Note: This is part 5 of a series of articles on the Prayer Movement
A New Kind of Prayer Meeeting
One of the most fascinating aspects of the modern-day global prayer movement is the integration of musical worship along with prayer. For many people, the traditional idea of a “prayer meeting” is a small group of old people in the basement of the church, gathered in a circle. In a word…. BORING. However, the prayer movement that is emerging in the last few decades has a fresh creative edge to it that is attracting thousands of young people – most notably by incorporating musical worship into the prayer meetings.
If you visit many prayer meetings and houses of prayer, songs of praise and worship are sung before times of Bible-based prayer and intercession. Prophetic singers begin to sing the prayers that are being prayed. Intercessors speak their agreement with what is being sung. There is a beautiful, antiphonal, Spirit-led dance between the worship leaders, singers and intercessors. There is a (super)natural flow with crescendos, like the pulse of the ocean tides. This is not your grandma’s prayer meeting!
Harp & Bowl
IHOP-KC has developed a model called “Harp & Bowl” that many groups utilize. There are many variations of the model, but the primary idea is to speak and sing Bible-based prayers. I remember my first experience with a harp & bowl prayer meeting. I walked in and got swept up into an hour and a half of worship & prayer. I opened my eyes and was astonished by how much time had passed. I had never enjoyed prayer so much. Since that time I have now trained groups in how to host worship-based prayer meetings.
The harp & bowl term comes from Revelation 5:8, where the apostle John gets a glimpse into the throne room of heaven. Amazingly, God himself is surrounding by musical worship (harps) and the prayer of the saints (represented by incense in bowls). God must enjoy worship, music and prayer all flowing together!
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Revelation 5:8
Musical-based prayer was the same way that King David established his 24-7 tabernacle of ministry to the Lord. I mentioned the tabernacle of David in my History of 24-7 Prayer, and I have taught more extensively on it in previous messages. David’s revolutionary approach was to establish prophetic musicians and singers as the basis of his 33-year, day & night prayer ministry. It was almost like David had gotten a glimpse into heaven and wanted to bring it to earth.
It was in 1983 that Mike Bickle, the founder of IHOP-KC, got a word from the Lord that He wanted to establish “24-7 prayer in the spirit of the tabernacle of David”. And that is exactly what is happening. It is the spirit of the tabernacle of David that is invading prayer meetings and prayer ministries across the earth.
By “spirit” I do not mean a spirit being. I am using the definition of “spirit” that the dictionary describes as “those qualities regarded as forming the definitive or typical elements in the character” of something. God is raising up prayer that carries that values and qualities of the tabernacle of David.
While many prayer times are becoming more musical and fun, there is more to it than that. God is inviting His Church to pray from a place of intimacy with Jesus. What is emerging is actually not just musical prayer, or worship-based prayer, but intimacy-based prayer.
David’s tabernacle was not as much about a model as it was about access to the presence of God and intimacy with the Lord. David’s tabernacle represents the access that believers have to know and love God in personal relationship through Jesus Christ. And of course musical worship is a big part of that, as it is one of the primary biblical tools we have to connect with God. However, music is not the essence of it, intimate relationship is.
True intercession flows from intimacy. Prayer not rooted in relationship becomes religious. It degrades into us trying to get God to give us something that we want. In contrast, prayer flowing from worshipful intimacy is where we are asking Him to do what He wants – “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.” And that is the spirit of the tabernacle of David.