The “Experience” of the House of Prayer

A few years ago*, the leaders of the popular and super influential mega church called Willow Creek announced that they made a mistake about their assumptions regarding what influences Christian maturity.

Thatʼs the business of the Church, right? To help people grow spiritually. How does the Church help and what potentially hindering activity does it need to stop doing ?

As soon as the first installment of Willow’s first installment of their ground-breaking Reveal research came out in print, I had to have a copy. I was impressed with Willowʼs transparency, and the layout of their findings.

Here is the main lesson I received from reading Reveal: Like most churches,we put a lot of work into our weekend services. It is the most visible church activity, and seemingly the most influential since it reaches a diverse and highest number of people at one time. The survey showed that weekend services may help new Christians grow, but for the majority of most believers,not so much.1

Believers regardless of their level of spiritual maturity expressed what they needed from their church2:

Help me understand the Bible in depth
Help me in my time of emotional need
Help me to develop relationships that encourage accountability
When I read this a couple years ago, I thought that we were on the right track with our growing midweek prayer meeting. We are not perfect even now, but the goal of the prayer meeting has been to serve as a avenue for discipleship and as the next step that would fuel our deeper relationship with God.3

seeking a House of Prayer Experience

Seeking a House of Prayer Experience?

Doctrinal teaching matters and sharing ideas matters. At the same time, I am reminded that when Jesus rolled the scroll back up after the morning reading from the Book of Isaiah -He told His congregation how they were going to see,feel,taste the Word of God alive from then on:

And He began to say to them, ʻToday this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. -Luke 4:21

After this declaration of His life’s Mission, Jesus preached to the people, and he open their eyes to the reality of His Message. What if our prayer meetings became Houses of Prayer. Places where people could experience God through the power of prayer and community? What if their eyes were opened to the reality of the Word made flesh?

What if while information mattered, so did transformation?

Dear God, we donʼt want to settle for the idea of You. We want more of You. The more of You we experience, the more alive we will be. Please revive us for your namesake. Start with me. Amen~

Are your part of a prayer group? Does it strike a good balance between practice and theory?

*This article originally published on June 28,2011

Strategies for Midweek Prayer Meetings

Wondering how to help transform your midweek congregational prayer meeting? Check out Sabine’s article in  Ministry Magazine:

Strategies to help transform your midweek prayer service.

Any strategies stand out for you? What has worked in your church or home group meetings?