Prayers to open a church meeting

Here is a collection of Prayers for Meetings of any kind: Business meetings, Sunday school meetings, church or family meetings, and prayer meetings.

Opening Prayer for Meeting

Lord, we are meeting today to conduct matters
of business. Guide our hearts and our minds in the
spirit of fairness, right thought and speech. Impart your
supreme wisdom upon our activities so that our affairs
may reach a successful conclusion. Thank you for being
our source of guidance today. Amen!

Read our full collection of Opening and Closing Prayers

Prayer to Come to an Agreement

Dear God, we seek your help with our affairs today.
Bless this meeting with your divine intelligence, and
help us to make the best use of our own. We are
of diverse opinion here. Yet we wish to mend our
differences and reach agreement satisfactory to all.

Please share a little of your wisdom with us to help
us do right by all concerned. Thank you for your
Heavenly blessing. Amen!

Sunday School Meeting

O God, we thank You for this privilege of meeting
today in Your house. Help us worship You
acceptably. Bless Your word to us all.

Bless our pastor and people, in the name
of Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.!

School Board Meeting Prayer

Loving and Gracious God, you are indeed the giver of all good gifts
and we thank you today for all your blessings, for the successful outcomes
of our school events and for all our staff members, both the teaching and
support members.

We ask that you bless them abundantly and we continue to seek your wisdom,
guidance, courage and strength. Be with us in our deliberations and help us
to be wise in the decisions we make for the good of all those who have placed
their trust and confidence in our leadership.

Give us insight to lead with integrity that our decisions may reflect what is
right and good. Keep us from short-sightedness and pettiness. Help us to make
decisions that are for the good of all and guard us from blind self interest.
Dear Lord, grant us the humility to always seek your will in all that we do and say.

All Glory be to you, loving God, now and always through Christ and the Holy Spirit
forever and ever. Amen.

Hosting a prayer meeting? Check out these great Prayer Meeting Ideas.

Family Meeting Prayer

Our family gathers today in joyous occasion,
thanks to our Lord who looks after us all.
Bless this happy meeting and may we all
be praised in Your gracious name!

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When closing a meeting, thanking God for his continued protection and inspiration is just one way to end a bible study or meeting. Here is a look at some great opening and closing prayers for meetings that will help encourage your continued commitment and dedication to the Lord.

Prayers #1

Lord, as we gather today at this meeting we ask that You will be in our midst. Help us to make decisions that will be pleasing to You. Help us to be able to discuss the matters at hand in a reasonable way, and to be willing to give up having our own way.

God let this meeting be productive and, as should be the case in all areas of our lives, help us to keep You at the forefront of our minds

as we do the work set before us.
Amen

Prayers #2

Jesus as we gather together to learn about You, may You meet us here. Help all of the teachers to be able to answer the questions posed, and help all of the children listen and retain what they hear.

Help the students to be attentive, and the teachers to be patient. May the lessons that are taught help to instill righteousness in these children, and may the seeds planted here continue to guide them throughout their lives.
Amen

Prayers #3

You, O God, are my strength, my patience, my light and my counsel. It is you who make responsive to me the students confided to my care. Abandon me not to myself for one moment.

For my own conduct and for that of my students, grant me the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of knowledge and piety, the spirit of holy fear of you, and an ardent zeal to procure your glory.

I unite my efforts to those of Jesus Christ, the master teacher, and I beg all saints in Heaven to assist me in the exercise of my teaching ministry.
Amen

Prayers #4

O God of truth, prepare our minds To hear and heed your holy word; Fill every heart that longs for you With your mysterious presence, Lord. Almighty Father, with your Son And blessed Spirit, hear our prayer: Teach us to love eternal truth And seek its freedom everywhere.
Amen

Prayers #5

As we close this meeting, Lord, we want to give honor to You. Thank You, God, for the time we had today to discuss issues and make decisions.

May You bless each person who took the time to gather here today and let Your hand of protection be on them throughout the rest of the week.

Let the work done here tonight come to fruition, and let it all be for Your glory. Help us each to do our parts to bring the plans discussed to life.
Amen

Prayers #6

God we thank You for meeting us here tonight, and for delivering Your Word through the speaker. May each soul in this place have been touched through the songs and the preaching, and may each take to heart the Word that came forth.

We pray that those seeking an answer received it, and that those who needed a special touch were granted that touch. Bless each of us and keep us safe until we are able to gather together again.

In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

Prayers #7

Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for God who created You has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother.
Amen

Prayers #8

Every prayer we have prayed
Every song we have sung
All the things we have learned
All the laughter and fun

Thank you for all the joy you bring
And our wonderful times together
May we walk with you as each new day begins
This day and forever
Amen.

