“the condition of the church may be very accurately gauged by its prayer meetings. So is the prayer meeting a grace-ometer, and from it we may judge of the amount of divine working among a people. If God be near a church, it must pray. And if he not be there, one of the first tokens of his absence will be a slothfulness in prayer.”
Charles Spurgeon, one of my hero’s of the faith, wrote these words way back in the 19th century, but they are incredibly relevant for today. Churches have become houses of anything and everything but prayer. What a tragedy! You can find more churches today that offer weight-loss programs and financial freedom classes that you can that offer prayer meetings. I’ve told the story before about the pastor who commented, “if you want to know how popular a church is, then look at the Sunday morning attendance. If you want to know how popular the preacher is, then look at the Sunday night attendance. And if you want to know how popular the Living God is, look at how many show up for the prayer meeting.” Unfortunately, in most churches, prayer meetings are a thing of the past and if they’re still going, chances are the attendance will be pitiful.
In Isaiah 56:7, we read, “For my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” One of the defining characteristics of the people of God is that they pray and call on the name of God and plead with Him to move in mighty ways. This is, plain and simple, what a church does. A church that does not pray is not a true church. You see, when people are excited about the Lord, there is a deep hunger to enter into his presence with like-minded people. But instead of tapping into the power of prayer, the modern church has decided that God is not up to the task of building his church. We have denied the power of God and come to the conclusion that the Lord’s work should be done using the world’s ways. This always means that the power of prayer is minimized. Truly, we have forgotten the words of Jeremiah 33:3. “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”
What about you? Are you willing to call on God? Do you really believe He will answer?