1. WHY GO TO PRAYER MEETING?
a. What is the purpose of the prayer meeting? Why is it so important that we attend? 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 10:25.
“Seek every opportunity to go where prayer is wont to be made. Those who are really seeking for communion with God will be seen in the prayer meeting, faithful to do their duty, and earnest and anxious to reap all the benefits they can gain. They will improve every opportunity of placing themselves where they can receive the rays of light from heaven.
“We meet together to edify one another by an interchange of thoughts and feelings, to gather strength, and light, and courage by becoming acquainted with one another’s hopes and aspirations; and by our earnest, heartfelt prayers, offered up in faith, we receive refreshment and vigor from the Source of our strength. These meetings should be most precious seasons.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 91.
“While we are exhorted not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, these assemblies are not to be merely for our own refreshing. We are to be inspired with greater zeal to impart the consolation we have received.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 365.
2. HOW TO RUN A PRAYER MEETING
a. What principle should we observe regarding the time for prayer meeting? 1 Corinthians 14:40.
“Meetings for conference and prayer should not be made tedious. If possible, all should be prompt to the hour appointed; and if there are dilatory ones, who are half an hour or even fifteen minutes behind the time, there should be no waiting. If there are but two present, they can claim the promise. The meeting should open at the appointed hour if possible, be there few or many present. Formality and cold stiffness should be laid aside, and all should be prompt to duty.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, pp. 577, 578.
“From the light which I have received, our meetings should be spiritual and social, and not too long.”—Ibid., p. 579.
b. How does God regard long-drawn-out public prayers? Matthew 6:5.
“Upon common occasions there should not be prayer of more than ten minutes’ duration. After there has been a change of position, and the exercise of singing or exhortation has relieved the sameness, then, if any feel the burden of prayer, let them pray.”—Ibid., p. 578.
“There are some, I fear, who do not take their troubles to God in private prayer, but reserve them for the prayer meeting, and there do up their praying for several days. Such may be named conference and prayer meeting killers. They emit no light; they edify no one. Their cold, frozen prayers and long, backslidden testimonies cast a shadow. All are glad when they get through, and it is almost impossible to throw off the chill and darkness which their prayers and exhortations bring into the meeting.”—Ibid., pp. 578, 579.
c. How did Jesus teach the disciples to pray in the meetings He held? Matthew 6:7.
“When Christ taught the people, He did not devote the time to prayer. He did not enforce upon them, as did the Pharisees, long, tedious ceremonies and prayers.”—Ibid., p. 580.
3. A TIME FOR SHARING
a. What should everyone be prepared to do at the prayer meeting? Mark 5:19 (second part); Malachi 3:16.
“All who are pursuing the onward Christian course should have, and will have, an experience that is living, that is new and interesting. A living experience is made up of daily trials, conflicts, and temptations, strong efforts and victories, and great peace and joy gained through Jesus. A simple relation of such experiences gives light, strength, and knowledge that will aid others in their advancement in the divine life.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 579.
“We may be daily learning more of our heavenly Father, gaining a fresh experience of His grace; then we shall desire to speak of His love; and as we do this, our own hearts will be warmed and encouraged. If we thought and talked more of Jesus and less of self, we should have far more of His presence. . . .
“One person is not to do all the witnessing for Jesus, but every one who loves God is to testify of the preciousness of His grace and truth.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 92.
b. Besides sharing our experience, what else can we contribute to the prayer meeting? Psalms 35:18; 107:31, 32.
“When you are growing in grace you will love to attend religious meetings, and you will gladly bear testimony of the love of Christ before the congregation. . . . How much strength a word of hope, courage, and determination in a right course will give one who is inclined to slide into habits that are demoralizing! The firm purpose you may possess in carrying out good principles will have an influence to balance souls in the right direction. There is no limit to the good you may do.”—That I May Know Him, p. 161.
“God desires His obedient children to claim His blessing and to come before Him with praise and thanksgiving. God is the Fountain of life and power. . . . He has done for His chosen people that which should inspire every heart with thanksgiving, and it grieves Him that so little praise is offered. He desires to have a stronger expression from His people, showing that they know they have reason for joy and gladness.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 364.
4. MEETING TO PRAY IN SMALL GROUPS
a. What example do we have of four young men praying at school? Daniel 2:13–18.
“Daniel and his companions were to perish with the false prophets; but, taking his life in his hand, Daniel ventures to enter the presence of the king, begging that time may be granted that he may show the dream and the interpretation.
“To this request the monarch accedes; and now Daniel gathers his three companions, and together they take the matter before God, seeking for wisdom from the Source of light and knowledge. Although they were in the king’s court, surrounded with temptation, they did not forget their responsibility to God. They were strong in the consciousness that His providence had placed them where they were; that they were doing His work, meeting the demands of truth and duty. They had confidence toward God. They had turned to Him for strength when in perplexity and danger, and He had been to them an ever-present help.”—The Sanctified Life, p. 35.
“On their bended knees they pleaded that God would give them the power and wisdom that would alone avail them in their great necessity.”—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 216.
b. How was their prayer answered? Daniel 2:19, 46–49.
“The servants of God did not plead with Him in vain. They had honored Him, and in the hour of trial He honored them. The secret was revealed to Daniel, and he hastened to request an interview with the king.”—The Sanctified Life, p. 35.
c. What can we learn from the prayer of Daniel and his friends? Matthew 18:20.
“There is great need of secret prayer, but there is also need that several Christians meet together, and unite with earnestness their petitions to God. In these small companies Jesus is present, the love of souls is deepened in the heart, and the Spirit puts forth its mighty energies, that human agents may be exercised in regard to saving those who are lost.”—Lift Him Up, p. 358.
5. WITHIN THE CAMP MEETING
a. What condition for which Christ prayed should likewise be the subject of our prayers? Psalm 133:1; Ephesians 4:3.
b. How can this condition be achieved especially at the camp meeting? Matthew 18:19; Proverbs 24:6 (last part). How does this affect those who attend?
“Those who labor at camp meetings should frequently engage together in prayer and counsel, that they may labor intelligently. At these meetings there are many things that demand attention. But the ministers should take time to meet together for prayer and counsel every day. You should know that all things are drawing in even lines, ‘that you are standing,’ as the words were spoken to me, ‘shoulder to shoulder, marching right ahead, and not drawing off.’ When the work is carried on in this way, there is unity of heart, and there will be harmony of action. This will be a wonderful means of bringing the blessing of God upon the people.
“Before giving a discourse, ministers should take time to seek God for wisdom and power. In earlier times the ministers would often go away and pray together, and they would not cease until the Spirit of God responded to their prayers. Then they would return from the place of prayer with their faces lighted up; and when they spoke to the congregation, their words were with power. They reached the hearts of the people because the Spirit that gave them the blessing prepared hearts to receive their message. There is far more being done by the heavenly universe than we realize in preparing the way that souls may be converted.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 50.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What are some of the blessings gained from attending prayer meeting?
2. How much of the time should be devoted to prayer? Why?
3. Why should we share our experience at prayer meeting?
4. What can we learn from the prayer meeting held by Daniel and his three companions?
5. Why should the leaders at our camp meetings often make the time to pray and counsel together?