Dear Brethren,

I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to attend our Church Prayer Meeting held every Tuesday in Church starting from this week onwards. The Bible reminds us in Luke 18:1 that “men ought always to pray, and not faint.” In fact, the lack of prayers is so appalling in us that we need to daily repent and spend more time in sweet communion with God. Do not come to God only when there is trouble or difficulty that we cannot solve. Build a close relationship with God through prayers so you not only know this verse “Pray without ceasing” in head knowledge but in heart and living every moment in full dependence upon God.

As a Church, we can move along by programmes but it will not be spiritually blessed and God-honouring if prayers to God for these programmes are not foremost in our planning and regarded as the most important part of the programme. Our Lord Jesus reminded us in John 15:5, “for without me, ye can do nothing”. Hence coming to Church Prayer meeting ought to be our priority and in the planning of our schedule for the week. I like to highlight 3 possible reasons why members are not willing to attend Church prayer meeting and sometimes we can deceive ourselves with these ‘excuses’ to the detriment of our spiritual life.

1) Prayer meeting is meant for those who are spiritual and prayerful

We can excuse ourselves by telling ourselves that I am not ready to attend prayer meeting since my prayer life is poor and my spiritual life is weak. I do not want to look hypocritical by being there. First, let us be sure that if the prayer meeting is meant only for the spiritual and prayerful, no one will meet this qualification. All who attend are needful of prayers and want to improve their prayer life and have spiritual struggles too.  Secondly, it is a great deception of Satan to tell us we are hypocritical if we go to prayer meeting. Satan uses this method to prevent God’s children from getting the means of grace to strengthen their spiritual life. If we are weak and discouraged and spiritually weak, the only way to be helped and strengthened is to come back to God. The Lord has graciously provided the means for us which is through the prayer meeting. Why do we neglect this means of grace and think our way is better than God?

2) I do not know how to pray publicly

We tell ourselves we are not able to pray publicly and hence excuse ourselves from attending prayer meeting. It may be true we do not have a good command of the English language and our sentences uttered out can be grammatically wrong and we cannot pronounce words clearly as compared to other brethren who seem to be able to pray with flowery biblical language. Think about this excuse seriously…. Who are we praying to and for whom is our prayers directed to? If it is for the ears of the brethren in Church, then it is a fair and reasonable excuse not to attend the prayer meeting. But if we know that we are praying to God who sees our heart and not the ‘language’ of our prayers, then this excuse cannot stand at all. Prayer is not a demonstration to others of our language ability nor a show of our spiritual height but rather it is a simple pouring of our heart to God and imploring Him to help us who are poor and needy people.

3) I do not have any specific prayer requests or needs

We can excuse ourselves as there is nothing for me to share and hence no necessity to be in the prayer meeting. But brethren, remember that Church prayer meeting is not just about coming to share my personal needs but a time to commit the Church and her programmes and fellow members’ needs to the Lord in prayers. What better way to ‘rejoice with those that rejoice and weep with those that weep’ but to do in prayers with them and for them. We need to pray one for another and you will know personally the struggles and problems of members when you come to prayer meeting. You can know how to show care to the person after praying for him or her. This is the mark of true Christian discipleship when we love one another as Christ has loved us. We show this love by praying for one another and Church prayer meeting is a wonderful way for us to express this love for our brethren in prayers for them.

In conclusion, I know it requires time and discipline to attend Church prayer meeting but the spiritual reward is definitely worth the effort. Our spiritual growth ought to be our priority in life. Hope to see all of you at our Church Prayer Meeting.

Elder John Leong