If you’re not careful, you can leave a well-intentioned prayer meeting downright discouraged.
We all come in on Wednesday evening with a fair share of anxieties and burdens that are simply part of a normal week. Then, we hear about tragedy after tragedy — from natural disasters to corruption in the government to the vast spiritual darkness all over the world to the deaths and illnesses of loved ones. By the time you’ve heard all of that, even after you have faithfully committed each need to the Lord, you can walk out the door with a grim look on your face, and a heavy feeling in your heart. Not exactly what you might hope for in a prayer meeting.
What we need as we confess together the sea of problems and heartache of a broken world, is a right vision of God. We need to fix our eyes by faith on the God to whom Jeremiah said, “Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” (Jeremiah 32:17) We need a proper vision of God’s matchless beauty, his unchanging character, his certain promises, to flood our souls and strengthen our hearts.
So, last week we prayed through some of the attributes of God.
It’s a simple idea, really. I simply selected a few key attributes of God from my own Bible reading or theological study, such as God’s perfect wisdom. I gathered three or four passages that spoke to each attribute, and making sure I knew the context well enough to be able to unpack and explain as needed when introducing the verses. For God’s wisdom, one of the verses I selected was Romans 11:33: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” I then typed each attribute and supporting verses up into a simple, one-page prayer guide so everyone could follow along.
In the prayer meeting, after a song or hymn that focuses on God’s greatness (we sang Great is Thy Faithfulness), I introduced the first attribute and asked participants to read the selected verses printed on the prayer guide. As time allowed, we reflected together on the beauty of each attribute. We contrasted God’s infinite excellence in each particular area to our own frailty in order to gain proper perspective (ie, contrasting God’s perfect wisdom with our wisdom, his omnipotence with our strength, etc.) We made application of each attribute of God to the needs and cares that members are bringing in with them to the meeting, stressing that God himself gives his people confidence and assurance like nothing else. For instance, we were able to apply the perfect wisdom of our sovereign God to some of major health problems a few of our members have been experiencing. Then, I asked someone to begin the time of prayer. Prayers of praise, confession, thanks, and supplication were mingled together, all informed by a profoundly Biblical view of God.
It was so good for all of our souls, we are praying through three more attributes of God tonight.