That was one of our issues as well. I was chairman of the elder board, and I'd instituted a second meeting a month, devoted solely to prayer (no business items allowed). The pastor hated it, and told me he considered a prayer meeting a waste of time. I eventually concluded that attending his church was a waste of time.
The minister at my sister's church was eventually asked to leave after having an affair with church secretary. He got a transfer to Washington State, but the church followed up with a report to the new church and he was asked to leave there, as well.
The new minister isn't any better and is trying to turn the church into one of those new mega churches. So, she left. It's the Church of the Nazarene and they don't even mention the name of Jesus in the sermons, for fear of offending some of the new people.
I certainly don't attend church nearly as often as I should, but I DO believe in the power of prayer! I've seen it work SO MANY times!
That pastor was an idiot! I hear so many stories like the ones here. Sad.
We have a friend who is a Baptist minister. He wanted to have church services on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and his deacons nixed it. They told him church services would interfere with families personal plans. Our friend was quite taken aback and asked the deacons whose birthday are we celebrating?
They let him go soon after.
To be honest, prayer meetings in the absence of good solid Biblical teaching is kind of a waste. Our church did it too. It ends up being a place where people pray *at* you (e.g. we all get together to feel like we're unified and really care about such and such but we're really nowhere near being on the same page, because no one teaches anything clearly here!).
Many of us noticed the subtle kind of preaching at you that is done when someone would pray out loud in a group setting, e.g. "Oh Lord, help us to have Unity, help us to put aside our selfishness and our differences and all work together" etc. in an attempt to guilt the ones with legit concerns into being quiet.