MARK 11:15-17: And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”
Arguably one of the greatest figures in church history and one of the most used instruments in God’s work was Charles Spurgeon. He was also a man of prayer pastoring a church who knew the importance and practice of prayer. Spurgeon commenting on churches’ prayer meetings,“ The condition of the church may be very accurately gauged by its prayer meetings. So is the prayer meeting a grace-ometer, and from it we may judge of the amount of divine working among a people. If God be near a church, it must pray. And if He be not there, one of the first tokens of His absence will be slothfulness in prayer.” Now, let us not be quick to harshly judge Mr. Spurgeon’s assessment of churches regarding prayer meetings. Nor be defensive if our churches and lives do not reflect a serious commitment to corporate and private prayer. Why? Because his quote is right. He is aligned with our Lord Jesus in today’s scripture when He proclaimed, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Spurgeon is also in harmony with the book of Acts. Read it soon and observe the priority of prayer among the gathered believers. And further evidence Spurgeon is right about church prayer meetings is the evidence of revival history. There is not one single experience of revival that did not include fervent prayer among God’s people. So, with that backdrop, let us ask ourselves two questions about church prayer meetings.
First, are we in a local church that places the highest priority of gathering for prayer? Just because we may be in a church that has a lot of ministry occurring, a flurry of activity, and the promotion of togetherness with God’s people for fellowship does not mean we are “doing” church as God designed and desired. God wants us to seek His Person more than being busy working for Him. And the primary way of seeking Him is prayer. And if we get the seeking right, the proper work of ministry will follow and be effective. Too many churches, non-praying churches, might be doing a lot of good ministry but without prayer the ministries are spiritually powerless and being done in the strength of human effort which is always ineffective. So, if we are in praying churches, thank God. If we are not, approach the leadership in a kind and gracious manner and talk to them about it. Urge them to lead the flock, the local flock, incorporate prayer for the purpose of knowing and encountering the Lord. Do it respectfully and maybe even share Spurgeon’s quote with the elders in your church.
Now question number two. If God has blessed us with being in a praying church, are we active participants? Answering that question is important. If the answer is “No, I am not attending prayer opportunities in my church.” We should be direct with ourselves and ask the inevitable question of “Why not?” And do not justify absence. The Bible does not excuse us from this privilege and responsibility. By the way, there is such sweet fellowship when believers pray together. The Lord meets His praying people, and it is the chief way toward building close spiritual relationships among Christians.
Charles Spurgeon and his church were committed to corporate prayer. In doing so, God showed them great favor with many seasons of revival. May He do the same for us in our churches as we make praying together the most important thing we do.
PRAYER: “Father, may my church and my participation in my church be one of much prayer seeking You.”
QUOTE: “There is nothing more important than to be actively a part of a praying church.”