We have one basic prayer model we utilize at TPR called the “Harp and Bowl” model. This is a prayer model that was first developed in Kansas City by Mike Bickle and the staff of the International House of prayer and has since been adapted and used in many different prayer ministries all over the globe.
Called Harp and Bowl:
The term “Harp and Bowl is taken from the pattern of heavenly worship seen in the book of Revelation. The harp speaks of worshipping God with musical instruments and the bowls speak of the intercessory prayers of the Church.
“the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints (Re. 5:8).”
Worship with Intercession:
The combination of worship with intercession and antiphonal, or responsive singing of the Scripture is the primary methodology in the “Harp and Bowl” model. We apply the same basic principles in different ways called prayer formats.
We currently have several prayer formatsthat all function in the “Harp and Bowl” model. Each prayer format serves as a guideline and may be deviated from as we discern the Spirit’s leading.
Our Prayer Formats:
This prayer format is designed to pray for either a general breakthrough of revival or for specific areas of need. The prayers of the New Testament apostles and the prophetic promises of scripture are used to engage in unified intercession for citywide revival. In other words, to intercede for a general outpouring of the Spirit (historical visitation of the Holy Spirit) on the whole church across the city (region) that the Lord highlights to intercessors in the room. The other focus in this prayer format is to intercede for themes that the Holy Spirit has highlighted in scripture. We focus on specific targets locally according to different areas such as cultural strongholds, crisis events, political issues, raising up of 24/7 prayer, equipping the church, the salvation of Israel, the unreached, and preparation for the second coming of Christ.
This is a training format that is designed as a bridge into the full Intercession format and utilizes a solo worship leader a prayer leader, and an assistant prayer leader whenever possible. Once a team is equipped with singers the Petition format can become a full Intercession format meeting.
Worship with the Word:
This prayer format is designed to function as a discipleship training program that provides mentoring and training in the Word. In other words, to function as a “singing seminary.” Our desire is to raise up singing theologians or theologians who lead worship with basic doctrines, eschatology, and intimacy are expressed in their songs. This prayer format is an excellent way for worship teams to discover new passages that they will enjoy singing through many times in the future (example Psalm 145). We focus on singing through specific portions of the Scripture to go deep in the word of God rather than trying to discern specific Holy Spirit themes for ministry.
The purpose of this prayer format is to provide an anointed atmosphere for individuals to meditate on the Scriptures as they linger in God’s presence. The songs and musical style are devotional in focus so that we may sit at the feet of Jesus as Mary of Bethany did. This format is great for developing your prophetic soloists and cultivating intimacy with God.
Purpose of a Worship Model:
This model serves us to create a Prophetic Liturgy. Our desire is to worship God in spirit, both prophetic and spontaneously. But we want to worship Him truth, liturgy with structure).
“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (Jn. 4:24).”
Speaks of worshiping with spontaneous fresh new expressions and creativity.
Speaks of understanding the value of form and structure that provides an important dimension in our model in order to facilitate team ministry. Permission-giving mechanism – we have a conviction that we will experience more of the spontaneous flow of the Holy Spirit within the boundaries of a structured model. We believe that structure is ordained by God to help a corporate group of people best cooperate with the flow of the Holy Spirit.
The “Harp and Bowl” model seeks to establish a structure that is designed to launch the highest amount of spontaneity possible for a ministry pursing a 24-hour-a-day schedule. We are seeking a worship model that combines both structure and spontaneity and reflects the worship around the Throne in the heavenly symphony (Re. 4-5).
Primary Issue to Flowing in the Spirit:
Surprisingly enough the main issue we see in our singers and musicians to be able to flow well together has everything to do with confidence.
Flowing in the Anointing:
A very important area to develop in order to equip us to flow in the anointing of the Holy Spirit in prayer is confidence, which is assurance or boldness in God.
