Pastor Ilene Blanche, who founded the International House of Prayer

Did you know that prayer meetings have been the least attended in most churches? Boring.

Now bear with me, this will get better.

If I threw a party, I know you would come. We like to have fun. How about a wedding? Man, I love weddings. We all dress up, throw a big party, sing, do the happy dance, and love one another!

Moreover, what about a funeral? Would you go to a funeral? Yes, they are usually well attended. Here we get to see friends and family, eat, and share good stories and comfort one another.

Then there is the baby dedication Sunday. Oh boy! Babies! We love those cute chubby dressed up babies that wow the crowd. Everybody coos and awws. Smiles beam and hearts are warmed.

So then, we have prayer meetings. Sober and somber they are. It’s time to get serious. Some even quite dull and boring. I see why only a handful of people show up.

What happened? Why does the atmosphere change? Is a meeting with God a time to be heavy and burdened?

Did you know they are partying in heaven? Yes indeedy, they are dancing on streets of gold and shouting on the rooftops. Praises and singing, joy and happiness is everywhere.

So then, why do we think our prayer meetings must be somber and so unattended? They have been more like work than connecting with a loving Heavenly Father who if filled with love and joy.

Listen, I get it. There is a time for everything under heaven. A time to weep and a time for joy, a time to be serious and a time to be lighthearted.

What bothers me about the whole thing is that we have labeled prayer meetings to be a time of asking God for our most dire needs and seeing ourselves as poor and pitiful.

As Christians, we are no longer poor and pitiful even though it does seem like that at times. Now we have the Holy Spirit. Let the weak say, “I am strong in the power and might of the Holy Spirit.”

Now let me paint a new picture of a prayer meeting. I see Holy Spirit filled believers spending time in the presence of a Loving, Compassionate God who is eager to engage with them. The joy of the Lord is our strength. It’s time to connect with God!

These prayers come with expectation. Together they enter His presence with praise and thanksgiving. Their conversation is filled with knowing they are encountering God.

They are fervent. Passion and fire fill the room. We are here to do Kingdom business. Filled with the Holy Ghost they release the words of God to create the desired change.

Miracles are about to happen. Heaven and earth are colliding and God wins. Joy bursts on the scene knowing God is moving. It’s happening, God is on the move. Now, that’s an encounter with God.

No, not all prayer meetings will be the same. Yes, at times we weep with compassion and love for others and ourselves, our hearts gripped.

But, “do season” is here. It is time for some new out looks on prayer. Yes, God is Holy. He is to be revered and honored. He is Father. He is a good, good Father.

Prayer time is an encounter with God. Prayer is connecting heaven and earth. He is Love, Joy, Peace, Gentleness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Patient, Self-Controlled and Kind. All of which will be present in our times of prayer as we enter into His Presence.

Let’s think this over together. Can we venture into new territory in our prayer gatherings? Are we ready to move on and grow? Due Season is at hand. This is a move.

The Rev. Ilene Blanche is founder and director of the International House of Prayer in Rochester. Pulpit runs on the Saturday faith pages and features reflections from area religious leaders. To contribute, contact Jeff Pieters at 285-7748.

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