In regards to praying in a corporate prayer meeting Spurgeon said, “There is much reason to complain of some public prayers, that those who offer them do not really ask God for anything. I must acknowledge, I fear, to having so prayed myself, and certainly to having heard many prayers of the kind, in which I did not feel that anything was sought for from God – a great deal of very excellent doctrinal and experimental matter uttered, but little real petitioning, and that little in a nebulous kind of state, chaotic and unformed. But it seems to me that prayer should be distinct, the asking for something definitely and distinctly because the mind has realized its distinct need of such a thing, and therefore must plead for it. It is well not to beat around the bush in prayer, but to come directly to the point.” – pg 36 (Spurgeon’s Sermons on Prayer)
Most “prayer meetings” (at least in Baptist circles) consist of a short sermon by the pastor, sharing of prayer requests by the people (usually related to health problems) and then a single prayer by the pastor! Amazing! What is the explanation? Probably the fact that Satan hates prayer (therefore resists us at the threshold of prayer—-tiredness, headaches, depressed feeling, a sense that “it won’t do any good to pray anyway”, etc.) and the fact that prayer is sometimes hard work. Some prayer meetings may be hard going, but it is still right to pray.