We want to hear what God is telling us, but do we have anything to say in return? Shouldn't we have a few words of praise or thanksgiving for Him? Or maybe a couple things to ask for? One or two friends that are struggling and could use some help? Confessions to make?
I don't want to make a generalization and say that no one prays and everyone spends too much time reading the Bible. Obviously, this is not true (first of all, you can't spend too much time reading the Bible; and also, I am aware of a good number of people who pray a lot). But overall, I believe that the church as a whole does not spend enough time in prayer. It is incredible what can be accomplished by prayer, it really is. I've heard so many stories that were clearly answers to prayer.
For example, Scott Degroff was one of the speakers at the Rise-Up conference. He told the story of how his kids were in need of shoes, so they sat down together as a family and asked God to provide for them to be able to get shoes. That same day, some people showed up at their door and said they wanted to take their kids to the store with them and buy them shoes.
I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure that was an answer to prayer.
I used to not think too much about prayer, and always just sort of prayed for different things throughout the day as needed, but never really spent quality time with the Lord in this way. And then I got a car. And then the radio in my car broke. So, with a little encouragement from Mom, I came to the realization that I didn't just have to sit there in boredom while driving down the road, but I could use that time to spend with the Lord. So that is exactly what I did. And every time I drove somewhere, I would use the time to pray. And it is incredible how much better I feel when I've spent time with the Lord like that.
But the individual prayer lives of the Saints (including my own) isn't the only thing that has been a burden on my heart recently. I've also been thinking a lot about the weekly prayer meeting.
I have grown up in a home where we were at the chapel every time the doors were open. If we weren't throwing up or in the hospital, we were there. It's never been an option, and I intend to keep it that way. I realize that many people have not grown up like this and have not always been at every single meeting.
My intention is not to offend anyone in any way, but to encourage you to come out to the prayer meeting. I realize that you just got home from work, that the kids have a lot of homework, that you ran into the neighbor's mailbox, or that the basketball game is on tonight. But come. Please. I beg of you. The weekly prayer meeting is so important, yet often so overlooked.
One other thing Scott Degroff said was that he had never been to a prayer meeting and regretted it. He had never come home and thought man I really wish I hadn't have gone tonight. It just doesn't happen. You'll be glad you went, I promise.
As Dad gave a short devotional last night at the prayer meeting, he talked about Acts 4. In verses 23 to 30, the saints got together and were having a prayer meeting...one thing that they prayed for was boldness. And then in verse 31, it said that the place where they were meeting together was shaken, that they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and that they spoke the word of God with boldness.
All of this happened from one prayer meeting.
In verses 32 through 35, they went out in unity, and gave witness of the resurrection of Christ.
I have complete confidence that something like this could happen in the prayer meetings of the local churches. But before something like this can happen at the prayer meeting, there has to be people at the prayer meeting. Yes, there are people at the prayer meetings every week. But we want more people. If this is going to happen at the prayer meeting, do you really want to miss out on it? The building might shake. The people are gonna be filled with the Holy Spirit. We're gonna ask the Lord for boldness, and He's gonna give it to us. It just might be intense.
If you've ever been to Shannon Hills, the first word that comes to your mind when you think of it probably isn't intense. But if we put enough of our minds and our hearts into it, I think that just might be what it's like.
Intense. The prayer meeting at Shannon Hills Bible Chapel. I'm not kidding.
If you don't come on a regular basis, I strongly encourage you to do so. You won't regret it. I promise. In fact, you just might be glad you came.
1 Timothy 2:1-8