The Threefold Calling of Houses of Prayer

The Threefold Calling of Houses of Prayer
Houses of prayer are emerging today all across the globe. In every nation there are souls that feel a deep calling to build a place of night and day worship and prayer. It's a fascinating move of God that has been accelerating rapidly over the last decade. But what exactly is God up to? Why has He initiated the prayer movement? What does the Bible have to say about houses of prayer? Why do they exist and what is their calling? In this article I give a few answers to these questions.

First Calling: To Prepare a Dwelling Place for God

  1. The primary and supreme calling of houses of prayer is to prepare a dwelling place for God. Houses of prayer first and foremost exist for God and God alone.
  2. Surprisingly this priority was the highest vision of every single of the three tabernacles of the Old Testament: the tabernacle of Moses, the tabernacle of David and later the temple.
  3. Tabernacle of Moses – The idea of a special place of worship on earth was initiated by God in the tabernacle of Moses. When God first shared the blueprint of this place with Moses, He also revealed the primary purpose of this sanctuary: God desired a dwelling place among the people of Israel.

    8 Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them. (Ex 25:8)
  4. Tabernacle of David – David was full of zeal to prepare God a dwelling place. He exercised great personal effort and invested a great amount of money to make that happen.

    3 Surely I will not enter my house, nor lie on my bed; 4 I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, 5 until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob. (Ps 132:3-5)

  5. Temple of Solomon – When David assigned his plans and prepared resources for the building of the temple to Solomon, David once again underlined this primary purpose of this house clearly. It was to be a house for God. He was to be the reason, purpose and chief end of this house.

    1 Then King David said to the entire assembly, … the temple is not for man, but for the Lord God. (1 Chr 29:1)
  6. The concept of consecrating a place for God was not a mere result of David's zeal for the Lord, it was God's own decision to make it that way. From the very beginning, right from the first plans to build a sanctuary, it was God's intention to find a place on earth where He could dwell. In David's heart this very desire of God simply echoed back to Him and found a companion that would wrestled and fight with Him for this to become reality.

    19 All this, David said, the Lord made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, all the details of this pattern. (1 Chr 28:19)
  7. Revelation 4 describes the heavenly throne room, the heavenly dwelling place of God. He was the creator of that place and absolutely free to create it in whatever fashion He wanted. He wanted His throne to be surrounded by night of day worship.

    2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. … 8 And the four living creatures … day and night they do not cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.” 9 And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne … 10 the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him … saying, 11 “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” (Rev 4:2,8-11)
  8. God's heavenly dwelling place represents the environment that God enjoys to live in. God's desire is that places of this type would spring up all across this planet and that people would exercise the same zeal for that as David did. God's plan is that this heavenly reality would be released here on earth, for even down here it's worship that creates a dwelling place for Him.

    3 Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. (Ps 22:3)10 Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Mt 6:10)
  9. It is highly interesting that none of the biblical tabernacles had an audience. Ministry and worship was done in the audience of One. No one else was watching except for God. Everything done and the whole existence of this place was set apart for the eyes of only Him, and for His enjoyment only.
  10. Surprisingly the primary focus of houses of prayer is not intercessory prayer, it's adoring worship. God is worthy to occupy the primary calling and purpose of houses of prayer. He is worthy of night and day worship.
  11. After we clarified the supreme calling of houses of prayer and set first things first, we can move on to take a look at the second calling of these tabernacles.

Second Calling: To Create A Place For People To Encounter God

  1. Houses of prayer don't exist exclusively for God. Rather the Bible underlines their important for human beings by explicitly referring to them as “house of prayer for all the peoples.”

    7 … My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples. (Isa 56:7)
  2. This is not a contradiction to the first calling but a logical consequence of it. It's not a matter of one or the other, it's a matter of priority. It's important that we put first things first and that no other focus ever undermines the fact that houses of prayer exist for God first.
  3. Houses of prayer are for people as they are places to encounter God. In creating a dwelling place for God we build a place where God's presence becomes easily tangible, where people can experience His presence and spend long hours before God in prayer, worship and loving meditation on His Word. While we can and should do that individually, in houses of prayer God sets up places all around the globe to do that in unity with His entire body.
  4. We get to know His heart, get to know God (this is what life is about; John 17:3). We come to the place we were created for: to be with Him (John 17:24), to sit at His feet like Mary of Bethany (Lk 10:39). Nothing awakens more intense hunger and passionate love for God, and more resolve to radical obedience than exposing ourselves to the heat of His gaze for hours daily.

    3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3)

    24 Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am … (John 17:24)
  5. King David, having experienced this very reality himself in the tabernacle of David, committed his life to sitting before God, to spending many hours in His presence, praying, worshiping and seeking His face. He knew that nothing else in this world was more satisfying and more worth pursuing. It became his highest desire, most important plea, his sole pursuit.

    4 One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple. (Ps 27:4)

    6 … and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Ps 23:6)
  6. There is nothing more pleasurable than His presence. Those who have lived in a context with perpetual worship and prayer know that there is nothing else more satisfying than that.

