Powerhouse - the BCP Prayer Meeting
It’s not what we call it; the prayer meeting. But we do believe it. ‘Powerhouse’ could work. It says what we think. Perhaps I’ll run it up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes it. But before I do, I have a confession to make. It’s about prayer meetings regardless of what you call them. I rarely feel like going. There you go, I’ve said it. I know. It’s rubbish. But I’m being honest. And I’m going to hazard a guess that I’m not alone! Am I right?
It’s not that I don’t like them. I do. Once I’m there and I get going. It’s the idea of them I don’t like. And it is unquestionably the case that I have attended more church prayer meetings in my Christian life than I would otherwise have done for the simple reason that I have been employed by the church that’s holding them. It’s also helped that I’ve had to be responsible for hosting and leading most of those prayer meetings. And if I don’t turn up, people notice.
But the truth is, even if it’s not a battle to get there, it’s a battle to feel like I want to be there. And, for me, the battle rages hardest during those months in the UK Calendar when it’s dark outside. And so May, June and July are my sweet spot! But even then, it’s a struggle. And it’s a struggle because I’m a sinner. I’m independent. I think I can do it on my own. I want to do it on my own. And I try to do it on my own. And prayerlessness is an assertion of independence because nothing says dependence like seeking the provision of our loving heavenly father.
And so, it was good to have our first ever ‘proper’ church prayer gathering last Wednesday. This not meant to imply that we’ve never prayed as a church before. We have. In fact, for the first six months the only meetings we had were prayer meetings. Every month. We prayed about the plausibility and possibility of planting a church in Peckham. And amazingly we can now look back on those meetings that started a year ago with retrospective fondness. Tomorrow we ‘go live’. But last Wednesday night was the first official Bridge Church Peckham prayer meeting. And it was terrific. We were few in number but that made it intimate. We were in a home and not a church building or school hall but that made it comfortable. We didn’t have a large sheet full of details but that made it spontaneous. It was like the much bigger more complex prayer meetings that I’ve had the privilege of being a part of over the past few years paired back to the simplest essence of prayer: God’s people petitioning him for his provision.
I’m not saying that my unbelieving independence has been overcome. I fully expect that to be a constant battle until my sinful nature is destroyed. But I am saying that the idea of them is that bit more attractive than they’ve been for a while. See you at the next one?