HOUSES OF PRAYER
Guidelines to Establish a House of Prayer
This outline is the result of observing since 1999 what works and what does not work in establishing a “citywide” house of prayer, or what we are calling an IHOP (International House Of Prayer). A citywide house of prayer is distinguished from a “prayer center” in that it has been submitted to the pastors, elders, and Christian ministries of the city for their shepherding. Even if those ministries play no active role in leading the IHOP, or even attend the prayer sessions, they have been honored and respected for their role in the city as a gatekeeper whose sheep may attend the IHOP. The leader(s) of the IHOP is thereby more of a coordinator than a director. We are therefore distinguishing an IHOP from a prayer center which is directed by a local church or individual ministry.
s the Scriptures teach, every church should have a ministry of prayer. Many churches have a specific place for prayer in their facility, or they may meet in homes. There are also many groups representing various local churches who meet regularly for prayer, and these are also greatly needed. But a citywide house of prayer takes on a different form and capitalizes on being representative of the Body of Christ in a city, shepherded by its elders.
Here is an outline of what we have found works well in establishing a citywide prayer house of prayer. Those citywide houses of prayer in Iowa who utilize these principles we have found are well attended, very anointed, continue to grow in influence in the city, and become a hub of interaction and activities between pastors and ministries.
- Be familiar with Mike Bickle’s teachings on prayer and the House Of Prayer. (www.mikebickle.org,www.ihop.org)
2. Go to the pastors and elders of the city and submit with them the House Of Prayer to the Lord.
- Recognize, respect and acknowledge to them their God-given authority. You are not asking them to control the HOP, but are partnering together with them to serve the Lord in His house.
- Request their input and suggestions. When confirmed by the Lord through others, submit to it.
- They must know the HOP leader’s position is more of a servant and coordinator along with the pastors and elders, than as a director.
- You must not make them feel obligated to attend the HOP meetings or make any time commitments to it.
- Send them quarterly or periodic reports.
- The HOP does not steal the sheep from the churches, it teaches them to pray, to pray with all other believers from the city, and is an expression of the many facets of the corporate Body of Christ in the city.
- Seek a building that is not associated with any church (“neutral territory”).
- The HOP is a “worship” oriented prayer meeting, not “need” oriented.
- 4 prayer models suggested that have proven effective:
- Harp and Bowl
- Intercession, declarations and prayerful decrees
- Instrumental music in devotional setting.
- ‘Ministering to Jesus’ –background music and scriptures on overhead projector.
- Pray Scripture by reading it out loud and then praying from it.
- Night and day continuous worship and prayer is a wonderful goal, but may not be possible until there are sufficient numbers of people to work in shifts, and it must be directed by the Holy Spirit – not legalism.
- Live musicians are always preferable, but CD players will do. Live web streaming from the Kansas City International House of Prayer is also available.
- 4 prayer models suggested that have proven effective:
- Welcome all manners and forms of Christian worship—Protestant, Catholic, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Baptist, etc. We face unique challenges concerning etiquette in our prayer sessions, learning to accept one another’s forms of worship. Our calling to unite the community and its churches inevitably creates circumstances in which personal and corporate expectations of behavior collide as differing denominations, ministerial backgrounds, worship preferences and social expectations converge in one small room. It is our joy to host and serve many different people from different communities and churches. Each brings a facet of God’s beauty that cannot be reproduced except by the grace that God has given to each of them.“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. (I Corinthians 10:23-24)
- We honor, respect, and accept one another’s style of worshiping and loving God.
- 1Cor 14 gives clear guidelines on the use of tongues: we welcome them, but in a private context unless there is an interpreter and the Lord leads for them to be public.
- Do not allow strong-willed persons to take over the meeting, or dominate it.
- Allow Holy Spirit “manifestations”, but not to the point they are distracting and the individual appears to be drawing attention to him or herself.
- Worship leaders must learn the difference of focus between leading and ministering to a congregation in a regular church service, and ministering to the Lord in the prayer room – not the congregation.
- Worship and prayer leaders must have as their focus to minister to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to lead by example.
- Always edify, exhort, and comfort, and never preach down to, demand response, or condemn those gathered.
- Because of many doctrinal differences of those from the various churches attending the HOP, teaching and/or sermons on any topic should be reserved for church, not the HOP. However, teaching is encouraged and may be necessary to explain about the House of Prayer, the global prayer movement, etc., and/or what is going on in the meeting.
- Loving God AND loving neighbor. “Passion for Jesus, compassion for people” is a good motto to follow in developing the House of Prayer to be a place from which we minister to the lost, poor and needy through many good works (evangelism teams, free medical clinic, food and clothing distribution, counseling, and much more).
The following is used by permission from the Centerville House of Prayer
The prayer room has been designed to reflect the tabernacle of David (1 Chronicles 22-24); it is a place where we never cease worshiping the Lord and interceding for our world.
Our prayer format is based on the heavenly picture that we see in Revelation 5, which speaks of the harp and the bowl—worship and prayer.
Harp and Bowl is a type of worship. It is music that is integrated into prayer; “harp” representing the music and “bowl” symbolizing the prayer of the saints (Christians) that are constantly going up like incense before the throne of God. In other words: prayers that are sung or spoken along with music.
Our worship and intercession is a sweet aroma to the LORD and He longs to transform people’s lives!
About the Prayer Room
All are welcome to come and go freely and to stay in the prayer room as long as they like. While in the prayer room, we want all of our focus to be on the LORD; read your Bible, rest in the Lord, write in your journal, or engage in private and corporate prayer or our Intercession Sets. You may sit, stand, or walk around in the sanctuary. Whatever you do, we ask that you do it in a manner that honors and serves the other people in the room.
If you have any questions while visiting or would like someone to pray with you in our private prayer room please do not hesitate to ask a Center attendant or any staff member with a staff name badge.
We extend a very warm welcome to you, and hope the Lord will minister to you as you come to pray and worship Him.
Worship and Prayer
During your visit you will experience times of worship music, recorded prayers and instrumental music. Each week we will have a specific prayer focus, and individuals in the room are invited to pray at the microphone during instrumental music sets. You will find Prayers to Speak from the Microphone Binders located around the room; you can use these to pray from along with spontaneous prayers as the Lord leads you. We do ask that you keep your time to 3-4 minutes at the microphone to allow others the same opportunity.
You can pray using our weekly prayer focus or select a focus from the prayer binder. Prayer focuses are: Speaking Blessings, Our Communities, the Body of Christ, Our Nation, Israel, Our State, to End Abortion, for the Next Generation, for Houses of Prayer and Scriptural Prayers.
We Bless you in Jesus’ Name.
Instructions–used by permission from the Centerville House of Prayer