Thursday, September 01, 2011
Introduction to Harp and Bowl Prayer
Fervent prayer – that’s a good thing, right? There’s a model of prayer meeting going around that is called “Harp and Bowl.” The term “Harp and Bowl” is taken from imagery in Revelation 5, where the 24 elders held harps (worship) and bowls (prayers of the saints). Harp and Bowl is just one model that integrates worship and prayer, which of course is not a new concept. But the term Harp and Bowl refers to a specific stye of prayer meeting developed by Mike Bickle and the International House of Prayer (IHOP). Ok, admit it, the illustration to the right did get your attention, didn't it?
Here’s some things you need to be aware of:
1. The Harp and Bowl model is by its very nature integrated with Mike Bickle's IHOP ministry. Even though there may be no formal (or publicly revealed) connections‐ instructional material, training, lists of “Apostolic Prayers,” and personnel are in some way connected with IHOP. Various “satellite” prayer rooms travel to other communities and plant more 24/7 prayer rooms. These new prayer rooms feed new "interns" to the Kansas City prayer room or other regional prayer rooms, also internships at the various regional prayer rooms or the mother-ship will often feed people out to the new plants.
2. Those connections are solidified as existing prayer rooms send out apostolic teams to other towns and bestow "Apostolic Keys" and decree “prophetic mandates” to select individuals (I can't make this stuff up). It’s a budget form of church planting. The movement is spread through the laying-on-of-hands in the best Latter-Rain tradition.
3. 24/7 prayer rooms in the IHOP tradition most ALWAYS start out as ecumenical efforts, and usually for just a few hours a week. As things grow, more often than not, this ecumenical para‐church organization becomes a church of its own, drawing off the most passionate people from other local churches. By removing itself from established churches, it also removes itself from church oversight, allowing it to easily slide into heresy.
4. The Proselytizing nature of Harp and Bowl functions to further Mike Bickle's objective of the city church," a key feature today of the Apostolic/Prophetic movement. This movement functions under the fallacy of the restoration of the Offices of Apostle and Prophet.
5. Harp and Bowl is built on a flawed premise ‐ that God cannot or will not do anything until we fill the bowls with the prayers of the saints. Theologically, this is based on dominionism. Quoting their manual: “God does not act apart from human beings partnering with His heart.” Proponents believe they can “mandate” things, in effect tell God what to do.
6. At its roots, Harp and Bowl is based on a Post‐Trib, Pre‐Mill eschatological scheme called "Apostolic Premillenialism." Its central biblical rationalization is Revelation 5:8, which in the Pre‐Trib mindset, takes place in the future. Because of its emphasis on the Manifestation of the Sons of God, it cannot be eschatologically neutral.
7. Harp and Bowl to the casual observer appears very spontaneous and "spirit led." However, it is a very structured scheme which is liturgical in nature. Most objectionably, the scheme is promoted as God's chosen way- His “strategic plan” for the end times. Most all churches have an “order of service,” which is what we call liturgy. Few churches would dare to claim that their traditional order of service is God's chosen plan for the end times. Harp and Bowl makes that claim.
8. Harp and Bowl has been compared (by its proponents) to the Latter Rain "Restoration of the Tabernacle of David." In large scale operations it involves paid "missionaries" (musicians, intercessors) and establishes a class of priests apart from the laity. This, of course, fosters elitism. It is a model, in the here and now, that is alien to the New Testament. More info here.
9. Harp and Bowl is seen as a spiritual warfare tool, where intercessors issue "decrees" and sometimes become involved in telling angels how to battle for us. The "fullness of the faith" is seen in those who press in to operate on "a true spirit of prayer" implying that those outside the model are not. Within this movement the concept of the sovereignty of God is but a fleeting thought.
10. The foundations of Harp and Bowl are Manifested Sons of God. It is taught that only the "elected seed" (Bob Jones) will enter into this ‐ "those chosen from their Mother's womb" (Mike Bickle). Bob Jones was one of the prophets who prophesied the coming of the IHOP movement in the early days of the Kansas City Fellowship. "Those who are foreknown and predestinated for the end times, for you see, they’ll be the best of all the seed that’s ever been. . . This will be the end generation that is foreknown and predestinated to inherit all things...For they are the best of all the generations that have ever been upon the face of the earth. And the best of all generations are those elected seeds that will glorify Christ in the last days. . . They will move into things of the supernatural that no one has ever moved in before. Every miracle, sign, and wonder that has ever been in the Bible‐‐they’ll move in it consistently...because the Lord Jesus is worthy to be lifted up by a church that has reached the full maturity of the God‐man!." (Bob Jones). This is the "new breed" teaching of the MSoG heresy.
These are course are generalizations. The movement has been building for almost 30 years and its theology is complex and often contradictory. But any movement which claims to have the corner on truth (This end time's prayer movement - Harp and Bowl- is God's chosen strategy) should be prepared to have their presumptions investigated.
Understand that one of the core teachings from Mike Bickle, the founder of this movement, is that people who question the movement are "rabid dogs" and that no defense - no answer- should be given to them. So don't expect a meaningful response from the supporters of this movement. Expect to be 'cut off.' Expect appeals to 'unity'. Interesting that 'unity' as they define it always depends on an acceptance of the teachings and practicies revealed (only) to them as God's specially anointed apostles and prophets.Tags: Harrisonburg, JMU-HOP, jmuhop, theprayerfurnace, Fredericksburg Prayer Furnace, 24-7 Virginia, Chi Alpha, IHOP, David Bradshaw, Scott Bradshaw, Bowie Curry, Randy Martinez, Mark Kazmier, FPF Missions Base, The Prayer Furnace, The Burn, The Burn Service, Solemn Assembly, Prayer Room, Campus Strike Force