Saturday, March 31, 2012

more busywork

The Prayer Room
Harp and bowl worship is a unique experience of worship derived from Revelation 5:8. The harp represents music and the bowl prayer. Prayer is sung or spoken along with music and is used to sustain long periods of worship such as 24 hour prayer.

So, Revelation 5:8...

rev.5.8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.†

Brown, David; Fausset, A. R.; Jamieson, Robert (2011-06-02). Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary on the Whole Bible (best navigation with Direct Verse Jump) (Kindle Locations 174972-174974). OSNOVA. Kindle Edition.

Ok, it mentions harps, and it mentions vials, which I'll accept as being another word for bowls. Now, as far as I can tell, it mentions these things, and that's about it. They are emphasized or idealized or allegorized, they aren't the focus of the scene of the passage in it's context. They aren't stressed.

Watch and Pray

The harp and bowl model of prayer is sustainable, Bickle says, because it's both powerful and enjoyable. "[Without intimacy in Jesus] it is much more difficult to motivate people to pray [for hours]. The war cry in prayer is best fueled by love songs."

Bickle says some Christians find it difficult to accept the idea that aside from training and outreach, the primary responsibility of IHOP's 1,300 full-time staff and students is worship and intercession.

"We believe that the most effective way to evangelize and care for people is in the context of night-and-day prayer, which releases more of the power of God in our labors," he says. "This is a new paradigm for many in the church today. The New Testament presents the missions movement as deeply connected to continual prayer."
When I started looking into the 24-7 Prayer organization, one of the things that struck was just how ill-supported their ideas were biblically. This is no different.

Recently, I wrote a bit about what I called "spiritualized busywork". This is, to my mind, another example.

Prayer here is not biblical prayer. It is, to be blunt, superstition. Bicke, for example, says in the article that "The New Testament presents the missions movement as deeply connected to continual prayer". Where, pray tell, does the New Testament present anything like that? Where does the New Testament say anything about churches needing to set up these 24 hour a day prayer structures?

In a couple of words, it doesn't.

What is this, then? This is Man, trying to do the impossible thing of impressing God with our works. This is Man, trying to outspiritualized each other. This is Man, not God.

This Harp and Bowl prayer has only the most passing acquaintence with anything biblical. Basically, take a verse out of context and develop a practice around the misapplication. More busywork.

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