COVID-19 Has Helped Our Church to Pray More Fervently
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Our prayer meetings have seldom been times of great encouragement to this pastor’s heart.
When I became the pastor of our church in Munich, our church had a weekly Bible study. Yet once a month we would hold a prayer meeting instead of the Bible study. On good days, the attendance of the prayer meeting was half of the Bible study’s. On one occasion, someone showed up for the Bible study, realized it was a prayer meeting, and apologetically turned around and left. We tried doing different things in the prayer time, but whatever we tried, they were never well-attended.
Then the coronavirus spread and we were told we couldn’t gather anymore as a church. Everything came to a screeching stop, including our prayer meetings. We quickly decided to switch to online services and finally to start a church podcast that we had planned for a while.
A colleague also suggested something unusual—that we start a daily prayer time over Skype for anyone interested. He announced it through an email to all our members. I was both delighted and curious to see how it would go.
I missed the first call due to other commitments but told him I would join the next day. But after the first Skype prayer time, he emailed me and said we were going to add a second time-slot ninety minutes later because so many members wanted to be part of it. I witnessed another call our second Skype prayer time, and it was very well attended. Three weeks into it, our numbers have not dwindled. Quite the opposite, we are now moving to other platforms and additional prayer times to increase capacity.
I’ve been convicted about this. Before all this, it wasn’t just the church that wasn’t eager to meet for prayer. I myself was more interested in Bible studies than prayer meetings. But this is changing—for me and for many in the church. In fact, these prayer times have become my daily highlight. They are sweet times. Yes, we can’t meet. And yet, we remain closely connected. It’s a great joy to see many of our members whom I’d never seen at a prayer meeting; I’d never heard them pray before—and now I hear them every day.
As we pray over the internet, I can sense a growing desire for in-person prayer times. My hope and my prayer is that this will last beyond COVID-19, that the disciplines started here will continue and bring health to our church’s prayer life.
God is good. He consistently uses circumstances that we might think are bad to bring about his glorious purposes among his people.