House of Prayer FAQ

Last updated November 25, 2017

These are some of the most common questions I’ve heard.
If you have another question, please ask in the comments!

MORE FAQ:
The Prayer Room FAQ
IHOPKC FAQ

The House of Prayer

What is a house of prayer?

There may be some variation in definitions here and there, but the definition I will use is a ministry, usually not part of a church, that devotes the vast majority of its energy to the activity of prayer and worship in a prayer room, especially if the goal is 24/7 live prayer and worship.

There are a few reasons a house of prayer usually functions best without being part of a single local church:

  1. It can serve as “neutral territory” for members of many local congregations to gather and pray together.
  2. It can devote all of its energy to prayer and worship rather than navigating the many needs and pulls of a local church.

The central verse in the Bible that describes the house of prayer is Isaiah 56:6-7:

“And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him... these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” (Isaiah 56:6-7)

This is the verse Jesus referenced when He cleansed the temple in Matthew 21, Mark 11, and Luke 19.

What kind of ministry happens at a house of prayer?

Primarily, the ministry is directed to God Himself. Prayer and worship is our sacrifice that blesses the heart of God. No, He doesn’t “need” our ministry, but He desires and deserves it and He moves in response to it.

“My sons, do not now be negligent, for the LORD has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him and to be his ministers and make offerings to him.” (2 Chronicles 29:11)

Then he appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the LORD, to invoke [NIV “extol”, NASB “celebrate”], to thank, and to praise the LORD, the God of Israel.” (1 Chronicles 16:4)

Secondarily, the house of prayer also seeks to minister to people. At The Prayer Room, we want to bless anyone who comes in by providing an atmosphere of God’s presence. We will often go out of our way to pray for visitors and touch them with the love of God. Many houses of prayer, including The Prayer Room, also emphasise a teaching ministry and seek to equip the body of Christ on issues related to prayer, worship, intimacy with God, the gifts of the Spirit, the end times, etc. Occasionally, we may participate in evangelistic outreach, but that is not our main focus. IHOPKC (International House of Prayer Kansas City), where I spent four years of training, is an example of a house of prayer that does have a lot of ministries aimed at people, but they have a much larger staff and can do more outward-focussed things without weakening their commitment to maintaining the prayer room itself.

What happens in a prayer room?

Every house of prayer is going to be a bit different, but every house of prayer I’ve visited has times of live prayer and worship on a platform with some combination of worship, spontaneous/prophetic worship, intercession, and praying/singing the Word, often using the harp and bowl model. The harp and bowl model is a structure for prayer/worship sets that allows all of these elements to flow together smoothly; it was pioneered by IHOPKC and takes its name from Revelation 5:8.

Do all houses of prayer believe the same thing?

Most of the houses of prayer I’ve encountered do indeed share several common threads of belief, though of course there will be variation:

  • The value of night and day prayer
  • The worthiness of Jesus
  • The value of praying and singing the Word
  • The power of intercession
  • The urgent need for revival
  • The bride/bridegroom perspective of our relationship with Jesus
  • The supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit (usually including tongues, prophecy, healing, etc)
  • The soon (post-tribulation) return of Jesus and the necessity of preparation (a common but by no means universal thread in the prayer movement)

You just said “prayer movement”. What is that?

The prayer movement is the global increase of prayer that God is raising up in this generation. It includes houses of prayer, churches that make prayer a major focus (we call them praying churches), ministries that rally the body of Christ to prayer, solemn assemblies like those organised by TheCall, etc. There’s definitely something unique happening in this hour of history; the body of Christ worldwide is praying like never before.

There are a number of passages that prophesy a great end-time global prayer and worship movement, many passages even highlighting 24/7:

“For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 1:11)

“They lift up their voices, they sing for joy; over the majesty of the Lord they shout from the west. Therefore in the east give glory to the Lordin the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praiseof glory to the Righteous One.” (Isaiah 24:14-16)

Sing to the Lord a new songhis praise from the end of the earthyou who go down to the sea…the coastlands…the desert and its cities…the villages…the mountains. Let them give glory to the Lord…” (Isaiah 42:10-12)

“On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmenall the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest, and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth.” (Isiah 62:6-7)

And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? …when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:7-8)

For more verses and study notes on each, see TPR’s resource document “Prophetic Promises of the End Time Prayer Movement“.

How many houses of prayer are there?

“In 1894 the number of 24/7 houses of prayer in the world was fewer than twenty-five. Today there are more than ten thousand, and most of the growth has occurred in the last ten years.” – Growing in Prayer, Mike Bickle, 2014

Ten thousand is a conservative estimate–it may be closer to twenty thousand! This is far more than in any other generation. Even at the height of the monastic movement, there weren’t this many houses of prayer devoted to live prayer and worship 24/7.

Was IHOPKC the first house of prayer?

Not exactly, although many other houses of prayer certainly see it as the “Disneyland” or the “flagship” of the prayer movement. Technically, the first house of prayer was the tabernacle of Moses. It could even be argued that the garden of Eden was the first house of prayer. In our generation, though, IHOPKC wasn’t necessarily the first, but by the grace of God it has become one of the leading voices and inspirations for the movement.

Also, it should be noted that IHOPKC isn’t a franchise. No other house of prayer (with the possible exception of Hope City in downtown Kansas City) is directly under the leadership of IHOPKC, though many houses of prayer are inspired by IHOPKC and borrow/adapt many of its features.

What is an intercessory missionary?

An intercessory missionary is one who has chosen to give themselves to prayer and worship as their primary occupation. They raise financial support like any missionary and their lives revolve around building the house of prayer. They may have admin duties to help grow and sustain the ministry, but their primary focus is ministry to God in prayer and worship. While the title itself is not found in Scripture (any more than the title of youth pastor is in the Bible), the principles are all there. One great prototype is Anna, who “did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day,” (Luke 2:37) and from that place was one of the first to proclaim the arrival of the Messiah.

When David established his 24/7 worship tabernacle, he set in place 4000 singers and musicians who were “in the chambers of the temple free from other service, for they were on duty day and night.” (2 Chronicles 9:33) Nehemiah later rebuked the leaders of Israel for neglecting to support this same order of priests and forcing them to leave their calling to go back to farming. (Nehemiah 13:10-11) Those called to night and day prayer and worship are meant to give themselves fully to that calling.

For more information, IHOPKC has a great description of what an intercessory missionary is.

What are some of the main houses of prayer you know of?

Here are a few that I’m personally familiar with:

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