What is a Prayer Meeting?

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A charismatic prayer meeting has been called a “miracle” and, in one of the broad senses of that word as used by St. Paul, “a work of power!”  We believe that the Holy Spirit is the leader of the prayer group and that no two meetings will be the same.

The Spirit guides the group, as a group, but He also guides each of us personally in asking us to share in the praises of the Lord.

The phenomenon which will probably attract your attention, and might even dismay you, is singing or praying aloud with sounds which do not seem to be words.  This is called praying, or singing in tongues.  If you listen, you will find there is a subtle harmony which is almost ethereal in quality, as a group without effort or direction sings the praises of the Lord in the way which He guides them.  It can happen at times that some join in this harmony without being called by the Spirit, and then a disharmony can become evident.  Do not be disturbed.  Once again the leader will quietly and lovingly call the group to listen to the Lord’s prompting and not their own feelings or desires.

This “listening” to the Lord is the foundation of a charismatic prayer meeting.  The purpose of a prayer meeting is to pray; to give praise and worship to the Lord.  Everything else is subordinated to this.

At some time in the meeting there will most likely be “sharing,” “scripture reading,” and “prophecy,” as the Spirit leads His people and they begin to respond.

The charismatic gifts exercised by individuals and by the community are given for the up building of the community and are not signs of any particular sanctity on the part of those given the task.  The Lord has given each member of His mystical body special gifts for the up building of His body, and we have a serious responsibility to exercise these gifts.  Every member of the body depends upon every other for support and growth.  Failure to exercise the gifts the Lord has given us under the guise of humility (and a false one at that) is a failure to love those brothers and sisters God has grouped with us.

Our response to the Lord should always be a sincere and open, “Yes, Lord” to anything and everything He asks of us.  We will sometimes make mistakes, but mistakes which happen to men of good will can be amended by others of good will.

I pray that the Lord will guide you and that you will be able to respond to His call.  Praise the Lord, my brothers and sisters, for in Him and through His Holy Spirit we are made one as brothers and sisters with God our Father!

Excerpted from “A Charismatic Prayer Meeting” by Fr. Ralph Tichenor, S.J.