Jesus said, My House will be a House of Prayer!
These are some thoughts forming about what Jesus’ House is like. I’d welcome your discernment too.
1. It is only Jesus’ House if Jesus lives there.
The House of Prayer is not a building – it’s a gathering of people with Christ in their midst. “For where two or three are gathered in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20) Jesus is manifestly present through his Holy Spirit in His House of Prayer. We are the temple of God when the Spirit of God dwells in us! (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19) This is happening in small and large prayer groups everywhere! The term ‘House of Prayer’ implies ongoing relationship and commitment to connect and pray together.
Jesus’ House of Prayer is about the wine not the wine skin. The wine is the Spirit of Christ in us! (Ephesians 5:18) Jesus said the new wine, intimate friendship with Him as the bride groom, needs new wine skins to allow for growth, changes and expansion. (Matthew 9:17) Prayer can become a religious act and a burden if the externals such as time, place and format are the focus – rather than God Himself.
2. It is only Jesus’ House if He builds it.
Only Jesus can build His House. (Psalm 127:1, Matthew 16:18, Hebrews 3:3-5)
Jesus’ House of Prayer in heaven is the model for His House of Prayer on earth. It is a place of restored intimacy – and worship. We see this pattern in the tent of Moses, the tabernacle of David and the temple of Solomon. Kirk Bennett (IHOP) uses the model of the temple to highlight three forms of prayer – petitioning prayer, intercessory prayer and adorational prayer. See: Becoming Jesus House of Prayer.
The book of Hebrews describes how temple ministry works under the new covenant – now the veil has been torn down and we are all priests with direct access to the Lord’s presence. (Revelation 1:6, 5:10) Jesus opened the way for us into His presence and restored relationship with God, our Father. (John 14:6, Hebrews 4:15-16, 7:25)
“Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.” (Hebrews 3:5-6) We, “like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5) We are perfectly fit – through Christ – and we need to be a perfect fit with what Jesus is building. (1 Kings 5:17-18, 6:7) The strength and height of the building relies on solid, sure, deep foundations founded on the Cornerstone – the Rock – Jesus the Son of God. (Ephesians 2:20)
3. It is only Jesus’ House if it is a House of Prayer.
Would others describe you and your gatherings as characterised by prayer? It is so easy for our lives and times together to be filled with other business. Prayer is not just verbal supplication. Prayer includes creative expressions of adoration, praise and worship, thanksgiving, beholding God and resting in God’s presence, intercession, declaration, mutual discernment and healing ministry etc. We humans like the comfort of regular patterns and this can aid our personal and corporate prayer life. But to build vital fresh relationship with God we also need spontaneous open flexible times for listening to what God is saying, dialogue with God, resting in Him, creative expression and changing contexts.
Jesus’ House of Prayer is described in a prophecy in Isaiah 56:1-8 as being characterised by justice, righteousness, rest, freedom, inclusiveness, remembrance and worship – a place where offerings and sacrifices are accepted and joy is given!
Are your prayers received and answered? Are you seeing God’s kingdom come – His will done on earth as it is in heaven? God is attentive to the prayers arising from His dwelling place. See the characteristics of those whose supplications are heard in Isaiah 56:4-6. See the elements for answered prayer that Solomon prayed when he dedicated the temple in 2 Chronicles 6:14-42. ‘The Lord appeared and said, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.” “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” ‘ (2 Chronicles 7:12-16)
4. Jesus’ House of Prayer is where we minister to Him.
Let us not rob our Lord of the adoration due to Him! 1 Chronicles 16 records David’s call to minister to the Lord. Jesus commanded us,“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ (Mark 12:30)
“Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.” (Psalm 24:3-6)
Do you long to be part of Jesus’ House of Prayer? In this generation, many people are being called to commit their lives to worship ministry before the Lord; to dwell in the House of Prayer (Psalm 27:4), as the Levites (Deuteronomy 10:8) and Anna (Luke 2:36-38); and join with the continuous worship of heaven (Revelation 4).
Kirk Bennett (IHOP) reported that the numbers of known houses of prayer has increased in the last 10 years from 90 to 10,000 globally! We have seen the formation of many houses of prayer across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. Some houses of prayer provide ministry training and/or accommodation to facilitate sustained day and night ministry to the Lord. Our excitement over “24/7 prayer” can mislead us to concentrate on timetabling and publicity; and to religious effort and pride. Let’s not allow anything to stultify our relationship with God by distracting us from the free response of our spirit engaging in passionate God centred ministry to Him.
