Once we understand the blessing of personal prayer, the next step is understanding the value of corporate (group) prayer. In the typical 21st century church there are few if any times set aside specifically for prayer. But it hasn't always been that way. When I met Christ in high school I attended a church where we had prayer meeting every Wednesday night. I can still remember getting on my knees on linoleum floors in the educational wing of the church with my elbows resting on metal folding chairs for about an hour. I can also remember while attending a Christian college that we would have prayer bands for missions, dorm prayer meetings and even praying into the wee hours of the morning in a dorm boiler room. While in New York City we had a prayer meeting every Friday night and in Pittsburgh we met 1/2 hour before the service every Sunday for prayer. In Oregon we blended prayer and praise together in what we called "Harp and Bowl" prayer on Monday nights based on Revelation 5:8, "And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints."
But last night God touched my conscience in a way that was surprising. I got a call from my brother (he led me to Christ when I was 16). He simply mentioned that he just got home from prayer meeting. What was I doing at the time? I was watching the Olympics and skaters who should have probably been wearing a little more clothing than they were. It's not that I don't pray. I pray with Annie every day. I pray with Pastor Dennis and Pat Resheske every week. But I realized that I haven't called for a time of corporate prayer in our flock. Maybe it's because I'm semi-retired and have cut back on some activities. But corporate prayer is not one I should have cut back on.
Prayer meetings are not big draws in most churches. I haven't quite figured that out yet. But even a small group of pray-ers can make a difference in the level of the Holy Spirit being manifested in our gatherings and our witness. I feel convicted that God wants us to start gathering specifically for prayer. I'm not sure when yet, or for how long. But I believe that prayer is an incredible privilege for us to engage in. We don't have to be experts, we just have to be willing. Jesus made an amazing promise in Matthew 18:19, "Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven."