What’s the Purpose of Your Prayer Meeting? (2022)

It Is Important to Design Prayer Meetings with Participants in Mind

By Jonathan Graf

What’s the Purpose of Your Prayer Meeting? (1)A while ago, I was engaged as a consultant by a mega-church that wanted to improve as a praying church. In the course of our discussion, the senior pastor shocked me when he said, “I can’t recommend our weekly prayer meeting to many believers.”

Why?

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About 8-10 people attended the meeting (in this church of 6,000). They were sincere people. But they were all seasoned intercessors who did not know what it meant to pray in a public gathering. They all prayed exactly as they would have in their own prayer closet. They practiced personal prayer in a group setting.

Each one who prayed, would pray for 10-20 minutes at a time, covering everything they could think to cover. And some would do so with emotion that was a little “over the top” for those around them. Tears and loud sobbing were a part of it. For the normal individual, it was downright uncomfortable.

This pastor felt—and rightly so—that the prayer meeting would set less mature pray-ers back, rather than teach and encourage them to participate.

What’s the Purpose?

Asking “What is the purpose of your prayer meeting?” may seem like a silly question. You want to seek God. You want His power, and direction, His will to be released through your prayers. You want to see your church become more dependent on Him. What do you mean, What’s the purpose of our prayer meeting?”

Recently, I participated in leading an evening of prayer at a church. It was the culminating event to a conference that had several speakers. The pastor wanted all of us—him, me and the other leader–to each feel free to step to the microphone and lead a section of the prayer time. We had a little planning for direction ahead of time, but not a lot.

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The prayer meeting was fine as prayer meetings go, but something happened that got me thinking about the purpose of a prayer meeting.

At one point in the service, the microphone was opened to individuals to come up and pray. At first, instruction was given as to some general topics (schools in the area, etc.), but as was typical at prayer meetings, it become a mix of topics that were on the hearts of the pray-ers. What struck me was that the intensity of the praying increased. So much so, that soon the prayer meeting became not participatory for all, but it became a spectator event where the congregation watched as only intense intercessors prayed. After a while we got them back into groups to pray on a selected topic and the meeting was participatory for everyone again.

When I go into a church and lead a prayer meeting, I have two primary purposes in mind—and neither one has anything to do with seeking God or power, though those are important. I want to show a more dynamic way to conduct a prayer meeting, and I want to do so in a way that will draw in the weakest and most immature pray-er. I do not want to intimidate anyone.

Not all prayer meetings need to have that purpose. Mine do because of what I have been brought in to accomplish in a church when I speak there. I am trying to get the average pew sitter engaged in prayer.

My point is that a good prayer meeting leader should think about purpose when he or she plans the meeting. What do you want to accomplish with this prayer meeting? Do you want it to be accessible to all, or should it be an outlet for the strongest intercessors to go after God’s heart? If the former, then you have to watch format and passion. If the latter then you can’t worry that you only have five people coming to the prayer meeting.

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If you are calling the meeting in order to “storm the gates of heaven” over a specific situation, than there is no problem with intercessors “cutting loose” and praying strong, bold, emotional, and even long prayers. But if you want to have a prayer gathering that is accessible to every maturity-level believer in your church, then it needs to be formatted in a way where even the weakest pray-er would feel comfortable there, and can see how to participate. That probably means restricting the length of individual prayers and having more prayer in smaller groups.

Many churches try to design their primary prayer meeting so it can be a place where any believer can learn, participate and experience prayer. This means you use a variety of prayer methods, not sticking to the same format week after week. (Remember people’s prayer styles?) You make sure that people understand proper protocol when praying in a group: short prayers on one topic, have a leader give the prayer subjects, break up how you pray—sometimes in small groups, sometimes as a large group. If you allow the seasoned intercessors to “cut loose” in this format, soon it will only be them praying at these gatherings.

But churches also recognize the need to have a seasoned team of prayer warriors whom it can call on to pray fervently, with no restrictions, over important issues of deep need. Kind of like a prayer swat team! There are times to free those people to pray anyway they want. But in most churches, that place is not the weekly prayer meeting that is available to all believers. There might be some times when a subject comes up at a regular all-church prayer gathering where you want these warriors to intercede. That’s okay. Let them know ahead of time if you can. But if that is not possible, in the midst of the meeting, you could say, “We need our prayer warriors freely to press in on this issue.” They will.

