The Cinderella of The Church
By Ps Ng Zhiwen
What ministry of the church is the most easily overlooked and ignored?
For many if not most churches, it is the prayer meeting. As Leonard Ravenhill argued in his classic book “Why Revival Tarries”: The Cinderella of the church today is the prayer meeting. This handmaid of the Lord is unloved and unwooed because she is not dripping with the pearls of intellectualism, nor glamorous with the silks of philosophy; neither is she enchanting with the tiara of psychology. She wears the homespuns of sincerity and humility and so is not afraid to kneel!
Did you know that one of the longest lasting ministries of our church is the Friday prayer meeting? We have held Friday prayer meetings almost every week since Zion Bishan first began. And as far as I can remember, we have scarcely actively publicized and encouraged members to attend these meetings. It’s simply stated in the bulletin, and that’s it.
There was a time when the prayer meeting was the most well-attended gathering of the church outside of the Sunday service. It was a given to come for prayer meeting just as it was a given to come for worship on Sundays. What has happened since? Cinderella was left forgotten in the cellar.
There were times when our prayer meetings consisted of just a handful of the same people. But I also recall times when more people sensed the urgency and the need to intercede before the Lord in prayer; and they would come, and they would pray. Some would even stay on after the usual hour of prayer and pray together for even longer – this happened during ‘a time of great need’ in our church (take me out for coffee and I can tell you more).
Maybe we should tweak our prayer meetings so that even more of the hour is given to actual praying (whether singly or together). But maybe we simply need to realize how urgent the hour is, and thus how much more we need to pray (Consider why Anna fasted and prayed night and day; Luke 2:36-38).
Presently, our 1030am, 830am and 4.30pm congregational shepherding teams anchor the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Friday Prayer meetings of each month respectively. Every 4th meeting is dedicated to praying for Home and Foreign Missions concerns. The 5th Fridays are taken by various leaders as assigned by Pastor Ebi.
Would you attend Friday Prayer Meeting at least once this year? As you come, I’m sure Cinderella will reveal her real beauty on God’s terms and in His time. He is ultimately the one we seek.