Therefore, we must learn ways to empower the heart with confidence in God that overcomes fear (and thus pride). A primary hindrance to flowing in the anointing of the Holy Spirit is fear (timidity). Fear takes on many forms and expressions, but its deadly poison is seen in all that it touches. It shuts down the heart of God’s people.
Values Expressed in the Model:
The Harp and Bowl prayer model is based on values that seek to dismantle fear in our intercessors, prophetic singers and musicians, etc. Only as our fears begin to be subdued can we soar together as a team. Fear locks our hearts. We must dismantle our fears in order to flow with creativity in God.
Overcoming Common Fears:
As leaders we want to understand the core fears that people face so we can help them overcome. The following are the most common fears that we have seen over the years; we can help people through all of these by helping them to identify the fear and then by constantly encouraging them.
Fear of Rejection:
Serving with people who have different personalities, histories, doctrines, paradigms of God and expectations, etc. Many struggle with emotions about not being good enough; they fear that they are not wanted on the team.
Fear of Being Hurt:
People are fearful that they will be criticized by people and judged by leadership.
Fear of not Knowing the Model:
Especially when people are getting started with the model they are concerned that they will make mistakes.
Fear of Failure:
The fear of failing in front of others is a major struggle. The fear of performing poorly in our skills and abilities hinders us. It is awkward to flow at an intimate heart level with God in front of someone who can do it better than us. This often makes people fear replaced.
Fear of Missing God:
People are afraid they are going to quench the Holy Spirit. The fear of failing God or of being disqualified spiritually.
VI. Governing Principle of Harp and Bowl:
There is one primary “governing principle” in the Harp and Bowl model. It is the principle of “developing a passage by antiphonal praying (singing The one “governing principle” expresses three values that relate to flowing in one accord as we lead the congregation in worship and prayer. Team ministry (we go farther together in the symphony of God), inclusiveness (everyone can participate even the weak) and the centrality of the Scripture (God’s language unifies our heart with His and others).
Structure with Spontaneity:
We recognize in God’s wisdom the principle of combining structure with spontaneity as seen in our solar system as well as in the human body. For example, precise scientific order that is predictable exits in our solar system alongside spontaneous air currents that are unpredictable. Also, human life itself flows in context to our human skeletal structure supporting the spontaneous functions of air and blood flow, etc. In other words, in God’s creative order spontaneity is enhanced and benefited by right structure.
In developing the primary governing principle of the Harp and Bowl model, we are seeking a simple structure that facilitates diversity and spontaneity as we flow in team ministry on the platform and in one accord in the congregation in worship and prayer. The challenge is between free expression from the platform leadership and the ability of the congregation to fully participate with engaged hearts.
Developing a Passage:
Why “develop a passage” by developing the themes within a biblical passage?
It provides opportunity for team ministry in worship and Holy Spirit ministry to the congregation.
It provides opportunity for diversity and creativity which is so necessary for pursuing and sustaining 24/7 prayer furnace. It provides opportunity for a “crescendo” in the Holy Spirit to be released to us through worship.
It is a way to function as a singing seminary (Co. 3:16).
VII. Overview of a Worship Cycle:
There are three stages to a worship cycle that occur in the same sequence every time.
Corporate Worship Songs:
That all may engage and experience God’s presence together in one accord. The worship leader’s role is to lead the people into a God-ward focus. Therefore, as a rule, we choose songs that direct us to sing to God instead of only about God. This is stage 1 of the worship cycle.
Devotional singing both from the Scripture and singing from our hearts (1Co. 14:15; Co. 3:16; Eph. 5:19). This is Stage 2 of the worship cycle.
Developing a Passage:
This is done by antiphonal praying or singing. This is stage 3 of the worship cycle. This stage has 4 parts and it is the very heart of the Harp and Bowl prayer model.
Sing through a biblical passage:
That is formed from a stanza of 2-4 Bible verses. This is part 1 of “developing a passage.”
