What ever happened to the gathering of the saints called ‘the prayer meeting’?
Many (I should really say most) in the church in America would be quick to blame the downfall of America on the removal of prayer from public school. I think there are legitimate and historic parallels to how America was in general before 1963 (50 years ago) and how things are today. But what would a believer from another country think has happened to prayer at the church house if he were looking for a place and time to gather to pray tonight?
When I examine the attendance at nearly any prayer meeting in many churches, it might even appear as if freedom to gather to pray has been removed from the church house. Not from the state, not that it’s illegal, not that there is danger of attendees losing property if they show up to pray, it’s really like many professing believers have abandoned this beautiful privilege altogether and replaced it with Wednesday night school sponsored events, network and/or cable programming, or the internet forum debating the doctrines of God while we disobey His command to be devoted to prayer.
The western church has largely replaced her mid-week prayer meeting with burdensome programming that puts a strain on church budgets and performance expectations on staff members if numbers drop from the event.
If there is anything that is most alarming to me since the supreme court abolished state sponsored prayer in 1963 is that the church has exchanged the power of God for a fan powered bounce house.
Did you hear what I just said? Not about the bounce house; What evangelical Christian would want a state sponsored prayer anyway? Isn’t that part of why America became America, so we would not be forced to participate in state sponsored religion?
Don’t get me wrong; it is a tragedy that the American public rarely humbles themselves for prayer. That 1963 supreme court ruling has been a battleground issue for many conservative Americans while at the same time the church house began hearing crickets during the prayer meetings of the free church.
American Christians have forgotten to anticipate God’s pouring out of His Spirit among us. He may just decide to pour out His Spirit tonight for the last time in our land… You don’t want to miss that, do you?
Oh, if only God’s people would humble themselves…