and love imparted. We knew the Lord was hearing and answering us as a church for one another. The Spirit was blowing fresh life as a breeze in the prayer meeting, with effects of power, love, and help.
At the close of the prayer meeting, we sang together from our hearts what we had just experienced together toward one another:
Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds,
Is like to that above.
Before our Father’s throne
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
Our comforts and our cares.
We share our mutual woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.
When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart
And hope to meet again.
Praying for one another in your own church brings divine blessing in ways that will come in no other way. It is love revealed, love expressed, and love exemplified.
Brethren, pray for one another.
– Mack Tomlinson