Why Prayer Meetings Are Dying

Top Ten Reasons Prayer Meetings are Dying in the Church

Dr. Jeffery VanGoethem


I do not think too many experienced and observant Christians would dispute that there is a dearth of prayer across the land in our churches today. There are exceptions of course. But in many churches, prayer meetings are a thing of the past and in others, they are an afterthought, often poorly planned and poorly attended. I have a friend who has been an itinerant teacher of prayer, traveling the continent and the world for over thirty years.  He states that he has not come across even ONE prayer church in America.  That is not to say there are none, it is just that in his wide experience he is still looking for that first church about which he could say, “This is a praying church.” There are some churches that pray a bit, there are churches that have a prayer ministry, and there are churches that have prayer meetings, but no church that he has ever visited could truly be characterized as a church devoted to and given over to seeking God.  Compare this with Acts 1:14. Sobering isn’t it?  How are we going to get through to people (from our neighbors to our nation) unless we get through to God? Why is prayer dying? Why are prayer meetings fading away? Well, I do not claim to have all the answers, but here are some thoughts:

1. Many Christians have never made a commitment to prayer. The will to pray must precede the practice of prayer.

2. We do not have a deep sense that we need God. We are prosperous and comfortable and face no overwhelming desperation for God (yet).

3. We have made decisions about the priorities of our lives that exclude regular, committed attendance at prayer meetings. We are doing other things and do not make it a priority.

4. We tried a prayer meeting once or for a while. We did not like it and stopped going.

5. We feel that evening hours or other times when prayer meetings are scheduled belongs to “my time.” Prayer meetings interfere with our leisure. Naturally, the flesh prefers leisure over prayer.

6. Pride—we do not want to show our need to others and are worried about how we will be viewed if we pray with other people.

7. We schedule personal and family activities, that conflict with the church’s hour of prayer. In generations past, parents brought their children to prayer meetings so they could see adults praying and so that the children could learn to pray.  Now children have become an excuse not to pray, just at the time when children need prayer more than ever.


8. We do not have a consistent prayer time with God to begin with. Consequently we are spiritually dry and stale and have no hunger to meet with God.

9. Worldliness—prayer is not entertaining and it takes a stronger pull than meeting with God to get us out to a church meeting. We have become addicted to being served and entertained.

10. We have bought into a version of cultural Christianity which says attending church and giving a few dollars is sufficient. We are unwilling to embrace true New Testament Christian living.