Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Prayer requests

I remember prayer meetings on Wednesday nights. Today is Wednesday. My sister sent me an a-mail that told me she thought of me and was praying for me. I am so glad. I need prayer. My new meds on some days really have a bad effect on me. And it hits me suddenly. I get very, very tired, and I see triple or more. I then have to lie down. Today was such a day.

Back to Wednesday night prayer meetings. They started with a good song service. Four or more hymns such as Great is Thy Faithfulness, Sweet Hour of Prayer, or In the Garden. I miss singing those hymns in church. The new songs just don't do it for me. (enough editorializing -- for you children out there reading this, editorializing means giving an opinion on something.)

After the song service, dad would give a short message, usually about prayer and why we should pray. Then he would ask for prayer requests. Mostly we prayed for sick people or unsaved people. I don't ever recall praying for our country or the president. We do now, though. And the prayer request session would last usually about 5 minutes. Some people wrote down the requests, others (like me) didn't. We were then broken up into groups of five or six and we went into various parts of the church to pray.

You see, five of six people praying at once is better than one person praying. At least I suppose that was the thinking. I rather liked the small group praying. I was shy of praying in front of the whole church. I know I shouldn't be shy, after all I'm talking to God not to the church, nor to impress the church members, but shy I was and am.

Of course, Wednesday night prayer meeting did not include the whole church. The whole church was invited to prayer meeting, but only about one-third of the church showed up. Well, folks, there are pray-ers and there are non-pray-ers and the pray-ers were at church on Wednesday night. It's still that way, isn't it? That is, if you can find a church that has a Wednesday night prayer meeting.

We have a small group meeting on Tuesday night, and we usually spend 3/4 to one hour praying for various requests, including our President (yes, we even prayed for 8 years for impeached-president Clinton), our country, the unborn, and those girls deciding whether they are to keep their unborn child or get rid of it (we pray for our local pregnancy center), etc. Times change, some requests remain the same -- still praying for sick people and unsaved people just like we did in the "old" days.

Oh yes, we sing hymns -- songs like He Lives and Christ the Lord is Risen Today -- as well.

1 comment:

Laceys said...

Hi Runnemede!
I am Frost and Stacia's sister-in-law and have been checking out your wonderful blog. I believe you posted a comment on my site a few months ago. I particularly enjoyed your remembrance of prayer meetings.
Yes! That's the way a prayer meeting should be. At our church, the pastor or other man from the congregation gives a short message then we break into small groups for prayer. Women pray with women and men pray with men.
A lady from the congregation collects prayer requests from church members all week long and types them out for everyone on a page they call "Prayer Prompter." Pastor starts the list with a Bible verse he refers to as "The Lord's Request" then includes notes about current needs of our missionaries. At the bottom of the page, space permitting, they type the quote, "Prayer is not a substitute for action, it is an action for which there is no substitute."
The hymn part is sad to me. We never use canned music or songs with an irreverent beat, for lack of a better way to describe them, but we have many people who did not grow up in church and don't have a knowledge and appreciation for "old-fashioned" hymns. I have a collection of hymnbooks that I love to pull out and play preludes and offertories from. Many times an older person will come up and tell me that they haven't heard a particular song in many years. They are often surprised that I actually know the songs because I am younger. There is so much good theology in them and they are truly uplifting. Keep encouraging the younger people in your church to be open to "new" old music!