Even the Apostle Paul recognized different purposes for prayer and levels of intercession. In Colossians, he told the believers, “Epaphras . . . is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured” (Colossians 4:12). Here, he referenced an intense level of prayer. But in writing to Timothy, he reminded him that “petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving [should] be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4). All levels of prayer, different types of prayer should be used in praying for the salvation of people. Different types of prayer for different purposes.

What about Multi-Church Prayer?

Understanding a prayer meetings’ purpose is also important when you try to bring churches in a community together to pray. If you have multiple theological streams of intercessors together, you should still clarify your primary purpose. If it is unity, then you want to do everything you can to assure that it is formatted to appeal to the most conservative church that was invited. Unity is more important than allowing prayer practices that might make some uncomfortable. You want to bring everyone in.

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But if your purpose is something else (and it is perfectly fine to have a different purpose)–say to bring intercessors together to do spiritual warfare over your community–then you may not need to worry about making the meeting “comfortable” for every possible participant.

Don’t forget to consider these things when you plan your prayer times. Recognize that if the prayer time is geared toward one purpose, then you may not see something you want to see—more people, deeper intercession, etc. Also recognize that your prayer meeting will be more effective if you format it with a purpose in mind. Also remember that if others don’t understand or share your purpose, they can work against you. It might be important to explain your purpose with the group so they can understand what you are trying to accomplish, and what might be appropriate within that purpose.

Conclusion

While some of you may be sighing, “I just want to get people to come out to a prayer meeting. Now I have to think about purpose, too?” Don’t feel stress. It really is not that hard. If you want a gathering accessible to all believers, then a few simple principles need to be put in place.

If it is not important to accommodate the less mature pray-er, that is perfectly okay. But remember that, like my opening illustration, the gathering will eventually reflect the prayer styles of the most dominant intercessors. There is lots of value in all kinds of prayer and with all kinds of purposes. Lots of spiritual power can come out of that for your church . . . and that is good.

What’s the Purpose of Your Prayer Meeting? (2)What’s the Purpose of Your Prayer Meeting? (3)–Jonathan Graf is the publisher of PrayerShop Publishing and Prayer Connect magazine and the director of the Church Prayer Leaders Network. In this capacity he regularly consults with church leadership teams on how to grow prayer in their church. He is also the author of a number of books on prayer, including Restored Power: Becoming a Praying Church One Tweak at a Time (PrayerShop 2016) from which this article was adapted.

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Have access to many more articles on growing prayer in your church by joining the Church Prayer Leaders Network.

FAQs

What is the purpose of prayer meeting? ›

The prayer meeting, in a Christian's perspective, is the driving force of the church. It is where the church comes together to find comfort, learn how to be devoted, and seek answers. In Christianity, prayer meetings can be used to promote "union" and "brotherly love" between attendees.

What is the most important purpose of prayer? ›

Prayer provides answers

Praying and listening to the answers God gives you can help you better understand your purpose in life. God will help you understand why you are here and what you can do to return to live with Him after this life.

What are the three purposes of prayer? ›

adoration - praising God for his greatness and admitting dependence on him. confession - owning up to sin and asking for God's mercy and forgiveness. thanksgiving - thanking God for his many blessings, eg health or children.

How do you respond to a prayer meeting? ›

The correct (and gracious) response is 'Thank you'. “Thoughts” is the secular equivalent to the social use of prayer. i.e. "You will be in my thoughts." Hence my response has a double meaning. Depending on the situation/person, this statement (pray for) is a sincere offer of support from a believer.

What does the Bible say about prayer meeting? ›

When We Pray Together, We Experience God's Presence. Matthew 18:20 (NLT) For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Ephesians 3:12 (NLT) Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God's presence.

What is the value of prayer? ›

PRAYER constitutes the kernel of human existential reality. The act of prayer links every human being with God. The core of the human self overcomes its immense loneliness in this universe by engaging in the act of prayer. Every word uttered during this act liberates us from fear and pain.

