In early Christian communities there seemed to have been informal and spontaneous prayer, which however, has not been very common in the Catholic Church for centuries. Prayer meetings began once again in America in the early 1960’s when the Bible Vigil became popular. Since the first experience of the Renewal among the Catholics was experienced among the members who were part of the prayer groups, the prayer meeting came to be adopted as a natural forum for sustaining the movement. It is significant to note that as the Renewal grew, prayer groups and prayer meetings became an integral part of the movement. The inspiration must have been derived from the Lord’s own words: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Mt. 18:20)
The two most important emphases of the CCR are:
- Experience of the “Baptism in the Spirit” and
- Weekly prayer meetings to keep alive and nurture the effects of Baptism in The Holy Spirit. It is only through prayer groups that those who experience Baptism in The Holy Spirit can be sustained in their growth to maturity, formation in leadership, fostering of charisms and listening to God’s voice. In the words of Bert Ghezzi, Prayer Groups are the “living stone” of the Charismatic Renewal. It was God’s plan that through the prayer groups we should return to the same fellowship, oneness of mind and heart, spiritual maturity and God centred life that existed among the early Christians.