7 Reasons Church Members Don’t Come to Prayer Meetings

Most of us pastors have led prayer meetings with low attendance—and we get discouraged when only a few people gather to pray. I suspect, though, that we don’t help ourselves when we jump to conclusions that people just don’t care about prayer.

Having studied and written about prayer for a number of years, I think these other reasons—reasons I’m convinced we can fix—also contribute to this issue.

  1. We’ve done a poor job teaching believers how to pray. We tell them to pray but don’t teach them to do so. If Jesus’ disciples needed instruction to pray well (Luke 11:1), surely our church members do, too. We’re expecting them to join us to do that which we’ve never taught them.
  2. We don’t preach much about prayer. I realize that’s a generalized statement that may not apply to everyone, but I can’t remember the last time I heard a teaching or a sermon on the necessity and power of prayer. Occasional references to prayer aren’t the same as a focused teaching series on this vital component of our Christian walk.
  3. As leaders, we aren’t often model prayer warriors. I know a lot of pastors, but not all of them so live in prayer that I want to be like them. Those who do, though, have a deep, genuine relationship with God and incredible confidence in Him. They make me want to be around them when they pray.
  4. We don’t celebrate answered prayer enough. In fact, it’s not uncommon that churches still have on their prayer list the same requests God answered some time ago – but no one kept the church updated. If we never hear how God responds to our prayers, we miss an opportunity to grow in prayer.
  5. We don’t use enough sermon illustrations of prayer warriors in church history. I’m currently reading another biography of George Müller (by Roger Steer)—and it’s hard not to be overwhelmed, amazed, and challenged by Müller’s life. It’s even harder not to tell others about a man who, according to Steer, “knew his God.”*
  6. We’ve led boring, disorganized prayer meetings. To be honest, I’ve been to prayer meetings that I never want to attend again, too. Most often, they lack focus and direction. At times, the praying itself is minimal. Those who lead sometimes lack any sense of prayer passion themselves.
  7. We try to create praying congregations rather than develop praying believers. That is, we try to change the whole church and make them prayerful through a program or process. That’s seldom the way we raise up prayer warriors, however; rather, we raise them up one-by-one as we teach individuals to pray and invite them to join us.

So, I’m convinced we can work on these areas. I’m praying that we will.


*Roger Steer, George Müller: Delighted in God(Ross-shire, Great Britain: Christian Focus, 2018), 9.


  • Thanks so much for sharing. I came to Christ at 32 years old and at times have felt that I have fumbled around trying to adopt these disciplines. Be it bible study, evangelism, fasting or prayer. But, with the help of my pastor and folks like you, I have good counsel.
    In Christ, Steve

    • Charles Kile says:

      This is an actually story of Praying and one woman in the United Kingdom. Pray of a mate is now in Africa, West Europe,USA and Canada. There is an estimated over a thousand groups world wide,

      In my home county Wake in North Carolina Cary Church of God has a group every 3rd Friday


      SOLUTION: Pray for a Mate™
      While spending time in the United Kingdom doing ministry, I came upon a wonderful lady who shared with me something amazing. She had gone to her pastor and asked about doing a singles ministry at her church. Again, due to past experiences of what singles ministries could become, he said no. She then prayed and went back and asked if she could have a “prayer group for those who wanted to be married.” (Remember, 99.9 percent of all singles want to be married—maybe not this minute but eventually). She didn’t say anything about singles or ministry, but she did use two key words that most churches care about: marriage and prayer. They agreed and even offered her the space to meet.

      She quickly gathered her team of friends—some married and some single—and they started meeting to pray, not sure what God would do. That small group turned into a larger one and before long they were meeting each month. From the start they only allowed women to come as they had enough men. They also created a structure that appealed mainly to serious prayer warriors.

      The results were amazing. They saw lives changed, individuals found healing, some developed amazing friendships and others even got married. It’s now been over year and they are up to eighty men and eighty women. And it hit me—with a few slight changes, this could work in the U.S.

      I realize not all singles would want to come to church to pray for a mate. Some might even get upset if this was the only activity their church offered singles. But if a church only has this, it’s still better than nothing. This program has the potential to lead to something. It’s certainly worth trying and making the investment. And the result? Healthier people who become healthier followers of Christ.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.