The Prayer Meeting
At 6:45 you leave for church for the weekly 7 PM prayer meeting. There is not a man in sight as you enter the room. Several small clusters of women are talking quietly and you join your cluster. The topic typically is about your kids, your very busy schedule and sometimes includes some comments about leaving your kids with your husband. This can produce a few chuckles. Your day was a blur and hard to remember when or where it started. You are looking for a few minutes of peace. That is the main reason you are here, along with some time to talk to adults. You have not prepared yourself for the prayer meeting. You have not even thought about your own prayer requests though you are sure you can pull our several hundred when asked.
At about 7:18 the leader, an older woman, asks everyone to grab a seat. It takes about seven minutes for that to happen and for quiet to reign. The leader welcomes everybody and reminds them that we are in God’s presence and are here to pray what is on God’s heart, not our own agenda. She concludes with a “friendly” reminder about short, popcorn prayers. “All of us would like a few minutes to share our thoughts and prayers so please be respectful of others.”
With that said, Judy’s hand goes up immediately. With tears and sobs she relates her entire story along with sordid details of her husband’s affair last week. Twenty five minutes later she ends and that prompts others to gather around, lay hands on Judy and pray for her. Once this is completed, Henrietta launches into her analysis of the school board and their upcoming textbook decisions. She only takes eighteen minutes but by the time the group prays for her request it is 8:30 which has traditionally been the designated time to conclude the meeting. The leader apologizes for not getting everyone’s prayers entered. “We certainly had some good prayer tonight. If you like, email me your requests and I will send them on to the group.” A hand goes up and this woman tells the group that the reason Emily is not here tonight is that her tests for breast cancer came back positive. Judy blurts out that her husband’s brother has by-pass surgery in two days (She takes another seven minutes to relate this story).
The leader now has lost complete control and calls for order and asks Julia to lift up those requests. By 9:26 the group is headed out the door to their cars. Several women are still in the parking lot praying for each other at 10:15.