Midweek Prayer – An Evangelical Tradition

“Corporate prayer was felt to be barely less essential to a congregation. ‘The weekly prayer-meeting’ it was said, ‘is the pulse of the church.’ If the prayer meeting was enthusiastic and well attended, the vitality of the congregation could be guaranteed. Normally held on a weeknight evening, it offered an opportunity for lay members to offer spontaneous prayers.”

David W. Bebbington, The Dominance of Evangelicalism: The Age of Spurgeon and Moody A History of Evangelicalism (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 84.

I’m especially appalled when I hear of Christians who do not attend prayer meeting at their church, especially if they’re members. They expect all of the privileges of membership without any commitment. I am acquainted with one church of over two-hundred where almost no one attends the midweek prayer meeting. The response? Cancel prayer meeting. I know another church that makes prayer meeting a requirement for membership, that is orally affirmed in the church covenant, and a person who does not have a reasonable excuse for their absence, can be removed from the membership.

What is especially despicable is when church leaders themselves don’t attend prayer meeting. This, in my mind, is disqualification for eldership. I know I write harshly, but prayer meeting is ballast both for the individual Christian and for the church. While it is not as important as Lord’s Day worship, it is nonetheless indispensable. As demonstrated from the quote above, this is an evangelical tradition–one that I hope does not get lost.


Many thanks to Bob T. who commented on this. He rightly points out that there are some who cannot make prayer meeting for legitimate reasons, he cites work as an example. We could add to that list seniors and young mothers who may also have reasonable excuses for missing prayer meeting. I should have been clearer in my original post and qualified my concern for those who have no good reason not to attend.



Filed under bebbington, books, churches, ecclesiology, evangelicalism, prayer, quotes

5 responses to “Midweek Prayer – An Evangelical Tradition

  1. Ken Davis

    Preach it.

  2. i’m stoked when people are attending prayer meetings.
    when we recognized our need for God’s power, it comes.

  3. Bob Torregrossa

    Harsh comments.. what about people who work jobs and are Church leaders and because of commute times dont get home until 8:00pm every night? According to you they should be removed from leadership roles… not everyone enjoys a 9- to 5 pm job with a 20 minute commute and is home by 5:30 pm every night.

    You need to reevaluate your comments sir as I disagree ..

  4. I wholeheartedly agree with you, that attendance to weekly prayer meeting ought to be required for those in leadership and in membership! How in the world are we going to do God’s work, without first consulting with Him? And doing that together as a church? My position on work vs. church: everything, everything, I mean everything revolves around the House of God and His work! It always should. I have made it a principle in my life to never miss a church service at regular intervals due to work. If my job requires that I must work regularly throughout the week or month,during a church service, then I will not do that job. I will pray and ask God to give me the job that He sees fit for me, and that will allow me to be in His House every time the doors are open. Since when does work become the standard for when we attend church? And especially for prayer meeting? John R. Rice once said, “All of our failures, are prayer failures.” If your job regularly keeps you from church, ask for a change of schedule, or quit the job. We’ve got to give the Lord the first place here. Who is more important? Work or the Lord? I feel that Mr. Torregrossa does not quite understand this. Your comments are right. Do not flip-flop on the issue. We need prayer together as a church more now, than ever! I say, “Preach on!” Your small post has been a great encouragement to me to prayer more and to have my church pray together more.

  5. Bob Torregrossa

    Amos.. I do attend church every Sunday and I am very active in the leadership and direction of the church. Being a small business owner and having undergone many financial ups and downs my strength in the Lord has always carried me through. Living in the New York City area I have no choice but to cummute 2 hours (each way) to and from work by bus. Its hard for people to understand this when they dont experience it, so unless you have walked a mile in my shoes and experiened what I have please do not judge me.
    We are not all blessed like you where we have choices to refuse work and not accept a work assignment

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