Prayer Meeting

My parents belonged to the RLDS church – and that was the most important thing in their lives – by far. It reached its peak in the Fifties – and then declined rapidly after that, and is now a thing of the past.

I decided to record what I remember from that time. The Prayer Meeting was a remarkably democratic institution, and it was considered important at the time.

Every Wednesday evening we went to Prayer Meeting. This consisted of two parts – first Praying, and then the Bearing of Our Testimonies. As I recall, these were of about equal length.

During the prayer section, individuals would stand (everyone else remained seated) and address their prayers to God. They would thank God for his blessings (for themselves and others) – and perhaps ask for more. Children were encouraged to do this also.

My Grandfather Atkinson would take advantage of this to remind God of his duties – and suggest ways he could fulfill them (in case He forgot).

In the Testimony section section, the Saints could tell each other about the beneficial effects of their church beliefs in living their lives – to reinforce the experiences of each other.

Church members were Saints (Latter-Day Saints) and adults referred to each other as Brother and Sister.

The service also included the singing of a hymn or two.

Nothing was ever said that was critical of the church – or critical of anything else. The Saints could not see the storms that were gathering on their horizons.

After the service, in warm weather – the women would gather together outside and gossip about almost anything. This was one of their main reasons for coming – to get acquainted again. A lot could happen in one week.


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