In addition to private intercessory prayer, we reveal our quest for spiritual growth by participating in prayer meetings of the church. Acts 2:42 says of the first Christ followers, “They continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” The early church gathered often for prayer. They prayed while waiting for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14, 24). They continued to pray together as more were added to the church and persecution arose (Acts 3:1; 4:23–31; 12:5, 12).
Spurgeon recognized prayer as the mark that preceded his own ministry. He writes:
When I came to New Park Street Chapel, it was a mere handful of people to whom I first preached, yet I could never forget how earnestly they prayed. Sometimes they seemed to plead as though they could really see the Angel of the Covenant [that is, Christ] present with them, and as if they must have a blessing from him. More than once we were so awe-struck with the solemnity of the meeting that we sat silent for some moments while the Lord’s Power appeared to overshadow us.1Quoted in Lewis Drummond, Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1992), 270–71.
God sends or withholds revival as He deems best. Yet God also answers prayer. If faithful membership in the church means anything, it means devotion to prayer and to gathering for prayer. Christ was known as a man of prayer, and He taught His disciples to pray. In prayer, we come together in Jesus’ name and Christ is present among us; we come to the Father, seeking His Spirit like hungry children asking for bread. Our good Father will not turn us away. So attend prayer meetings. They will transform you into Christ’s image more than you know.
Beauty and Glory of Christ’s Bride
Joel R. Beeke