“How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God – a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.” (Psalm 84:1-4)
5. It is only Jesus’ House of Prayer if it has a Mercy Seat.
It’s not Jesus’ House of Prayer if the mercy seat is missing. (Exodus 25 NKJ, Hebrews 9:5 NKJ, Hebrews 4:16) “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.” (Psalm 89:14)
When we pray at the mercy seat in the presence of God and His glory – Jesus is our focus! His sacrifice and grace has set us free from sin, accusation and condemnation, offense, captivity and death! “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.“ (Hebrews 4:16)
In the light of God’s mercy for us all, our prayer shifts from confession and supplication to sustained thanksgiving, worship and declaration! As we behold the wonder of who our Lord Jesus is, we become transfixed by His holiness and worthiness to be worshipped!
God’s sufficient grace for us (2 Corinthians 12:9) frees us from judgement and unforgiveness towards others and enables us to fulfill the second command and love our neighbour as ourselves. (Mark 12:31) God’s mercy, justice and healing flows from the altar as living water (Ezekial 47) for the healing of nations. (Revelation 22:2)
6. Jesus’ House of Prayer is for All Nations.
“I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.”(Isaiah 56:6-8) Jesus opened access to the temple in Jerusalem to people of all nations. (Luke 19:45) Jesus’ House of Prayer is for all people groups – so His House of Prayer needs to be accessible to the public – especially the sick and the children (Matthew 21:9-16) so everyone can come to pray and encounter Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit – who has been given to all people! (Acts 2:1-11, 10:45)
Jesus came as a light to the world (John 12:46) and said we are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14-15) The House of Prayer is a light house with a lampstand that is lit and visible – not hidden. (Revelation 21:23, 2:5, John 8:12)
7. The House of Prayer brings Glory to God and His Glory to the Earth
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14) “Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.” (Psalm 72:19)
Spirit filled sustained fervent relationship with God brings glory to Him and His glory to earth – changing us and the spiritual atmospheres around us, as Jesus’ kingdom becomes evident on earth. Jesus prayed, ” I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17 :22-23)
Places where people gather together to worship Jesus frequently (for many hours daily) and simply let Jesus rule become inhabited by a tangible continuous presence of the Spirit of Jesus. His glory fills the temple! (2 Chronicles 5:13-14) Spontaneous conversion and healing occur in such places. See: Ffald-y-Brenin
“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:5-6)
Are You Becoming Jesus’ House of Prayer?
1. Press more and more deeply into daily intimacy and communion with Jesus, seeking revelation of Him, asking more and more questions, living in alignment with His manifest presence and rule; abandoning your self to trust him and follow his leading in every aspect of your life.
2. Start a local prayer group. Pray regularly with others in your neighbourhood, church, workplace, school uni, etc. Pray and intercede but don’t stop there – press into sustained fervent adoration prayer & worship in God’s presence. Recognise God’s leading for you to overflow to those around you. (Luke 10)
3. Be alert to opportunities stirred by God to unite regionally in prayer, worship and mission to see God’s transformation of your sphere of influence, suburb or city or nation. See opportunities: http://partnersinprayer.org.au/whats-on/
Can we help you connect with others – as Jesus’ House of Prayer?
Partners in Prayer & Evangelism (PIPES) simply connect people to God and each other – relationships that carry living water to our communities.We link open prayer groups and prayer rooms (in churches, neighbourhoods, workplaces) and regional collaborations as Jesus’ House of Prayer – anywhere “two or three come together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20) We see these as rooms in the House of Prayer that Jesus in building.
We will be starting a monthly teleconference prayer time for House of Prayer leaders who would like to know each other and be encouraged and share what God is doing.
Please send us your contact details if you are becoming a House of Prayer and would like others to join you or if you’d like to connect with other Houses of Prayer.
Each month or so we encourage connection between House of Prayer leaders who would like to meet to gather together in Melbourne. You may like to do this in your region too – we are happy to help you start this.
We are refining a simple website map where people can list and locate Houses of Prayer
Houses of Prayer are each unique. In preparation for ‘Prayerhouse’ – we’ve found it helpful to group Houses of Prayer under three descriptors:
- Local Prayer Groups where people regularly gather to meet with God and each other in churches, homes, workplaces, schools, universities, parliaments, online etc. They can be large or small groups, open to the public or not; meeting at least monthly.
- Prayer Rooms where people can frequently host God’s presence and welcome others into His manifest presence. It is likely to include periods of corporate and personal prayer and worship, reading the Word of God, silence, resting in God as well as spoken prayer. It could be a prayer room, chapel or house open for prayer continuously, daily, several times each week. It may be open to the public or a specific people group.
- Prayer Collaboration includes regular calls to seasons of prayer, prayer networks, regular regional prayer gatherings etc. It is when we intentionally seek God together – people with one focus across time and space, ethnicity, denominations, nations. This could be local churches praying for their neighbourhood or geographic region; people praying from multiple sites with mutual focus e.g. for their government, justice etc; the body of Christ praying for a nation or global issue. To be a House of Prayer there needs to be ongoing relationship and commitment to pray together – so we do not apply this to one off events.
Jesus, be glorified! Be light in us in our regions!
Sue Tinworth email@example.com