The Prayer Meeting
by Joanie Butman
During an impromptu visit to my parents last week, I met members of their 'prayer group.' They had just returned from Mass, and I found them in the pool house chatting and simply enjoying each other’s company. I refer to them as a prayer group they regaled me with stories of the weekly prayer meetings they held for decades. It was their euphemism for a cocktail party. In fact, one year a new inductee (a member of the clergy) unknowingly arrived with his Bible in tow! He became a devout regular and continued to bring his Bible to every meeting. They nicknamed him The Bishop. At 5:00 I followed the happy group into my parent’s condo for a spur-of-the-moment prayer meeting where I left them mixing drinks (not all necessarily alcoholic) and sharing stories.
Their prayer meeting may be unconventional, but there is more than one way to pray or worship. Recognizing, enjoying and appreciating God’s blessings is its own form of worship, and there’s no doubt that friendship is one of His rich blessings. I think it pleases God when He sees us enjoying fellowship with others. It's what He created us for. Christianity and life weren’t meant to be solo endeavors.
Babies who significantly lag behind their peers in growth suffer from 'Failure to Thrive.' This malady isn’t confined to infants though. I’ve known lots of people of all ages who fall victim to the same disease. When you isolate yourself from others - either physically or mentally - your mind, body and spirit stagnate. And when you stop growing, you stop living.
Nowhere is this more important than in your spiritual life. When you distance yourself from God, it has a ripple effect through all your relationships. Learning to be Christlike is a life-long effort. We all need God's constant love and guidance, as well as the support and encouragement of others to stay the course. Luci Swindoll points out, "In God's economy you will be hard-pressed to find many examples of successful 'Lone Rangers.'
Don’t settle for less than the abundant life Christ promises. Choose to nurture your relationship with Him and to surround yourself with people who push you, who challenge you, who make you laugh, who make you better, who make you happy. Joni Eareckson Tada comments, “In friendship God opens your eyes to the glories of Himself.” Choose your friends wisely!
Dedicated to the remaining prayer meeting members at Beachview Condos and residents at The Farm,* who enrich my parents’ lives simply by being in them (and vice versa).
*The Farm: my parents' moniker for their assisted living residence.