7 Models of Praying Churches

prayer2Yesterday I wrote about the values of a praying church. Once the values are identified, another important question a leader needs to answer is, “What are we?”

What I mean is…is the ministry a church? A house of prayer? A missions base? What exactly are you building?

You mean to tell me there’s a difference?

For sure. You wouldn’t use the same strategy to build a skyscraper that you would use to build a three bedroom house. The strategy you use to build needs to be distinct to what you’re building. The unique characteristic to any Praying Church model is that it has a culture of prayer at the center. I define a culture of prayer as a corporate prayer reality that is the seedbed for all the other ministries of the church. It’s not that prayer is the only thing, it’s just the MAIN thing. Nothing else takes the place of prayer. Prayer is at the forefront.

I have had the opportunity to visit different ministries and dialogue with key leaders in the prayer and mission movement. I have taken note of different models of church that I’ve seen operate with success. Here’s a list of the models I’ve seen that seem to be working:

  1. Local Church – Employs a fairly standard local church model with the core being a culture of prayer. Includes Sunday AM and perhaps Wednesday PM services, other events and outreaches, but the center is prayer. Everything else orbits around prayer.
  2. House Church – Meets in a home with usually 15 – 30 congregants. Has clear leadership while encouraging body ministry, participation and depth of relationships. Has a culture of prayer at the center.
  3. Furnace – A missional community based around rhythms of night and day prayer in watches (i.e. a Boiler Room Community) and regular outreach. Check out 24-7 Prayer.
  4. Campus Ministry – a campus ministry organization, with a prayer room as it’s basis. May include small groups, a corporate worship and teaching meeting, other outreaches and events. Some of the most effective praying churches I have seen are campus ministries based in prayer.
  5. House of Prayer – A community based in live harp & bowl worship and prayer.  May mix live worship with recorded music. Calls forth missionaries and volunteers to staff the prayer room. Has other ministries that function from the foundation of the prayer room.
  6. Missions Base – A community based in live 24/7 harp & bowl worship and prayer. Staff consists  of missionaries.  Has multiple supporting ministries and outreaches. Has regional influence in prayer and outreach. Serves as a “regional hub” for the Praying Church for training, equipping and sending. Provides a pastoral element for those who want to join it as their church. (Side Note: This is where IHOP-Atlanta would fall.)
  7. Prayer Center – A city-wide prayer ministry comprised of participants from multiple congregations. Training exists for continuity & encouragement, but not for pastoral over-site. Partners with many churches in the region to host a live prayer room

Undoubtedly there are a bunch of other models of praying churches and all sorts of model mixes. Ultimately where two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name, He is in the midst (Mat 18:20). These models are simply ones that I have seen over the last several years. Often as I share this list with leaders the simple definition of what they’re building gives them great clarity and courage to continue to build or to change their tactics. Hope this does the same for you.

What are some other models you have seen or places that you know that employ one of these models?

3 thoughts on “7 Models of Praying Churches

  1. Good job in bringing definition. I agree that it helps to have perhaps a finished model view. I do think that we as man have to be really careful, to take on that which belongs to the Holy Spirit. Can he give us that model, absolutely! The Scripture says that He gave the Tabernacle plans and the Temple plans to David. He showed Ezekiel and John a city.

    I only see in part, but the part that He has shown me is this. He gives his tabernacle to those who love His presence as a tool that precedes the temple. We know that he is after and is going to build a temple not made with human hands, but with human hearts. I see the tabernacle and any version of it as a place whose main calling is to have hearts encounter God as a reality, become his friend and lover, and then trade in everything for that love relationship.

    Unfortunately, I see a lot of the ministries coming up that are actually stealing that holy calling away from the Spirit to build their own kingdoms, and they have these traits, a desire for power or the glory of man, they sell the holy for profit, and they cast off the weak. In Micah, Jesus is gathering the weak, the lame and those who have been humbled to His holy mountain.

    The only name given for God’s house in Scripture is a House of Prayer. This was touched on above, but I think it bares repeating. Anywhere we want the Presence of the Living God is a House of Prayer. To define it any differently, in my opinion oversteps the boundaries of Scripture. Jesus echoes this as he is speaking to the woman at the well, again an outcast, those who worship Him will not be of a physical place, but of that where the Spirit is made welcome and truth is lived out. An individual can do this alone in their bedroom and it is a house of prayer. A family can do this in their home and it is a House of Prayer etc… So I still believe every group of believers and no matter what it’s called should be a place where the Spirit is made welcome and where truth is heralded and can therefore function as a House of Prayer.

    I call the 24/7 tabernacle of David a gate from the Scripture, Psalm 24:7 Lift up your heads, O Gates and be ye lifted up, you everlasting doors, and the King of glory will come in!” This is where I have also had open visions, so this is only what has been shown me which is not the whole. As we were building, the House of Prayer in Biloxi, I saw the open door between heaven and earth. Similar to what Jacob saw when he named Luz, Bethel or House of God. It was in worship.

    I also saw at IHOP – Atlanta btw when there for the leadership summit in 08, mountains coming up, way up above the earth, then I saw them being connected. Then I saw a highway being prepared. What highway? A highway for the Lord’s return. Open up the gates the continuous open gate between heaven and earth, that comes when God inhabits praise. The king of Glory will come in. David’s tabernacle was about 2 main things Praise and Thanksgiving.

    I love the harp and bowl model but I truly believe John was seeing the Heavenly Temple. In the Temple, there was a daily offering morning and night. We see this priestly Melchizedek line of priests if you will echoed through Scripture. Elijah called down fire on the intercessional offering at the time of the evening Sacrifice. Daniel interceded and had angelic revelation at the time of the evening offering.

    So I believe the tabernacle is for Praise and Thanksgiving to keep the portal open to experience the presence of God, so that those individuals learn to know God and walk with Him and He will then teach us the heavenly mysteries. The priestly strategies of true intercession. I know this was so for me. God had me releasing forgiveness over the city in the morning and the evening. Crazy amazing things happened during that time. Then He took me to the beach, and told me to stop. God sent a hurricane that was supposed to precede our launch into city wide prayer. We were told specifically not to pray against the hurricane.

    I think you see this same model when you hear John’s telling of bowls being poured out. Right now, we ask for mercy, but what and when do ask for wrath? Scary a little bit. Another prayer warrior in the city was praying for the hurricane to be stopped and she broke her foot while evacuating. God set her down for a bit, she was under a darkness for a while. We must learn to pray what is on His heart.

    We see this in the case of Abraham, Abraham the intercessor, He rescued Sodom when they were captured. In my opinion it would have been better to live as slaves than fire from heaven coming down. Hezekiah the same thing, he asked to live and God granted him 15 more years, but his son Manassah was born 3 years after that prayer and Judah was taken into captivity because of His wickedness. The scary thing is that God will answer our prayers but how many are in line with His heart? We can’t skip from tabernacle to temple to quickly. This lines up with what Mike Bickle heard when He went to heaven. Many people will get hurt if we forget or go to quickly from the tabernacle stage to temple stage.

    I don’t see many sets labeled praise set or thanksgiving set. Oh how I wish it were so. Music is so powerful. Praise is our highest form of warfare. How exalted can we make Him? How thankful and low can we go? Those 2 define the Tabernacle.

    The temple who can define it? We know it is coming up made of Kings and Priests, we see this as Solomon and the Priests were dedicating it and the glory fell.

    Those are my definitions of the prayer movement.

    Ephesians 4 We all become mature and we all labor with the Spirit until we do.

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