Consider Moving Your Prayer Meeting to Sunday

About 3 years ago the elders of my assembly faced a bit of a dilemma.  The attendance at the mid-week prayer meeting was only about 15-20% of the assembly (sound familiar?).  What was good was that a number of people who couldn’t make it out mid-week, for whatever reason, had shown an interest in being involved in corporate prayer. Now that’s encouraging.

Lump it or leave it?

One option would have been to look down on them and tell them, “If you really cared about prayer then you would be at the mid-week meeting.” Sadly this attitude permeates many who feel their commitment is greater than others and that attendance to specific meetings is the only thing that matters.

How important is prayer really?

As we prayed about this we realized something. If we (as elders) are going to say that prayer is important, and we do think it is, how can we say it’s not important enough to make the time of the meeting when the majority can be there to pray?

If we were to be adamant about keeping the prayer time on a mid-week evening then we would in fact be communicating that we don’t think prayer is that important.

Time for a change

After some more time praying and speaking to the saints in the assembly the elders decided to change the corporate prayer meeting to Sunday night. The results were immediate. Now instead of 15-20% of the saints together praying there were 50-60%.

Families that couldn’t make it out mid-week were able to bring their children and allow them to experience prayer. Teenagers and college students who had classes and assignments mid-week were now there praying.

What about the mid-week meeting?

Part of the positive results of moving the prayer meeting was the ability to spend more time mid-week focused on Bible study. We will still get only 15-20% out but there is a greater amount of time spent on learning the Word. This has also allowed us the flexibility to hold different kinds of studies mid-week.

Sometimes we have discussion, sometimes a speaker, sometimes men and women will separate and have their own prayer and discussion times.  Having a variety of study methods has given more life to the mid-week meeting.


Each assembly needs to evaluate their corporate prayer time and ask a simple question. Can we make a change that will benefit a greater number of people in the assembly?  Show that you consider prayer important and that you are flexible in arranging times to help the saints become a part of that prayer time. It doesn’t have to be Sunday evening. It could be during Sunday morning or even a different day/time if it works better for more people.



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    At Grace Bible Chapel (Timmins) we have a short time of corporate prayer after the Lord’s Supper. (10-15 minutes). We devote the first Wednesday to Solely corporate prayer and a short time of corporate prayer each of the other Wednesday evenings followed by our study. We had a week of prayer last November which was well attended. In the past 2 years we have moved to a less formal study with a study emphasizing discussion. Some have been the study of Emmaus courses and some video series. Our attendance more than doubled. We even had a differentiated study last spring with 2 groups splitting apart after our corporate prayer.


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    I think my head just exploded…just kidding. I think it’s great that you are adapting to what works best for the people in your assemblies. Can I ask if your prayer time is broken up into small groups (men and women separately) or if you all pray together in one large group?


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      It’s all in one group at the moment. Once a month on a Wednesday we do an extended prayer time where the men and women separate to pray but on Sunday nights at the moment it’s all one group with just the men praying.


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    Thanks, Crawford.

    This is a complicated issue. There isn’t a lot of NT precedent for a midweek meeting. In fact, I think there are maybe one or two examples of a meeting specifically for prayer. So, what does that mean?

    Part of it may be that a group being defined by “meetings” is a somewhat modern affectation. While the NT doesn’t talk a lot about meetings, it does talk about “continuing steadfastly,” being in “one accord,” “having all things common,” meeting “house to house,” and stuff like that. It seems that the local church in the New Testament was not defined by “coming” together (although they did come together, as in, “to break bread”), but by “being together.”

    This is what makes the whole idea of being available or not being available for the midweek meeting so problematic to me. On one hand, I don’t know that there needs to be a midweek meeting, a Sunday evening meeting, a youth-group meeting, a singing meeting, a preaching meeting…anything other than the breaking of bread. It’s really shouldn’t be about meetings. But the problem is when the Christians in fellowship have ordered our lives (myself included) so that we are not available for each other.

    Understanding the realities of 21st Century family life, I find it laudable that you have endeavored to be flexible, and work assembly life around the busy lives and priorities of the Christians. Still, I’m afraid that we could all use a good dose of re-establishing our priority. We are not members of an organization. We are not consumers of what “church” has to offer. We ARE THE Church.

    The solution, I think, is to look outside the meetings. We could all get serious about applying our gifts deliberately. Spending time with older saints, single moms, kids who need attention, teens who need friends three times their age (got that from my pal, Jerry Denny). Or, as my pal Michael Donahue says, you could completely revolutionize a local assembly without touching any of the meetings, by what you do OUTSIDE of the meetings.

    Thanks for the thinking, Crawford. Good to chew on.


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      Very good points and would take a whole book to address this. I agree 100% and the Lord has been convicting me seriously about this very issue for the past 6 months. For most of the assembly we have become a system revolving around programs instead of a body connected to the head. So much to say but I’ll leave it at that for now. 🙂


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