What exactly is all of this talk about Harp & Bowl Prayer? What does it mean?
You may have heard this term lately. It is a becoming a popular way to pray. So popular, that there are ‘houses’ of prayer springing up all around the world dedicated to praying in the ‘Harp & Bowl’ style. We also use this style of praying every Tuesday night at our Calhoun location. We actually call it ‘Worship & Intercession’ but it is prayer using the ‘Harp & Bowl’ model. This term comes from Revelation 5:8-9 “The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song…”
The word harp represents music and the word bowl represents prayer. So here in Revelation 5 we have the 24 elders singing and praying at the same time. We know this because they have a harp in one hand and a bowl in the other. So harp and bowl praying has been going on for a long time – at least in heaven!
As a basic definition, Harp and Bowl praying can be defined as praying to music. It’s that simple. It does have one added dimension that makes it really exciting. Many of the prayers are written out ahead of time but many are prayed spontaneously. This is also known as being prophetic. Prophetic means listening to the Holy Spirit and praying or saying what He tells you. So to add to our basic definition of Harp and Bowl praying: it is praying – often prophetically – to music.
Many people think it is a relatively new movement in the earth. And it is. And it isn’t.
Harp and Bowl praying is a culmination of decades of work by the Holy Spirit. It is a blending of three earlier movements in the earth. Those three movements that were birthed as individual movements were the Praise & Worship, Intercession, and Prophetic movements. Without these three earlier movements there would never have been Harp and Bowl praying. Very briefly, let’s talk about each movement.
The Praise and Worship music really gained traction in the 1970’s with the Charismatic movement. It has been building momentum, freshness, and anointing for 40 years. Think of all of the music labels like Vineyard, Integrity, Hosanna, etc. that were birthed out of this movement. An entire genre of music was invented.
The Prophetic movement gained momentum in the 1980’s and soared in the 1990’s. National ministries like Vineyard, Morningstar Ministries, Christian International, etc. have brought the knowledge of walking with the Holy Spirit in prophecy, words of knowledge, and wisdom to a large part of the body of Christ.
The Intercession movement gained a national audience in the 1990’s. The very definition of prayer was expanded to include intercession. Most people did not even know what intercession was and how it was different from prayer before this decade. Many books were written by people like Cindy Jacobs, Dutch Sheets, Peter Wagner, and Chuck Pierce talking about intercession over people, city, and a nation.
40 years after the birth of Praise and Worship Jesus is blending the three movements into one expression. At the beginning of this century, the Lord started ‘blending’ together these three movements into the Harp and Bowl style of praying. In hindsight, the Holy Spirit and Jesus are amazing strategists. As these three movements were birthed they brought amazing changes into the church. We thought that each movement was an end unto itself. In actuality, they were being birthed for their own value, but Jesus also knew that at the right time they would be blended together for an even more powerful expression of Him. Jesus is an amazing planner as Head of His Church.
We are just at the beginning of understanding the ramifications of Harp and Bowl praying and where it will lead. But I can tell you that it has a glorious role to play. It is one of the most exciting things Jesus is doing on the earth today. I can also tell you this, I know my God, it doesn’t stop with Harp and Bowl praying. He already has a plan of where all this will lead. It’s never boring when we follow the Holy Spirit.