Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pastor Paul Martin on the Prayer Habits of Grace Fellowship Church

My friend, Pastor Paul Martin wrote such a moving and convicting post on the place of corporate prayer in his church, I thought I'd copy and paste the whole thing below.
What makes a church like ours set aside a beautiful Saturday morning to seek God in five hours of prayer?

When Grace Fellowship Church began we were one dependent lot. We had no money, no building, no people, and no guarantee of success. Yet, reading of two personalities from the past had recently impacted me.

First, I read a description of the Week of Prayer held every year at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London under Spurgeon’s ministry. The author held up that week as one of the sweetest, most spiritually refreshing seasons of the calendar year. The week would begin with the elders leading in prayers of repentance “often in tears” and culminate in aspirations of great hope in the progress of the Gospel.

I also read how George Mueller started an orphanage, yes, to help the orphans, but more importantly, to launch an impossible ministry that would prove the sovereign God hears and answers prayer. If you read his autobiography you will laugh with joy at all the ways God did exactly that.

So, at GFC we started with a mid-week meeting to pray before we ever met for worship on Sundays. And after Sunday meetings began we kept it. Within a year or two we added a week of prayer in the New Year. Several years after that we started holding a second week or a day of prayer in September (the second new year!).

And all we do at these meetings is pray. Oh, we have little booklets to direct us and remind us of what we should be praying about, but there is no teaching, nor is there that bane of all lively prayer meetings – the 40 minutes of “prayer requests.” (It has always floored me that we can be so easily duped into talking about what we are going to pray rather than just praying!)

So, this Saturday will come, our fall day of prayer, and I will have feelings in the morning like, “Yawn, here we go again.” And, “Five hours on a Saturday sure is long!” Then I will put on my pastor game-face, show up at 7AM and by noon be thinking, “Does it have to end?”

You pray for us, won’t you? That the Lord will “come down” this Saturday and meet with His people. He has never missed an opportunity so far.

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