by Bob Perry
I normally attend at least one prayer meeting each day, sometimes several more. Over the last 30 years of my Christian life, I have participated in thousands of prayer meetings of all sizes and shapes, and I have to say, it seems that I have been in more poor prayers meetings than good ones. I have given this a great deal of thought. If Jesus said, “My house will be a house of prayer,” then why is it so difficult to achieve consistent, life-giving, heaven-reaching prayer meetings? I hope the points below help you to learn from my experiences.
Seven ways to kill a prayer meeting:
1. Pray to impress others.
2. Pray long-winded prayers.
3. Pray about many subjects in one prayer.
4. Professional wrestler spirit---“yelling in the microphone” prayers.
5. Start late and have a lack of faith.
6. Preaching or “telling” God the problem.
7. No specific focus or direction.
Secrets to having a good prayer meeting:
1. Ask the Holy Spirit to come! Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Get to the meeting at least a few minutes early—shows respect and importance of the gathering.
2. Focus on God and what He wants. Concentrate, but with eyes open to see what the Holy Spirit is doing among the people. Encourage people not to babble, but rather to pray in faith.
3. Lead as a small team! Best combination is when pastor (king), worship leader (prophet) and prayer leader (priest) work together as a team. Be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading. Remember -- this type of meeting can be the most difficult to lead, since Holy Spirit is easily grieved by ego and pride. Humility before the King is the answer.
4. Prepare before the meeting. Come prepared with the Word strong in your heart and your team of leaders. Do not be afraid to let the Word help guide the prayer focus on God, His heart, and for others. I call it Scripture prayers.
5. As a leader, give simple directions through a few sentences. Don’t stop the prayer meeting by talking. This can interrupt the flow. The prayer meeting should focus on “talking to God,” not talk about God, or about prayer. It helps to use Power Point so that people can see and read, rather than listen to someone explain. Furthermore, Power Point allows late comers to catch the focus quickly, rather than wondering what the focus and purpose of their prayers should be at the moment.
6. Give room to different expressions of prayer and worship. Realize that God moves upon people in different ways. For example, weeping is a form of intercession. Tears can express His presence moving in a wide variety of ways, such as God healing a heart, or tears of thankfulness, or weeping for someone that is separated from Jesus.
7. Use a wide variety of prayer expressions:
- corporate worship
- focused prayer
- small groups (see point 10 for effective small group prayer)
- worship to emphasize what the Spirit is doing
8. The power of music in a prayer meeting is nothing new. God is restoring the Tabernacle of David which was
24-7 worship and prayer.
- music moves people
- music unites people
- music brings the Divine presence of God and His glory
- music rings and echoes in our soul much longer than preaching or praying
- music has a greater ability to release God’s emotions and feelings in us
- music releases a greater sense of His love into our heart
- music can move us into His presence---from the outer courts to the inner courts, and into the
Holy of Holies beyond the veil.
9. Finally, encourage people to follow the scriptural patterns in the Bible when interceding. Therefore, it is positive based prayer rather than negative, critical prayers. Discourage people from fighting and attacking strongholds since this is not a scriptural norm.
10. Use small groups effectively. Fear of public praying, remind intercessors that in prayer we are talking to God, and not people. Some people pray too long, which leads others to lose focus and possibly become distracted or intimidated after a long, intense prayer. Try to pray no longer than one minute, with one specific subject, and only one verse. Remember to share this prayer time with others. In sports terms, you must pass the ball and get your teammates involved in the game. Listen and agree, hear what God is saying through the other person. Talk
in normal everyday language.