Finney: The Blessings & Pitfalls of Praying Together

Charles Finney 2Charles Finney had many exhortations concerning prayer. That’s because he was a man of deep prayer himself, so he had grounds on which to instruct others. He urged Christians to get together for prayer for many reasons. The first one he lists is this:

One design of assembling several persons together for united prayer is to promote union among Christians. Nothing tends more to cement the hearts of Christians than praying together. Never do they love one another so well as when they witness the outpouring of each other’s hearts in prayer.

From experience, I can say that is true. It also helps to break down barriers that might exist for other reasons. When you hear someone genuinely praying from the heart, you know, despite what other concerns you may have about that person, that is still your brother or sister in the Lord.

Finney also knew some of the pitfalls of prayer meetings. One he focuses on occurs far too often:

Commonly, those who pray long in a meeting do so, not because they have the spirit of prayer, but because they have not. Some men will spin out a long prayer in telling God who and what He is, or they pray out a whole system of divinity. Some preach; others exhort the people—till everybody wishes they would stop, and God wishes so, too, most undoubtedly.

It’s easy to want to appear spiritual before others. Instead, we should come together in a spirit of humility and openness to whatever God wants to do in our midst. We need to set aside our fear of what others may think of us and just be real before God and man. Ultimately, that frees us from the burden of trying to appear “spiritual.”