For years I have deplored the fact that so few of our people attend prayer meetings. At the very time that prayer meeting attendance should be increasing (see Heb. 10 :24, 25) we have witnessed its steady decrease through the years. Occasionally we have become stirred concerning this matter and have read such strong statements to our churches as we find in Volume IV of the Testimonies: "When the Spirit of God shall work upon the heart, cleansing the soul temple of its defilement of worldliness and pleasure-loving, all will be seen in the prayer meeting, . . . anxious to reap all the benefit they can gain."—Page 461. Yet only a few have come.
We have said that the prayer meeting attendance is a spiritual barometer of the church. If that be true, then certainly many have lost their "first love," and are "lukewarm" and unprepared for heaven and the earth made new.
Fellow ministers, this condition should cause us to be concerned about more than the fact that only a few are out to hear our prayer meeting studies. We should be weeping between the porch and the altar for the souls of our dear people. After all, who is more responsible than we when our people—even in hours like these—are spiritually asleep?
Have we given the trumpet a certain sound? Are we fully awake ourselves? Have we, as God's own workmen, sensed the importance of the prayer meeting? Have we always attended when we were not leading out? Read page 461, Volume IV, of the Testimonies.
No doubt the principal reason for the slim attendance at prayer meeting is wrong methods of conducting the service. The sameness, poor management, lack of plans, long and mechanical prayers, "weary the angels" to say nothing of how they wear out the people. (Ibid., p. 71.)
We are told by the seer of these latter days that our people are hungry "for the bread of life" and that if they find it at the prayer meeting, they will go there."—Ibid., p. 70.
Six months ago I decided to prepare a very special series of studies for our prayer meetings on the subject "Events Associated With the Close of Probation and the Time of Trouble." I told our people about it at the Sabbath services, and within a few weeks our attendance had increased 400 percent. This increase has continued over six months, and the series of studies has not ended.
I always announce the next subject to be discussed, and with the topic an interesting and important question which will be answered from the Bible or the Spirit of prophecy, such as: Can Satan heal the sick? Can the devil foretell the future? Why haven't we received the latter rain? When shall we sell our property? When shall we flee to the mountains? Should we buy little homes in the mountains to live in during the time of trouble? Will God permit Satan to try, taunt, tempt, and harass the saved after the close of probation? Will God's Spirit be withdrawn from the righteous when probation closes ? Will God permit Satan to kill the sealed ones during the time of trouble? Will the wicked, the righteous, or the devil know when probation closes? What and when is Jacob's trouble ? When does one receive the mark of the beast? Who only will stand through the time of trouble? Will as great a power attend the preaching of the truth in these latter days as attended the preaching of Paul and Peter ? What conditions must be met before one can receive the latter rain?
We also have special music and a soul-stirring song service each evening. Soon the people began coming early for good seats and asking for a longer song service. Now the singing begins fifteen minutes before the regular time of meeting. Put more into your prayer meeting plans, and more persons will attend them.