Isolating a phrase:
The prayer leader designates (echoes) one phrase (simply by speaking it for 1-3 seconds) from a “biblical sentence” that the prophetic singers develop by singing “around it.” This is part 2 of “developing a passage.”
Developing themes through antiphonal singing:
The prophetic singers and prayer leader seek to “develop themes” from the isolated phrases. The prophetic singers sing short (5-10 seconds) songs to enhance the themes of the isolated phrases in biblical sentence. Usually we develop 2-3 isolated phrases (totaling 2-3 minutes) per “biblical sentence” that is developed. This is part 3 of “developing a passage.”
The chorus leader and/or worship leader establishes “spontaneous choruses” for all to sing (8-10 times) at any time. This is part 4 of “developing a passage.” The chorus leader signifies the last time to sing the chorus by ending it with a name of God.
Introduction to Corporate Worship Songs:
The worship songs we sing in the house of prayer are God focused, these are songs not just songs singing about God but they are songs directed to Him in a personal way.
Three different examples of worship songs from scripture that are sung directly to God; trembling, kissing and rejoicing.
“Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son (Ps. 2:11-12)”
Trembling before God’s majesty:
These include Hymns of Revelation, Theophonies and majesty Psalms (judgment Psalms and worship Psalms similar to the Hymns of Revelation).
Kissing God’s heart in intimacy:
These include the Song of Solomon and devotional Psalms with an intimacy focus.
Rejoicing with celebration:
These are Psalms with themes of rejoicing and thanking God for the benefits of salvation (past, present, future).
Practical Guidelines for Corporate Worship Songs:
Stay with what is familiar:
Worship leaders should lead with worship songs that the majority of the people present are familiar with.
Singing the song together:
Worship songs should be sung the same general way by all the worship teams so that there is no confusion and the assembly can easily sing together in unity to God.
Waiting for the worship leader:
Prophetic singers should wait until a corporate worship song is established before joining in. Wait at least until the first verse and chorus of a song has been sung unless the worship leader nods that he wants you to begin singing sooner.
Singers should be aware of the loud and soft dynamics of singing that can help to build and crescendo a worship song from the verse into the chorus etc.
The purpose of spontaneous singing is to draw our hearts toward God in a devotional manner. The singing is from our hearts in our own words and melodies or from the scripture.
Sing to One Another:
The Word of God exhorts us to sing to one another with psalms hymns and spiritual songs, making spontaneous melody unto God from our hearts (Eph. 5:19; Co. 3:16).
Singing spontaneously releases faith and the intensity to encounter the manifest presence of God.
Opens Our Spirit:
Spontaneous singing can open our spirit up to God in an enhanced way as we press into Him with our whole heart with creative melodies and words of devotion.
Practical Guidelines for Spontaneous Singing
The worship leader will usually begin the time of spontaneous singing with a phrase such as “Lift your voices” or “sing a new song,” etc.
Once the worship leader signals:
Begin spontaneous singing as soon as the worship leader signals and just start to lift your voice to God in worship using long flowing notes and melodies.
Staying on target:
Do not sing random obscure passages of scripture that do not fit the overall devotional atmosphere that is called for in spontaneous singing. Love for God is the focus so Song of Songs, the Psalms and Revelation are great books to sing from.
Developing from the worship song’s theme:
It can be helpful as a launching pad to sing songs and melodies based on the theme of the corporate worship song that was being sung just before spontaneous singing.
No singing order:
There is no order of singing. Everyone just sing out together to the Lord as your heart adores Him in worship.
Sing to God:
Focus on God and sing right to Him your words and melodies of love.
X. Introduction to Antiphonal Singing:
Below are several help dictionary definitions that will help paint the picture of what we are aiming for in antiphonal singing.
To answer responsively in turns; alternating with one another.
A devotional composition sung responsively as part of a liturgy. A short liturgical text chanted or sung responsively preceding or following a psalm or canticle.
Abound collection of antiphons, especially of the responsive choral parts of the Divine Office.
