It’s no secret that the weeknight prayer meeting is the least popular service in the weekly schedule of most churches. People have all sorts of reasons that keep them away from the prayer meeting. Some folks get home from work too late, others aren’t able to drive at night, and still others are encumbered with schoolwork or job-related projects that must be finished. Yet many are simply choosing rather to stay home and relax in front of the TV, or perhaps they prefer to run errands on Wednesday evenings. Of course there’s always the bottomless honey-do list that needs whittlin’ down.
The point is not that some reasons are good and some reasons are bad; the point is that when you choose to miss the prayer meeting, you might not realize what you’re missing. Here are two things you miss out on when you miss out on the Wednesday night prayer meeting:
First, you miss out on helpful information.
Almost every Wednesday night I read an update letter from one of our missionaries. Have you ever wondered what they do? Or where they live? Or how their ministries are succeeding? Would you like to hear some of their stories about people getting saved or answered prayer? Do you ever wonder if they are in good health? Would you like to know what some of their pressing needs are? If you would come to the prayer meeting, these questions would be answered.
Also, when we share prayer requests, we hear updates from others in the church about things that are important to them, like a mother’s battle with cancer, a family expecting a child, a brother’s need for a job, or a father’s burden for his unsaved family. When you know what you church family’s needs are, then you can pray more effectively.
Second, you miss out on real encouragement.
When we hear from the missionaries via their letters, it does our spirits good to know that others are seeing a great harvest of souls. Sometimes we are tempted to be discouraged because it seems at times that little progress is made for the Kingdom of Heaven in our neck of the woods, but when we listen to the missionary letters we are reminded that God is doing powerful things all over the world. And that’s encouraging.
Additionally, not a prayer meeting goes by without someone sharing a testimony of answered prayer. How thrilling it is to hear God’s people praise Him for real answered prayer! People who think that God doesn’t answer prayer should come to the prayer meeting, and they will see how they are wrong. God does answer prayer! He promises to answer prayer!
Last (and this one is hard to put into words), when you miss the prayer meeting, you miss the encouragement that comes by praying with other Christians. I love to pray with other Christians. I love to hear them pray. It’s not about eloquence, or saying the right words; it’s about hearing other Christians pour out their heart in faith. To hear other brothers and sisters pray is encouraging.
Have you heard of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)? FOMO is one reason many people are addicted to social media. Because they fear they might miss something important, fun, or exciting, they are glued to their screens and constantly checking their phones for notifications. I wonder how different our churches would be if there was more FOMO for the prayer meeting than for Facebook or Twitter?
Only eternity will tell what we’ve missed out on because we miss out on the prayer meeting – what spiritual victories have gone unclaimed, what new blessings have been lost, what gospel progress has been forfeited because the prayer meeting has become so tragically unimportant to Christ’s churches?