Prayers #9

Father, thank you for all the marvelous things you have done today.
Thank you for your love that you have revealed to us,
And for the love that we share together as your body.

We pray for all the words you have sown into people’s hearts today.
Watch over them, protect them.
May they take root and produce wonderful things,
Things of beauty and great blessings to many.
And as we leave this place now, thank you that you walk with us.
May we be alert to your promptings
And live in your endless love.
For yours is the kingdom, the power and glory
In this age and forevermore.
Amen.

Prayers #10

Bless us as we meet together,
dear Lord we pray.
Bless the singing of your praise,
the reading of your Word,
the sharing of our fellowship,
the prayers that will be heard.
Bless us as we meet together,
dear Lord we pray.
Amen

Here is one example of a closing prayer performed by Wesley students at the United Methodist Campus Ministry.

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The following are sample opening and closing prayers you can make a part of your meeting. Creating the right setting for this time of prayer can be done with some lighted candles, soft background music, and a comfortable seating area. Feel free to customize these closing prayers for church meetings to suit your individual needs.

Prayer to Open a Meeting

Lord, as we gather today at this meeting we ask that You will be in our midst. Help us to make decisions that will be pleasing to You. Help us to be able to discuss the matters at hand in a reasonable way, and to be willing to give up having our own way.

God let this meeting be productive and, as should be the case in all areas of our lives, help us to keep You at the forefront of our minds as we do the work set before us.

Amen

Prayer to Close a Meeting

Father, thank you that you have revealed Your love to us today.
We invite You to send us out from here in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Fan into flame the gifts that you have given us,
Come reveal Your grace and truth to us each day.

For Yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory,
Forever and ever.

Amen.

Opening Prayer for Bible Study

Jesus as we gather together to learn about You, may You meet us here. Help all of the teachers to be able to answer the questions posed, and help all of the children listen and retain what they hear.

Help the students to be attentive, and the teachers to be patient. May the lessons that are taught help to instill righteousness in these children, and may the seeds planted here continue to guide them throughout their lives.

Amen

Closing Prayer for Bible Study

Lord, your word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.
Thank you that we can live in Your light and walk in Your truth.
May the things that you have revealed and thoughts that we have shared
dwell in our hearts and stir us to action.

We ask all this in the precious name of Jesus.

Amen.

Teachers Praying for Class

You, O God, are my strength, my patience, my light and my counsel. It is you who make responsive to me the students confided to my care. Abandon me not to myself for one moment.

For my own conduct and for that of my students, grant me the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of knowledge and piety, the spirit of holy fear of you, and an ardent zeal to procure your glory.

I unite my efforts to those of Jesus Christ, the master teacher, and I beg all saints in Heaven to assist me in the exercise of my teaching ministry.

Amen

End of Service Prayer

God we thank You for meeting us here tonight, and for delivering Your Word through the speaker. May each soul in this place have been touched through the songs and the preaching, and may each take to heart the Word that came forth.

We pray that those seeking an answer received it, and that those who needed a special touch were granted that touch. Bless each of us and keep us safe until we are able to gather together again.

In Jesus’ name we pray.

Amen

Short Closing Prayer

We thank you God for…

Every prayer we have prayed,
Every song we have sung,
All the things we have learned,
All the laughter and fun.

Thank you for all the joy you bring,
And our wonderful times together,
May we walk with you as each new day begins,
This day and forever.

Amen.

Closing Prayer for Meeting

Dear God,

Thank you for your amazing word, and for this opportunity to learn more about you.
Help us now to carry this new knowledge in our minds.
May it deeply impact our hearts, our relationships and our lives.

In Jesus name,

Amen.

Closing Prayer for Class

Father,

We give you thanks
that you have allowed us to work together
and serve you during this meeting.
We ask your blessing upon our endeavors,
and upon all present today.
May your love and grace continue to guide us,
in every thing that we do,
today and in the future.
We pray in Jesus name,

Amen.

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prayers to open a church meeting

I returned recently from a three week holiday with the family.  One of the great benefits of being away from home is the opportunity to meet with other churches.  It’s good for me to hear other men preach.  It’s good too to share in the life of another congregation, even if only for a short time.  It’s good to see how other churches do things.  It’s good to pray with another church.

You can learn a lot by attending the prayer-meeting in another church.

You learn something about the church’s priorities and concerns.  You learn something about the piety and spiritual life of the church.  You can catch a glimpse of how the church’s leaders relate to their fellow-members. How strongly do they direct the prayer-meeting?  How far do they leave it to the members to decide how to pray and what to pray for?

prayers to open a church meetingMost of the churches I know best follow a similar pattern in their prayer-meetings. Someone – usually the pastor or one of his fellow-elders – leads the meeting and after preliminary devotions (a hymn maybe, a Bible reading, a short encouragement to pray) lists some matters he thinks people should pray for.  He asks if anyone else has anything they’d like to mention, and then follows a time of “open prayer”.

