The Bible tells us that unless the Lord builds the house, those who labor, labor in vain. That is especially so when we are speaking of a local congregation that becomes so impacted and driven by prayer that it truly could be called a house of prayer. God’s Word contains no blueprints for building a house of prayer. Looking about at various congregations that are known for their strong focus on prayer also leaves us without a clear pattern. Each of these churches seem to have grown and developed in prayer according to its own corporate personality and distinctiveness. Most of us who work in helping churches grow in prayer have studiously avoided any cookie-cutter methodology. The Divine Builder seems to be custom-building His houses of prayer.
Still, there are principles that are true in all prayer-driven churches. Discovering and implementing those principles should help any congregation move toward the goal of seeing prayer become pervasive throughout the Body.
The simplest and most basic of those principles is that we should pray about prayer. Several years ago I was with a group of prayer leaders who met with the staff of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, certainly a fine example of a house of prayer. In the midst of the conversation, the question arose of how the congregation had begun and continued this journey of prayer. The answer was swift: “We asked God to pour out a spirit of prayer.” Though we tried to talk about methodologies, the staff of Brooklyn Tabernacle were adamant in their answer: “We must pray about prayer.” If we truly believe that the Lord is the Builder of His house of prayer, then it makes sense that we come to Him first.
The formation of a prayer team to simply pray about the church becoming a house of prayer may well be the most important step to transform a local Body. In Zechariah 12:10 we read of a spirit of prayer being poured out upon a whole city: “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and supplication.” Use that passage to begin to pray for that spirit of prayer to fall upon your congregation.
Lord Jesus, pour out a spirit of grace and supplication upon me and upon Your Body the Church! Build us and transform us to become a house of prayer for all nations! I long to be a dwelling place for Your Spirit as You shape me into a purpose-filled, kingdom-advancing disciple! May Your house be known for and characterized by prayer that delights Your heart and moves Your hand!
–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 44, How to Build a House of Prayer by David Butts). This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise Jesus Christ for his grace and beauty. Thank God for reproducing the beauty of Christ’s character in you. Confess anything in your life which is displeasing to God. Commit yourself to pleasing him in every way. Ask God to help you live a life worthy of the Lord, to please him in everything you do, and to bear fruit in every good work (Col. 1:10).
Pray that all God’s people will be able to stand against the principalities, powers, and the world rulers of darkness that seek to control the lives and destinies of people. Pray that they may put on the whole armor of God and may pray in the Spirit with all kinds of prayers and requests (Eph. 6:10-18).
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