What are the benefits of praying together? ›

The Benefits of Praying Together
  • Praying together connects us with God. As we pray, we connect with the one who is the source of all strength. ...
  • Prayer builds intimacy with one another. ...
  • Praying together connects us as a team. ...
  • Praying together generates empathy.
9 Sept 2020

What are the benefits of praying to God? ›

Prayer can foster a sense of connection, whether it's to a higher power, what a person finds important in life or their values, said Ryan Bremner, an associate professor of psychology at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. Prayer can reduce feelings of isolation, anxiety and fear as well.

What are the 4 types of prayer? ›

Forms of prayer. The tradition of the Catholic Church highlights four basic elements of Christian prayer: (1) Prayer of Adoration/Blessing, (2) Prayer of Contrition/Repentance, (3) Prayer of Thanksgiving/Gratitude, and (4) Prayer of Supplication/Petition/Intercession.

What is the real meaning of prayer? ›

Definition of prayer

noun. a devout petition to God or an object of worship. a spiritual communion with God or an object of worship, as in supplication, thanksgiving, adoration, or confession. the act or practice of praying to God or an object of worship.

How do you respond to praying for you? ›

"I'll Pray for You"
  1. It is a comfort that you will be thinking of me.
  2. That's reassuring, thanks.
  3. Thank you for thinking of me.
  4. Thank you, it is nice to know that.
  5. Thank you for your good wishes.
  6. (smiling) Please do. I'm flattered. ( Marvin)
  7. Thanks. I appreciate you are keeping me in your thoughts. ( Dustin)

What do you pray in a prayer meeting? ›

Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, and power and strength, be unto you our God forever and ever. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen. Mighty God, thank you that you hear and answer our prayers. Hear our prayer and be in the midst of our meeting today.

How powerful is praying together? ›

Praying Together amplifies the power in our prayers. Praying Together provides comfort for our pain. Praying Together reminds us we are part of the Church. Praying Together puts us all on the same needy level.

What Jesus says about prayer? ›

Summary. Jesus taught, “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men … but when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your father who is unseen.”

How do you conduct a prayer meeting? ›

To conduct a prayer meeting, try starting with a few minutes of silence to allow people to connect to God individually. Or, sing a couple of worship songs to set the tone for the meeting. After that, have a short discussion about prayers and open the floor to prayer requests.

Why is prayer so powerful? ›

Prayer also energizes the heart of a believer through the power of the Spirit. Consistent prayer also releases the power of God's blessing on your life and circumstances. Jesus said, “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.

Why is prayer important essay? ›

Prayer binds us with God and brings us nearer to Him. Prayer is a must because; it gives us strength and courage to face our life problems. It gives us peace of mind, comfort and consolation. Prayer to God is also necessary because, it has magic power.

Why is morning prayer important? ›

1) Prayer in the morning is so important because you meet God before you meet the Devil. 2) You meet God before you meet the circumstances of life. 3) You talk to God before you talk to many people. 4) You fellowship with God before you fellowship with other people.

How does praying with a person build or strengthen relationships? ›

Praying together increases trust and intimacy with spouse:

Praying together helps you show and receive trust that strengthens the bonds of intimacy in your relationship. Praying together helps you show and receive trust that strengthens the bonds of intimacy in your relationship.

What is the importance of prayer in your life and to your family? ›

prayer helps couples deal with stress, enables them to focus on shared beliefs and hopes for the future, and allows them to deal constructively with challenges and problems in their relationship and in their lives.

What does Bible say about praying for each other? ›

The Bible commands us to pray for one another, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16, ESV). God manifests Himself in many ways when praying together and for each other.

What do you think power of prayer? ›

Prayer and meditation can influence our state of mind, which then have an effect on our state of body. It can help with anxiety, sadness, blood pressure, sleep, digestion and breathing. It also can influence thinking.

What is the best form of prayer? ›

1 )Adoration is generally considered the most noble form of prayer, a kind of prostration of the whole being before God. 2 ) Service of mankind is service to God means that selfless service for the cause of humanity is as important as worshiping to God .

What are the 7 prayers? ›

Prayer topics include:Confession,Salvation, Release, Submission, Praise, Promise, and Blessing.

What is prayer biblically? ›

Prayer in the Hebrew Bible is an evolving means of interacting with God, most frequently through a spontaneous, individual, unorganized form of petitioning and/or thanking.

