Summary: The effective prayer meeting is the one that produces results and brings solution to the issue at stake. Believers need to know the content and practice of result oriented prayer meeting.
THE EFFECTIVE PRAYER MEETING
TEXT: ACTS 4:23-31
"And when they had prayed,the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and they spake the Word of God with boldness" (Act 4:31).
The effectiveness of a prayer meeting is measured by the accomplishments of such spiritual exercise. Our opening scripture points to the results obtained after an effective prayer meeting.
Looking at the Church today,a lot of activities go on in the name of prayer meeting which in some cases are not usually effective. However the passage before us gives us an insight into the content and method of an effective prayer meeting.
The apostles had been under severe persecution and had just been released under strict conditions
For a proper understanding of the passage,let's take a closer look under the following headings:
KEEPING GODLY COMPANY IN PRAYER.
Verse23 "And being let go they went to their own company ..."
Their own company refers to the company of believers. Undoubtedly when these apostles were arrested,the other disciples stayed in the gap for them in prayers. As soon as they were released,the apostles went to narrate their trials, ordeals and the verdict passed on them to their company.Note here that it was to the fellowship of believers that the apostles went to and not that of blood relations or unbelieving friends but to the people of like precious faith.
Remember also that when Daniel was having a life threatening verdict hanging over his head as one of the wise men in Babylon because of their inability to tell the king his dream and the interpretation, he went to his companions whom he was sure, were connected to God( Daniel 2:16-19).
*What kind of company did you keep?
*Who do you discuss your matter with?
*Is it people who will only gossip about your problem or people who will pray over it?
Your prayer can only be effective if you pray with the right set of people. An Achan in your prayer meeting might lead to defeat. Effective prayer is a Christian family affair ;stranger are not allowed.
UNITY IN PRAYER
Verse 24A "And when they heard that they lifted their voice to God with one accord"
The people were united in raising the same prayer point to God in one accord. They were all of one mind. None was uninterested,unconcerned or lukewarm but all were in earnest and united in faith and prayer.
It was not the time for any quiet prayer or just shaking and nodding one's head; It was crying aloud unto God.
COMMENCE YOUR PRAYER WITH WORSHIP AND PRAISE.
Verse24B "....and said,Lord thou are God, which hast made heaven, and earth,and the sea,and all that in them is"
They commenced the prayer meeting with worship and adoration unto God. They did not rush into making requests and petitions in spite of the fact that the prayer was necessitated by severe persecution. They still deemed it necessary to honour God. Starting prayer with praise and worship is in agreement with the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. The framework He gave us in the Lord Prayer commenced with adoration "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven. Hallow be thy name.( Matthew:6:9).
Psalms 100:4 also lays credence to the above fact when it said "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him,and bless His name".
Therefore begin your prayer with praise and worship no matter what is at stake.
In verse 25-28, the word of God was the foundation of their prayer meeting. They reminded God of His promises in the Scripture. Hear them:
"Who by the mouth of David hast said..." They linked their prayer with scriptural anticident in Psalms 2 to buttress their petitions.
Praying in line with the Word of God,gives divine guarantee and backing for our prayers to be answered.
"And this is confidence we have in Him, that,if we ask anything according to His will,He heareth us" (1John5:14)
Let your prayer be "scriptural praying"; filled with scriptural promises. Pray the word. Say the word back to Him. He honours His word more than His name.
SPECIFIC REQUEST IN LOVE.
Verses29-30 tell us of their specific requests.
"And now,Lord, behold their threatening:and grant unto thy servants,that with all boldness they may speak Thy Word, By stretching forth Thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders be done by the name of Thy holy child Jesus"
It is worth of note that their requests were inspired by love. Eventhough they were facing persecution,they never prayed against their enemies or persecutors.
Instead they prayed for:
1. boldness to preach the Word.
2. manifestation of healing power
3.manifestation of signs and wonders.
So, be specific and hit the desired target in your prayers which must be motivated by love.