These are general guidelines. I’ve added a few ideas to the list from my experience with other Houses of Prayer. You may want to add more or subtract what does not fit your situation, but the important thing is to begin and make it your own for your city. Initially concentrate on applying these points, and let the Holy Spirit guide you in every step. You may want to copy this page and give it to others who are praying with you for a House of Prayer in your city. Here are the steps:
- Pray regularly and diligently for several months before the month of prayer. We, and many of the churches involved, prayed for the month of prayer long before we started it. The congregations in the location began to meet for prayer. In Virginia Beach we prayed daily for the work in Spain. And for several months before the event, we met for prayer every Monday evening with a group of people who had a vision and burden for it. Many of them would eventually join us in Spain. It is important to pray for a prayer event of this size. We found a strong correlation between the success of the Houses of Prayer and the amount of prayer beforehand.
- Seek God wholeheartedly and become desperate for His presence. A sense among believers that we must know the Lord is the driving force behind the House of Prayer. We need a sense of desperation. We prayed every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning from 5:30-7:30 A.M. for the 24/7 House of Prayer we had in Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, and Richmond (USA) in April of 2007. These prayer meetings were quite fervent. Bathing the area in prayer three to six months beforehand was key for successful corporate prayer.
- Build trust with local churches. The work in Spain began ten years earlier than the actual time we launched a month of prayer. We talked about initiating a month of 24/7 prayer in the targeted area one year in advance. Before we could do this we met with pastors, spoke in many of the churches about prayer, held training seminars and teaching on prayer, and ministered in other ways. Elijah Company, Inc. had a reputation in the churches of encouraging the congregations and not trying to build its own vision, but it was a united vision of what God wanted to do in that region. We took sufficient time to communicate this to these pastors.
- Find a group of pastors and leaders who will act as catalysts. Among the fraternity of pastors, there were some who acted as catalysts. The president of the group was a relational person and motivator who effectively shared the vision. The pastors, in turn, took enough time to adequately communicate the vision to their congregations. It takes time to inspire and motivate people to pray, so make sure you take sufficient time for this.
- Cast the vision for prayer. Teach about prayer from the Bible, cast a vision for the prayer room, recommend books on prayer, and share stories of answered prayer. Encourage everyone to get involved. Link them with resources. Let individuals pledge hours in the prayer room during your House of Prayer. You might have them write down their commitments so as to be accountable. Be careful not to pressure people or put them on guilt trips.
- Organize a good communication system. We had an excellent means of communicating. A quality website was developed. This site explained the purpose of the effort, location where the event was to be held, who should be involved, registration information and forms, contact information, and payment options for those needing accommodations.
We also set up a website for the Virginia House of Prayer and made several thousand attractive brochures to pass out to the churches and to interested individuals. Keep the motivation going, possibly through a newsletter with testimonies of answered prayer, words of encouragement, and updates. Encourage people to visit the website. It will help them to feel a part of what God is doing.
- Enlist other cities to come and help motivate the Church to pray. International participation in Spain ignited the passion in local believers. They felt that if others were willing to come at their own expense to pray for their area, the Lord must have really spoken to them. Some of those internationals were pacesetters, as they modeled the effectiveness of long hours of prayer through the days and nights. The local people were encouraged to see people able to pray for long periods. Intercessors are a key resource. Increased excitement about prayer is probably an answer to their prayers.
- Have an on-call team of intercessors. The intercessors were our on-call team to fill in any empty prayer slots a couple days in advance. You want people who don’t mind being on call to pray in an emergency. I found this to be so helpful because emergencies do arise, and not everyone will show up. I would feel relieved because I knew there were people who would fill in any gap of time joyfully. You may want to have different individuals on call daily, with their number and name clearly posted near the prayer room. Then everyone knows who to call if there is an emergency.
- Write a memo of understanding for all who are involved in praying. A memo of understanding was attached to the website. This made it clear to all involved, both locally and internationally, what we were going to do. Some areas in the memo included: key relationships, goals, motivation, training and equipping, types of prayer, doctrine, the prophetic, team praying, ministry outreach, personal support, personal time, costs, registration, medical coverage, travel arrangements, and arrival and departure dates.
- Meet with the leadership to pray and debrief together. After your 24/7 House of Prayer finishes, meet together with the leadership team to debrief, pray, and talk about what’s next. How does God want to further develop prayer in your city? Don’t make any big announcements of a long-term House of Prayer too quickly and then not be able to do it. It’s better to go slow and work your way up gradually. You can extend a week or a month at a time or commit to a few hours a week. People will be hungry for more, and there will be no unrealistic expectations and then discouragement.
A one-month House of Prayer welcomes God into your city.