How Conduct Prayer Meeting?
The midweek prayer meeting is too often just another service attended only by those who feel it their duty to be present, but not because of any interest in the service. This is deplorable, but often all too true. This service should be conducted in such a manner as to attract both young and old. This is possible if we give special consideration and preparation to it.
I do not feel that I have been any more successful in conducting midweek prayer services than have a large number of my brethren. However, I would like to share with you the procedure I follow which has proved fairly successful.
We spend about ten to fifteen minutes in singing. Our people enjoy singing the good old gospel songs. On the Sabbath they do not have this opportunity. The congregation sings two selected hymns ordinarily. After a season of prayer we have a brief study. This should never exceed thirty minutes, and twenty minutes is better. After this we have a testimony service. We alternate the testimony service and the prayer service. One week we have a season of prayer, the next a season of testimonies, following the evening's study.
My first consideration is the place of meeting. I prefer to meet in a room of the church smaller than the auditorium. When this room is filled it appears that a large number are in attendance. More will attend, and extra chairs will have to be placed. This psychology will work, until you will be forced to move into the auditorium. This is as it should be.
The place of meeting, however, is not the most important. Your attendance will not increase unless you present something which the members need, and which interests them. I follow a series of studies on a given subject. For example: I study Babylon from its origin to its close, when the Lord comes. This has proved very fascinating.
A question and answer form is also very helpful. I write out unusual questions on various phases of the sanctuary service. It is surprising how much you will learn yourself, and how helpful it will prove to those in attendance. This is only one of many subjects which can be used in this manner.
I make the services informal. Anyone present is permitted to ask questions and make comments. This is very stimulating. We also study the books of Daniel and Revelation, verse by verse. In connection with these studies we use the Spirit of prophecy writings as an auxiliary, particularly the book Great Controversy.
I find that these studies appeal to our people, and our attendance increases. I am never satisfied unless at least a third of the church membership is in attendance at the prayer meeting. The average attendance in most prayer meetings is only ten per cent. The attendance at the midweek service is a good gauge of the spiritual condition of the church.
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