The genesis of the Wednesday Night Prayer Meetings or Services in America is uncertain. However, not unlike many of America’s Christian traditions, there are those who pin down the beginnings of the Wednesday night service to the custom of slaves in the U.S. who sought to meet together for support and prayer. The mid-week prayer meetings were sporadically talked about before 1800, but became more the main stay through the practices of evangelists like Charles Finney and D. L. Moody in the 1800’s. Moody typically held prayer gatherings at noon in association with his preaching crusades.
At some point in 1857-1858, a Spiritual Awakening, later called the Prayer Meeting Revival, took place. Not later than 1900, mid-week prayer meetings or services began to be rather common in many Protestant churches. By the 1950’s, the prayer emphasis of the mid-week meeting gradually transformed to something similar to what you see on Sunday mornings, at times a Bible teaching and music were included.
For this writer, the Wednesday night meetings have always been a way to get “recharged” in the midst of a busy workweek, especially being exposed to the worldly ways after the Sunday Worship times. I love that personal prayer requests can be shared in trust, Bible study can be deeply engaged in attentiveness, and individual questions can be asked and answered. For me, I see the Wednesday night prayer gathering as a necessary part of staying spiritually on track, and adding power to the ministries of the church. My last three churches allowed me the privilege to present a 45 minute Bible study followed by a 45 minute time of corporate prayer.
Sadly today, the Wednesday night prayer service is becoming disillusioned; also, the long-established Sunday evening service is hard to find.
We have no Scriptural directive for the Wednesday night prayer meeting, as such; however its downfall could be a sign of the spiritual condition of this generation. The early church met together daily to pray, worship, study Scripture, and break bread (Acts 2:46).
In recent years in America, professing Christians barely make time to meet together once a week. Yes, some churches still schedule a mid-week prayer gathering; sadly enough, this is usually the service of the church with the poorest attendance. And we wonder why the American Christian Church is not as powerful in the Spirit as our sister churches in other parts of the world. If you are not praying at your church, with your church, and for your church, you deserve what you get. Never complain about your church until you have long wept before God for your church! Oh, by the way, those last two sentences apply to your pastor as well. Are you praying for your pastor?
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)
Church, we need a Prayer Meeting Revival again, Pray On!