    11 … In Your presence is fullness of joy; in You right hand there are pleasures forever. (Ps 16:11)

    7 … and make them joyful in My house of prayer. … (Isa 56:7)
  7. Houses of prayer have to be places where it is easy for people to connect with God in prayer and worship and to spend long hours in the presence of God. If this is not one of the top priorities of such a place, they miss out on one of their main purposes.
  8. Jesus vehemently defended this purpose when He cleared the temple of Jerusalem. The issue at hand was that the outer court was reserved for non-Israelites who wanted to worship God. Instead the Jews made it a place where all the bartering happened, eventually hindering non-Israelites from worshiping God. Jesus refocused God's purpose for the temple to be a place where everyone could connect with God, citing Is 56:7.

    13 And He said to them, “It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer', but you are making it a robbers' den.” (Mt 21:13)

Third Calling: To Transform Regions Through Perpetual Prayer

  1. The third focus is to establish night and day prayer as a means to local transformation. Houses of prayer contribute to regional transformation in at least two ways: 1) Perpetual intercession releases God's plans and brings His Heaven to earth. 2) Through spending many hours before God, believers are inspired to and equipped for ministry in power.
  2. Perpetual intercession releases God's plans and brings Heaven to earth:
    1. There are many passages in the Scriptures that tell us that God gives us more when we pray. One of the most significant passages in this context is Jesus' parable of the tenacious widow and the unrighteous judge in Luke 18. Look at how this parable is introduced and what Jesus concludes:

      1 Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not lose heart … 7 Now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? 8 I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. (Luke 18:1,7-8)
    2. Prayer brings the will and the plans of God into fruition and releases the Kingdom of God on earth. Jesus instructed us to agree with God's plans for this planet in prayer. Apparently, for God it's not enough that His plans are certain, He is looking for people on the earth who would agree and partner with Him in prayer.

      9 Pray, then, in this way: … 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Mt 6:9-10)
    3. Jesus taught that God gives us more when we ask (Mt 7:7) and specifically emphasized the effective power of corporate prayer (Mt 18:19).

      7 Ask, and it will be give to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Mt 7:7)

      19 Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. (Mt 18:19)
    4. Prayer is the means by which God brings spiritual restoration to entire cities. In Isaiah 62, God Himself appoints watchmen over Jerusalem who would cry out for the restoration of the city in unceasing intercession. This is not only a principle for the restoration of Jerusalem but for God's restoration activity in general.

      6 On your wall, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; all day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves; 7 and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth. (Isa 62:6-7)
    5. It is not only intercession but also night and day worship that shapes the spiritual atmosphere of the region where houses of prayer are located. The simple fact that God is praised and adored continually makes a huge difference in the region and attracts the gaze and favor of God.
  3. Long hours before God equip us with the desires and the power of God for ministry:
    1. In houses of prayer while spending many hours before God, the human heart connects with the heart of God on a very deep level. That is the place where we begin to feel the desires and plans of God not only for our personal lives, but also for the world we live in. The easiest way to find your calling is to spend many hours in the presence of God. He will tell you so much and you don't only begin to know God more but also yourself.

      9 … in Your light we see light (clarity about our identity and calling). (Ps 36:9)
    2. It's also the place where God will equip you with power, gifts, passion and a heart able to carry whatever He wants to give you and do whatever He wants you to do. By continually agreeing with His heart and desires (=intercession), the same desires will develop inside of you for the people and places you pray for and eventually launch you into practical ministry more than you could ever imagine.

      28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works. (Ps 73:28)
    3. The most effective missionaries are birthed in prayer. A biblical example for that is found in Acts 13 where Paul and Barnabas were commissioned by God in the midst of an extended time of prayer and fasting. The place of prayer and fasting before God prepared them to gives their lives wholly to the will and ministry of God.

      2 While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, then they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. (Acts 13:2-3)
    4. Another precedent from church history can be found in the Moravians. After starting a 24/7 chain of night and day prayer in Herrnhut, many of those men and women of prayer developed a growing zeal for the nations so that some of them would even sell themselves into slavery to reach the unreached. The greatest missions movement of the 18th century was birthed in the context of night and day prayer. (For more information see my article on the Moravian Revival)
  4. The great commission depends highly on the marriage between ministry and prayer. The importance of these two joining together cannot be overemphasized and must not be neglected. It's the biblical way to fulfill the great commission. When Jesus talked about the harvest, He didn't send them right away, He commanded them to pray for laborers, to contend for souls, and to partner with God in intercession. According to Jesus, the great commission would be driven by prayer and laborers would be released from the place of intimacy with God.

    2 And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. (Lk 10:2)


  1. The three points outlined here are the main purposes of houses of prayer. Of course, there are many more areas God calls houses of prayer to. The list could go on and on. But although in detail many more callings could be identified, they would only be derived from these main three I mentioned here.
  2. While building a house of prayer, it's important that we set our priorities right and focus on the right things. Even though the specific, individual callings and focuses may differ from house to house and prayer ministry to prayer ministry, we should never forget that they exist primarily for God and should help people encounter Him.
  3. It might be necessary to continually remind ourselves and our staff of why we are here, what we are doing and why we are doing it. Houses of prayer have a very specific place in God's plan to prepare the earth for the return of Jesus, our eternal Bridegroom.
  4. I would describe the process as building a house of prayer with the desire to prepare God a dwelling place on the earth. In sitting many hours before Him, we will continually encounter Him, get to know Him more deeply, but also who we are and what we are made for. Finally God will equip and inspired us to walk in His power and transform our area through passionate prayer, worship and ministry in agreement with His plans and heart.