I arrived a half hour before the evening service was to start. One hundred people were already seated in the auditorium. Why were they early? The church was meeting for important business: it was meeting to pray. There was little talk to one another. The preaching would not take place for another hour. God’s people were there for one reason. To pray.

As a kid growing up in church the most dreaded meeting of the year was the church business meeting. Usually it is one of the worst attended or one of the best attended…neither of which is usually a good sign. Pastors and people alike sigh and talk of getting the annual “business meeting” out of the way.

While there is no doubt that church business must be transacted and congregations need to be informed, I would suggest that what is most often called the business meeting is not the primary business of the church. When the disciples were making decisions about a replacement for Judas and seeking direction for their future ministry they held a “business meeting.” It was a “prayer meeting” (Acts 1:13-26). As they prayed God gave leadership and supplied everything that they needed.

It is in the prayer meeting that God does His business with us. In prayer, the Lord reveals the secrets of our heart and the secrets of His heart. The goal is not for our voice to be heard, but for His voice to be heard! When we pray God speaks and God works. Spurgeon called the prayer meeting “the great business evening of the week.” We should have such expectation!

It is in the prayer meeting that we do business with God. Earth touches heaven and heaven touches earth when God’s people pray. Prayer ushers us into the throne room of heaven. Robert’s Rules Of Order doesn’t guide that business meeting – God’s Word does that. On our knees we spread out our petitions, concerns, and questions to the only One who has the answer.

It is in the prayer meeting that God’s business is accomplished around the world. Our prayers can go where we cannot. The God who hears and answers is not bound by geography. He is not bound by anything! Through prayer doors are opened for the gospel, laborers are called and sent, souls are prepared for the message. The great business is not financial but spiritual. It is soul work and of eternal consequence.

There are functional things that must be cared for in every church. Each autonomous congregation, under the oversight of the under shepherd, must determine how that will be accomplished. But in the end we must never forget that the greatest business in the world is “the Father’s business.” Churches only advance on their knees.

Make the church business meeting a prayer meeting! Make the most important meeting of the week a prayer meeting! Make every meeting a prayer meeting! You’ll be amazed how God begins to bless the business of the church.