What happens when the regular evening Bible study is replaced by a special prayer meeting? Years ago I remember one particular person saying that she would not be attending because it was just a prayer meeting.
From what he wrote to Timothy, it seems Paul would not have regarded God’s people gathering for the express purpose of praying as “just a prayer meeting.” Consider his instructions for Timothy.
Paul knew that the church in Ephesus was dealing with some problems. Although he intended to travel there, he wanted Timothy who had boots on the ground in Ephesus to handle things until he arrived. And so, Paul wrote a little handbook on congregational worship and functioning to guide and support Timothy.
What is particularly interesting is that as Paul thought about guiding Timothy in working with the Ephesian church, the very first idea he wanted to impress upon Timothy was prayer.
First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people …. Such prayer for all is good and welcomed before God our Savior, …. So I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or dispute.” (1 Timothy 2:1,3,8).
Since “in every place” is a short-hand form for “in every meeting place” (1 Cor. 1:2), Paul had guided Timothy into ensuring that prayers would be offered up in all of the house church assemblies. Prayer is fundamental.
Paul would eventually get around to addressing church leadership roles and serving roles. However, the first item in this little handbook that comprises chapters two and three is prayer. Paul knew the importance of brothers and sisters joined together in lifting up every type of prayer to God.
Would Paul ever say, “Oh, that is just a prayer meeting”? I don’t think so. What is our attitude toward congregational prayer?