I have been using quotes from this Charles Spurgeon sermon for the past several weeks in our Wednesday night prayer meeting. Here’s an excerpt on the encouragement that prayer meetings are designed to bring to a discouraged church:
“Beloved, let every church learn the value of its prayer-meetings in its darkest hour. When the pastor is gone, and when it has been difficult to find a suitable successor; when, it may be, there are splits and divisions; when death falls upon honored members, when poverty comes in, when there is a spiritual famine, and when the Holy Spirit appears to have withdrawn himself — then there is but one remedy for these and a thousand other evils, and that one remedy is contained in this short sentence, “Let us pray.”
Those churches which are now writing “Ichabod” (i.e., “The glory has departed”) on their walls, and who sorrowfully confess that the congregation is slowly dwindling, might soon restore their numbers if they only knew how to pray. These Brothers and Sisters, though they are presently discouraged, would soon change defeat into success, and their spirits would be revived simply by drawing near to God.
And if any of you are personally afflicted and troubled in your lives, you will find that, after meeting God in His throne room, your own private prayer closet will be especially comforting to you, and after that, come and unite with the saints of God, who have all most likely experienced the same struggles and assaults like yours, and as you hear them pouring out their hearts and making requests such as you would make, but scarcely know how to word them, you will clearly see the footsteps of the flock, and in time you will see the Shepherd himself. One of the first uses of the prayer-meeting, then, is to encourage a discouraged people.”