The leader may pray first, or he may ask a particular member to pray first, but from that point on, everyone is invited or encouraged to pray “as they feel led”.  No-one knows who will pray next, how long (s)he may pray for, whether he’ll pray about one of the concerns the pastor has listed, or whether he’ll mention something completely different.  For that matter he may not mention any particular matter – his prayer may be largely praise for God’s attributes, a meditation on God’s kindness, thanksgiving for some particular blessing, or a confession of his own spiritual weakness.  And then at an appropriate time, the leader will call again on someone to bring the time of prayer to an end, or he’ll do so himself with a final prayer.

That’s the usual format.  But within that general format, the prayer-meetings in different churches may be very different.  In some, prayers may be ten, fifteen or twenty minutes long; in others, a prayer as long as three minutes would be unusual.  In some churches, prayers tend to be long meditations, quoting passages of Scripture and hymns, exploring God’s purposes and promises; in others prayers tend to be brisk, direct, asking for very definite, specific favours.  In some churches, prayers will be emotional, even passionate; in others, they will seem more measured and business-like.  In some, there will be long, pregnant pauses between prayers; in others, prayers will follow one another is a steady flow.

When did this sort of prayer meeting become a regular feature of church life?

prayers to open a church meeting

I don’t know.  I’ve tried to research the question a little, but come up with few answers.  But it seems that this sort of open prayer-meeting, where all the attenders are free to pray, was unknown among reformed churches until relatively recently (maybe the mid nineteenth century).  I’ve never found a reference to such prayer-meetings, for example, in the puritan era. It was assumed that when the church met, it was the responsibility of the minister to be the voice of the church, in prayer as well as in preaching.

The Westminster Directory for Public Worship never hints at meetings where others would be permitted to pray.  Even when the churches held fast days, set apart for fasting and prayer, it would be the minister who would pray on behalf of the church.  We read about John Howe (one of the ministers ejected from the Church of England in 1662) that:

“it was on these occasions his common way to begin about nine in the morning, with a prayer for about quarter an hour, in which he begged a blessing on the work of the day; and afterwards read and expounded a chapter or psalm, in which he spent about three quarters of an hour, then prayed for an hour, preached for another hour, and prayed for half-an-hour.  After this he retired, and took some little refreshment for about a quarter of an hour or more (the people singing all the while) and then came again into the pulpit, prayed for another hour, and gave them another sermon of about an hour’s length, and so concluded the service of the day at about four o’clock in the evening, with about half-an-hour or more in prayer…”

The believers who gathered, prayed by listening to the minister’s prayers, silently making them their own. They worshipped God by singing psalms and by listening to preaching.  But there was no point where they were expected to pray aloud.

Some churches of that era – particularly baptist and independent churches – seem to have been “a little more open”.  But even among these, the modern “prayer-meeting” was unknown.  Kenneth Dix after studying the calvinistic baptist churches of the 17th century wrote:

“There is little evidence to suggest that weekly prayer meetings were held. In some churches, a special prayer meeting was held in the week prior to the, normally, monthly ordinance of the Lord’s supper, which was held to be the most important service in the life of the church. Many churches also set apart days for prayer and fasting, some more or less on a monthly basis”.  He goes on to quote from the records of one such church, to show how these prayer days were conducted:  “We had a Day of Prayer, kept in ye open Wood from 9 to 4, where Six pray’d and 2 preached.”.  He comments: “You can work out the mental arithmetic for yourself: seven hours, six prayed and two preached.”

Clearly, these were not meetings where all the members of the church were expected to pray.  Particular trusted men (always men) were called on to pray, just as particular trusted men were called on to preach.

I find it helpful to look back to those times.  Whatever we think of the way the Puritans regulated public prayer, it stops us from taking it for granted that our way is the best way. Often, it’s just assumed that a “successful” prayer meeting is one where as many people pray aloud as possible.  But nobody saw it that way in the Puritan era.  For them, the test of a prayer-meeting was not “how many people prayed?” but “how far was the praying in line with God’s Word and empowered by God’s Spirit?” Surely they were right in that.  Far better a meeting where one or two people pray, led and empowered by the Holy Spirit, than a meeting where dozens of people pray without that help.

A church like Bunyan’s congregation in Bedford never held prayer meetings in our modern sense.  But it saw wonderful answers to prayer.

The praying of that church was powerful and effective.  The church, through its chosen men, prayed for the presence of God in their meetings – and he answered their prayers.  They prayed for God to use Bunyan’s preaching, and he became one of the most powerful evangelists in history.  They prayed that he would be sustained through his long imprisonments, and God answered them by helping him to write Pilgrim’s Progress in his prison cell.  They prayed for the persecutions to end, and in due time, God brought them out of their trials.

