The prayer meeting is of vast importance in the life of a church. All members of the church ought to attend these weekly meetings, except in case of illness or some inevitable obstacle. The prayer meeting is the spiritual thermometer of the church; when will churches learn that their spiritual strength, their faith and their fervour depend on this hour of intercession and prayer? Declining interest in this meeting usually reveals lack of private prayer on the part of the members.
Christ's Church was born in a prayer meeting (Acts 1:14; 2:1), and its life can only be maintained by continuing in the same environment. "The book of the Acts” a famous Christian writer says “is a continuous testimony of the power of united prayer."
Today’s churches don't lack well educated ministers, beautiful and spacious buildings, organization, eloquent preaching. However, they lack the vivifying strength; they don't pray.
It is not difficult to discover the reason why members are absent from prayer meetings. In the first place, they don't have desire in their heart to unite with their brethren in such a precious exercise; they don't know its value, because little do they practice it in their private life. Another reason for the decline of the prayer meeting is the lack of passion for the salvation of souls. A mightily evangelistic church always has as the secret of its spiritual power a fervent and well-attended meeting for prayer.
It is true that sometimes the meeting itself is not directed in the best way. Although it is acceptable to sing one or two hymns and to read a passage of the Scriptures to stimulate prayer, most of the meeting should be taken up by prayer, and all of the believers present should be ready to pray. This requires prayers to be short and well defined, in order that there is enough time for all to take part. Long and unconnected prayers, including every possible subject, on the part of two or three brethren, have been destroying the flavour of a lot of meetings.
New believers are frequently afraid of praying openly, and for that reason they never begin. Fear will disappear with practice - but it is essential that they begin! They don't need to make long prayers; two or three sentences, with sincerity, are enough in the presence of God.
It is profitable that a brother announces, at the beginning of the meeting, the subjects for prayer, such as: - preaching and other activities of the local church, the government of the country, the sick, the churches and missions in other places, special needs. Each prayer doesn't need to mention every subject; it is better to distribute them; however each prayer should be heard by the whole congregation, because the brother that prays is doing so on behalf of the congregation, and not only just himself.
Finally, punctuality in beginning of the prayer meeting is not a crime!. "The hour has come", the Lord is present there (Lucas 22:14); and are all the members too??