The first and most obvious parallel between the New Testament church and the Primitive Methodist movement, is the central role of prayer.
In Acts, 120 believers were “constantly in prayer” in the upper room, after Jesus had ascended to heaven. (Acts 1:14-15). When Peter was imprisoned by Herod, and on trial for his life, many people gathered in the house of Mary to pray for his release. (Acts 12:12). Barnabas and Saul were commissioned for the first missionary journey in Antioch after fasting and prayer. (Acts 13:3). Being gathered for prayer was at the heart of New Testament ministry.
Prayer was at the centre of ministry for the Primitive Methodists. Their meetings were legendary in North Staffordshire, England, where they began. They were known for being demonstrative, passionate, zealous and powerful gatherings. They were dynamic meetings, inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Hugh Bourne called those who were zealously committed to prayer, by the quaint title of “pious praying labourers”. To them, prayer was core business. Today we would call them prayer warriors. They were earnest in their passion for God and for the conversion of their friends. There was an expectation that every convert would become part of the prayer meeting.
I want to suggest that our modern-day church needs to encourage and expect new converts to be part of a regular dynamic prayer meeting. In such a prayer gathering, new believers catch the DNA of the movement, and learn to become bold and passionate about making disciples.
When was the last time you went to a dynamic prayer meeting? Do you need to start one?
See also Practicing a Shout, Dynamic Prayer Meetings Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.