Last evening we hosted the first Northern Prayer Meeting (there is also a Southern Prayer Meeting which meets in Orange County) in our home. We have been waiting for this time to come for awhile; but through numerous providences we could only start now.
Our prayer meetings will meet every Wednesday at our house from 6:30PM until 8PM (Orange County meets on Thursdays at 7PM). We are focusing on a Bible study that I am calling "Jesus and the Church in the Psalter". We will walk through all of the 150 Psalms one-by-one and see Jesus. We will also sing through the Book of Psalms For Singing, and, of course, pray.
Last night we started with an introduction which included some of these Psalm principles that we take to the Book of Psalms:
- 2 Timothy 3:16 Even though the Psalter has a number of human composers (at least 6), the true composer is the Spirit of God and he gives us the Psalms for our instruction, correction, reproof, and training in righteousness.
- 2 Peter 1:20 The Psalter is not open to our private interpretation. We must look at the historical context as well as way that the New Testament interprets the Psalms.
- Luke 24: 36-49 The Psalms are prophetic and speak of Jesus Christ.
- Acts 1:20 The Psalms speak of the Church and contain prophecies concerning her as well.
- Colossians 3:16 The Psalms are the words of Christ. They are to be used for mutual teaching and admonition.
- James 5:13 We are to sing Psalms when we gather together in happiness.
The Psalms will be a central part of the NPM (Northern Prayer Meeting). We will meditate on them, sing them, and pray portions of them back to God. As Ambrose said, The Psalter deserves to be called the praise of God, the glory of men, the voice of the Church, and the most beneficial confession of faith!
I was encouraged by the outcome of our first prayer meeting. We are a small congregation that is scattered through-out the Southland and the OC; yet we remain faithful to God calling us together for worship and mutual encouragement. Last night we had 15 people here (including the children) which I thought was a good turn out for a first time.
We were able to spend a good amount of time in prayer for each other as well as learn some new psalm tunes. Lord willing, the group will grow, more from the congregation will come, and friends will be invited as well.
We have thought about the purpose of having a weekly prayer meeting quite a bit. We do not do these things because that is what the church does. We need to think through some of our purpose behind having prayer meetings. Here is our purpose:
- Prayer. We meet to bear one another's burdens and bring them before the throne of grace. This is always the main purpose of prayer meeting, but it never stands alone. Prayer is never separated from the Word. Hence the next purpose.
- Teaching. We want to know the Psalms better and the Lord who calls them his words.
- Fellowship. In a congregation that is scattered through-out such a large place as Los Angeles and SoCal, it is important to work on building a sense of community.
- Outreach. We want people to be able to invite friends and introduce them to our congregation in a way that is less threatening than formal worship. Having a weekly Bible Study/Psalm sing in our home also gives continuity in the church's backyard to reach out to those that God would want us to meet.