The following explanation was published by Norwich Diocesan Charismatic Renewal Services several years ago. It is one of many good explanations commonly used for many years to help people understand.
It is a weekly gathering
A “Prayer Meeting” is a weekly gathering of Christians to give praise, thanks, honor and love to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. It is a time we gather in community, to praise God on a one-to-one basis, as the Holy Spirit moves us.
It is not a discussion club
A “Prayer Meeting” is not a discussion club, a therapy session, or a time for counseling. We come to give our full attention to Jesus – through the help of the Holy Spirit (who will teach us all truth.)
What is the content of a prayer meeting? (See 1 Cor. 14:26-33)
Opening prayer; time of praise and worship; singing; prophecy (God speaking through someone); tongues (in song as well); interpretation of tongues; scripture reading; teachings; testimony; sharing.
How long do the prayer meetings last?
Prayer meetings usually last a minimum of 1 ½ hours. (Matt. 26:40 “How is it that you were not able to watch with me for one hour?)
Do I have to raise my hands and pray like others do?
No. You should pray as you feel comfortable, as if you were alone with Jesus. Pray as you feel comfortable, but also respect others, the way they pray and feel comfortable.
Do I have to say “praise the Lord,” “alleluia,” etc.?
No. You do not have to say or do anything you are not comfortable with. Just keep open to the Holy Spirit and pray however you wish. Just pray.
Is a prayer group a parish organization?
No. A prayer group is made up of individuals that get together weekly as a family for the purpose of giving Jesus the praise He deserves. The first and primary purpose of all prayer is to praise and honor the God who created us and who gives us all the gifts and blessings we enjoy.
What are the spiritual gifts we pray for? (See 1 Cor. 12; also 13 & 14)
Wisdom; knowledge; faith; prophecy (2 Peter 1:20-21); discernment of spirits; tongues (Acts 2:4); interpretation of tongues; healing (Acts 5: 12-16); miracles (Acts 2:43).
Is the “Baptism in the Spirit” a new sacrament?
No. It is merely a RELEASE of the POWER of the Holy Spirit already within US, helping us to appreciate Jesus, the Bible, our daily prayer life, our faith, etc., in a deeper way.
Do we have to speak at a prayer meeting?
No. The ones who speak, prophesy or read are usually moved to do so by the Holy Spirit (John 14:26) “the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you.”
What is a testimony?
A testimony is telling how the Lord is working in your life. One’s testimony should be short and to the point. Nothing can deaden a testimony more than rambling and irrelevant detail. Make it “short and sweet.”
How can I grow spiritually?
Attend the prayer meeting each week, read from the Bible at least 15 minutes daily, talk to the Lord throughout the day and take time to listen to Him (through prayer). Short courses will be offered as time goes on, as a “Life in the Spirit Seminar”, a “Foundations Course”, Scripture Courses, etc.
Who can give a teaching at a meeting?
A teaching is reserved to one who has cleared through the leadership or core group. This is to insure proper teaching content.
Is a prayer meeting based on the Bible?
Yes. Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in their midst.” (Matt. 18:19-20) (1 Cor. 14:26; Acts 1:14; Acts 2:42; Revelation 3:20-21; Revelation 22:17)
Why do we sing? (Colossians 3:16)
Singing is a way of praying, praising and worshipping God. St. Augustine said, “He who sings prays twice.” It should not turn into a songfest. We should pause between songs, readings, prophecies, etc. and LISTEN. This is the time the Holy Spirit can talk to us. We need SILENCE to reflect and allow the Spirit to work.
Why do some greet others with a hug?
This is just a sign of brotherhood. (See 1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14)
Is a prayer meeting like a Eucharistic Celebration (Liturgy or Mass)?
Don’t compare one with the other. The Eucharist is a reliving of the greatest act of love that ever took place upon the earth – the Last Supper and Calvary combined (Jesus offering Himself to the last drop of blood for each of us.) In the Eucharist we receive Jesus, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. In a prayer meeting Jesus is present as in the Mass, in the Scripture readings, where two or three are gathered, in each other, in prophecy, etc., only we worship Him from an informal viewpoint rather than in a structured celebration.
Where can I read something on the Holy Spirit in the Bible?
John 14:16 and 26; John 15:26; John 16:7 and 13; Acts 1:4 and 8; Acts 2:4, 17 and 38; Acts 4:31; Acts 5:32; Acts 8:17; Acts 10:44-48; Acts 19:5 and 6; Romans 8:1-17, 26-27; 1 Cor. 3:16; Galatians 5:16-26; and others.
Is Satan real?
See Ephesians 6:10-18; 1 Peter 5:8; Matt. 4:1-11, Matt. 8:28-34; Matt. 13:36-43; Mark 1-4.
What is the importance of prayer and fasting?
See Matthew 17:20-21; Matthew 21:22; Mark 9:29; Mark 11:22-26; Mark 14:37-38; Luke 6:12; Luke 11:1-11; John 8:42-47; Luke 4:1-12; Luke 6:12-16; John 11:41-42; Matthew 26:36-46; Acts 2:42.
What should I keep in mind when attending a prayer meeting?
1. Come at least 4 or 5 times before making a judgment. It takes that long to understand how the Spirit is working.
2. Pray as you feel comfortable and let others do the same.
3. Praying alone we are easily distracted. We support each other at a prayer meeting.
4. Pause between songs, readings and teachings to allow the Spirit to work.
5. Don’t concentrate on others; concentrate on Jesus and you.
6. All ages are welcome. We are all children of God (grammar school and senior citizen).
7. Prepare for the meetings through prayer and sacrifice.
8. Don’t be afraid; you are with friends. Don’t let the evil one discourage you.
9. You will experience the “fruits of the spirit” as you progress (Galatians 5:22; see also Gifts 1 Cor. 12)
10. If you do not have an opportunity to speak or share at the meetings, you may do so after the meeting with others during the coffee hour.
11. If you have any questions please don’t leave until you get an answer. We love you – and together we love God – and HELP EACH OTHER AS BROTHERS AND SISTERS.
“Praise, Honor and Glory are Yours, Lord!”
St. Paul, Philippians 1:9-11: Finally, “My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that you may always recognize what is best. This will help you to become pure an spotless and prepare for the Day of Christ when you will reach the perfect goodness which Jesus Christ produces in us for the glory and praise of God.”