What's the difference between pray and prayer? ›

Pray is the verb ("I pray when I go to church.") and prayer is the noun ("We said a prayer for the safety of the troops.")

Is talking to God the same as praying? ›

Talking to God is the same as praying, because prayer is at its core, conversation with God. When we are praying we are communioning with the Father and drawing near to Him through the many forms of prayer.

How do you start a prayer? ›

We open the prayer by addressing God because he is the one we are praying to. Start by saying "Father in Heaven" or "Heavenly Father." We address Him as our Heavenly Father, because He is the father of our spirits. He is our creator and the one to whom we owe everything we have, including our lives.

How many prayers are in the Bible? ›

Prayer is a very important part of a Christian's life. I've been told that there are over 650 different prayers recorded in the Bible.

What is strategic prayer? ›

Prayer, Spiritual Warfare. This writer defines strategic prayer as “prayer through which a person joins God as he works out his grand strategy to accomplish his will and purposes in the world.” True biblical strategic prayer is strategic because it moves God to power his own strategy for his purposes in the world.

What are the benefits of praying together? ›

The Benefits of Praying Together
  • Praying together connects us with God. As we pray, we connect with the one who is the source of all strength. ...
  • Prayer builds intimacy with one another. ...
  • Praying together connects us as a team. ...
  • Praying together generates empathy.
9 Sept 2020

What is the power of praying together? ›

Praying Together amplifies the power in our prayers. Praying Together provides comfort for our pain. Praying Together reminds us we are part of the Church. Praying Together puts us all on the same needy level.

How do I start a prayer meeting? ›

Gather Together Prayer

Mighty God, thank you that you hear and answer our prayers. Hear our prayer and be in the midst of our meeting today. Thank you that your presence calms the troubled sea of life and speaks peace to our souls. Give us clear minds and peaceful hearts as we gather together.

What are the 5 basic prayer? ›

The basic forms of prayer are adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and supplication, abbreviated as A.C.T.S. The Liturgy of the Hours, the seven canonical hours of the Catholic Church prayed at fixed prayer times, is recited daily by clergy, religious, and devout believers.

How does praying with a person build or strengthen relationships? ›

Praying together increases trust and intimacy with spouse:

Praying together helps you show and receive trust that strengthens the bonds of intimacy in your relationship. Praying together helps you show and receive trust that strengthens the bonds of intimacy in your relationship.

What is the importance of prayer in your life and to your family? ›

prayer helps couples deal with stress, enables them to focus on shared beliefs and hopes for the future, and allows them to deal constructively with challenges and problems in their relationship and in their lives.

What does Bible say about praying for each other? ›

The Bible commands us to pray for one another, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16, ESV). God manifests Himself in many ways when praying together and for each other.

Why is prayer so powerful? ›

Prayer also energizes the heart of a believer through the power of the Spirit. Consistent prayer also releases the power of God's blessing on your life and circumstances. Jesus said, “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.

What is prayer simple? ›

1 : words spoken to God a prayer for peace. 2 : the act of praying to God We knelt in prayer. 3 : a strong hope or wish It's our prayer that you will return safely. 4 : a set form of words used in praying. 5 : a religious service that is mostly prayers evening prayer.

Is it important to pray? ›

Prayer is an important way to experience God as the religious believer can communicate with Him. By bringing their problems to God, or asking for forgiveness and help, they come closer to Him. Christians believe they can speak with God in prayer and were taught to pray by Jesus himself.

What do you say before starting a prayer? ›

We open the prayer by addressing God because he is the one we are praying to. Start by saying "Father in Heaven" or "Heavenly Father." We address Him as our Heavenly Father, because He is the father of our spirits. He is our creator and the one to whom we owe everything we have, including our lives.

What do you say during opening prayer? ›

As we gather today around your name, we pray that you would fill our hearts, our minds and our souls. Transform us Lord, and make us more like you. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen. O Lord, our God, we gather together today to give you thanks and praise your greatness.

What are the 4 key elements of prayer? ›

They are based on a well-known format: A.C.T.S. = adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication.

What is the main prayer? ›

Amen. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

What are the 7 prayers? ›

Prayer topics include:Confession,Salvation, Release, Submission, Praise, Promise, and Blessing.

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