I once attended a conference where a group of church leaders discussed the question “how can we make our prayer meetings more effective?”.  But all they were interested in was, “how can we get more people to pray aloud?”.   They seemed to think that that was the only thing that mattered.  But surely the measure of “effectiveness” is “do we get the things we ask for, from God?” And nobody at that conference even asked how we can make our prayer meetings effective in that way.

So would I want to go back to the days of the Puritans?

prayers to open a church meeting

Would I want to abolish the prayer meeting or restrict  the audible praying to two or three chosen men?  No, I wouldn’t. Why not?  Well because I don’t find that sort of restriction in the New Testament.  It’s difficult to believe that in the prayer-meetings described in the book of Acts, only the apostles or the elders prayed.

We read how the apostles gathered in the upstairs room in Jerusalem to pray for the gift of the Spirit (Acts 1:13-14): “all these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers…” We read about the three thousand who were converted on the Day of Pentecost; “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship and the breaking of bread and prayers…” (Acts 2:42).  Does that really mean they just listened and said Amen to the apostles’ prayers?  When Peter was set free from prison in the middle of the night by an angel, he “went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying…” (Acts 12:12).  Does that really mean that one man prayed aloud through the night, while others listened silently?  Surely not.

Paul tells Timothy that he wanted “the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or quarrelling” (1 Timothy 2:8).  Does he really mean that he wants pastors and maybe a few other appointed men to pray?  No – on the face of it, he wants and expects all the men in all the churches to be prepared to pray, and to be in a fit spiritual state to do so.

Nor does he limit the praying to men.  Clearly he expects the men to take the lead.  He particularly wants them to pray in the meetings of the church.  But in 1 Cor 11:5, he assumes that women too will pray, albeit with proper modesty.

The New Testament lays down no rules for prayer-meetings.

prayers to open a church meeting

It doesn’t tell us how long they should be, how many different issues we should pray about, how many people should pray aloud, whether there should always be praise and confession as well as requests, whether specific people should be asked to pray, or whether everyone should pray in turn.  A church is free to do whatever seems most appropriate.

As a church we try to be flexible.  In our Lord’s Day services, it’s usually the man who preaches who puts the church’s prayers into words.  But at the end of the meeting, often I’ll ask another of the men to respond in prayer to what the church has been hearing from the Lord.

When we set aside an evening once a month for prayer, we have a detailed prayer list covering many issues.  As we go through it, we may ask specific men to pray about specific issues. Or we may go round the room asking each person to pray in turn.  Or we may leave it open for anyone to pray.  Besides that monthly prayer meeting, we hold some meetings to pray for more particular issues.  After our Sunday morning service, we hold a short prayer meeting just to pray for the Sunday-school.  We have a monthly meeting just to pray for missionaries, and the women have a further meeting once a month to pray for missionaries’ wives.  On our church fast-days, we try to concentrate on some particular, pressing concerns.

The Lord’s Prayer teaches us that whenever we pray together, we come as children to Our Father.

prayers to open a church meeting

A prayer meeting is a family gathering – God’s children gathering round his feet.  And that means that our prayer meetings will be varied.  When Dad calls the family together to talk with him, it may be about a single pressing issue.  Or it may be that they’ll want to talk to him about lots of things.  Sometimes they’ll know in advance what they’re going to ask for from him, sometimes it will only be clear as they talk together in his presence.

Remind yourself before every prayer meeting that this is a family gathering. You’re going with your brothers and sisters to talk together to Father.  When we remember that, praying becomes such a natural thing.  In most family gatherings, every child will have his say. There may be occasions when it’s appropriate for one or two to speak to Father on behalf of the whole family.  But surely the normal thing is that all the children feel free to speak.   If I called a family conference and invited my children to tell me what they wanted, I would be disappointed if there were one who didn’t want to talk to me, who was afraid to open his mouth in front of the others, who felt he had nothing to say.  I would feel there was something wrong in the relationship between me and my child, if (s)he were so reluctant to talk to me in a family gathering.  I’d want to encourage that one in a special way to open his mouth and heart.

So when next we gather for prayer, and I say, “now let’s all feel free to pray…”,  feel free. Let the men take the lead.  That’s their special responsibility.  Shame on men who stay silent while the women pray!  But women, don’t feel that you must remain silent. You’re His children too. If you’re a married woman, it’s only proper that you let your husband speak first.  But then you speak up too to support him in what he’s said to Father.

There are more important things than the number of people who pray aloud in a prayer-meeting. But there is something lovely about a meeting where every single child of God feels free to talk to their Father.  May God give us many such meetings.

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