On Wednesday evenings we gather for our weekly prayer service and Bible study. You may not have heard about a prayer service before. Unfortunately, they are becoming less common as the world demands more of our time and focus. But the Bible teaches us that the early church prayed together, or had corporate prayer. Not only is it essential for the growth of a church, but also like corporate worship, it has positive effects that don’t always come from individual prayer.
One effect is that it brings about unity. You see when you are praying to God in a group of people, you are representing those other people before God. You have to think not just for yourself, but for the others. You are praising God for all that He is doing in and with your local church. You are asking Him to intercede in the life of your church and it’s members. You are not focused on what you are personally thankful for or what your own needs are. You say “we” instead of “I”.
An example from the Bible of corporate prayer is in the first chapter of the Book of Acts. Luke tells us about 120 believers gathered together in an upper room. They had been charged with spreading the gospel to the world, establishing local churches and putting doctrine into practice. That was a pretty overwhelming prospect, but they knew that prayer was the key to their success. They didn’t need anything else, and nothing else would do.
“these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” (Isaiah 56:7, NIV)
And Jesus reminds us of this in (Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17; and Luke 19:46, NIV)
After our time of corporate prayer we move on to our Bible study. There is typically one Bible study offering at a time, but occasionally we do have two running concurrently. Our studies are typically topical or a book in the Bible. Some examples of recent studies are the video series “The Truth Project”, a parenting class, and a study on cults.
The prayer service and Bible study runs from 6:30pm to 8:00pm September through May, and 6:30pm to 7:30pm June through August.