Responsive or antiphonal singing or chanting. A composition that is sung responsively; an antiphon.
Principles for Antiphonal Singing:
Antiphonal singing means responsive singing. The essence of the “Harp and Bowl” model is built around antiphonal praying or singing of the Word in an interactive relationship between team members.
Opportunity for truth team ministry:
Antiphonal singing provides the opportunity to operate in team ministry in the Holy Spirit in worship and prayer. It includes musicians, prophetic singers, spoken intercession and spoken proclamations. To experience the flow of the Spirit together as a team is a gift of God to the prayer ministry.
Key to sustainability:
The antiphonal singing of the Word is a dynamic way to experience team ministry in worship and prayer. Antiphonal singing is one key to having intensity in the prayer meeting for hours and hours.
The model around the throne:
Around God’s Throne, antiphonal singing is the model of God’s choice (Revelation 5:8-14).
Scriptures Related to Antiphonal Singing:
Responsive singing with group responses.
“And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD: ‘For He is good, for His mercy endures forever toward Israel.’ Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid (Er. 3:11).” Around the throne:
There are five movements in one worship setting. The interactive relationship between the prayer and the music in the heavenly symphony is in itself very significant.
“Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.’ Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!’ And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!’ Then the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever (Re. 5:8-14).” Five groups:
Notice five different groups of people breaking forth in a heavenly crescendo as they minister to God together as one team or one family.
The four living creatures and twenty-four elders sing in Re. 5:8-10.
The myriads of angels join them in Re. 5:11-12.
Every creature joins the first two groups in Re. 5:13.
The four living creatures cry out in a chorus of “amen” in Re. 5:14.
The twenty-four elders break out into worship in Re. 5:14.
Benefits of Antiphonal Singing:
It unites God’s family with one heart-flow in God. God is jealous about that and wants the whole room feeling and entering into His heart together. This antiphonal, harp and bowl, responsive interactive, singing causes the people to flow into one heart together.
The Holy Spirit is not raising up the star preacher or singer, but rather teams of nameless and faceless anointed servants flowing in one heart.
Longer prophetic flow:
Releasing an anointed environment with the team dynamic in the Spirit results in a greater and longer prophetic flow. The crescendo of God’s manifest presence related to the team flow in the Spirit has greater frequency, height and length. The result is enjoyable prayer.
Aids the longevity:
Antiphonal singing provides diversity in night and day prayer that aids in longevity with intensity without wearing us out. Antiphonal singing is one key to having intensity in the prayer meeting for hours and hours.
As we enter into this Harp and Bowl model, it releases an anointed environment to receive more for God. For example, the prophetic spirit is released in a greater measure in this kind of atmosphere (1Ch. 25:1-3).
Practical Guidelines for Antiphonal Singing:
The goal is to see a crescendo between the singers. The frequency of this is related to unity and flow of the short antiphonal singing along with the choruses.
Two factors in antiphonal singing. The prophetic singers usually will sing short songs not usually longer than 5-10 seconds when seeking to flow in team ministry with other prophetic singers. Longer songs sometimes send the signals to the other singers on the team that they are not welcome to contribute.
The end result is a disconnecting of the team resulting in the loss of opportunity to go higher together. Staying on the same theme that the prayer leader selects in the isolated phrase. It is important to find and emphasize one theme per biblical sentence. We desire to see clear themes emerge and have opportunity to crescendo. These songs should stay on track with the same theme. Pay close attention to what is being sung just before you intentionally build on it.
Singing the Word Together:
Echo the phrase:
Using the exact words of the Bible passage or of the person before you. This can be very effective.
Paraphrase the phrase:
Summarize the theme with similar words. As you develop the phrase expand the theme with totally different words that enhance the same idea.
When one singer asks a question the others should answer it. It can be very effective to repeat the exact words of the singer before you.
Do not think it is always best to be overly creative. Repetition of the same exact phrases can have a greater impact. Pay attention to key spontaneous phrases that should be used again throughout the worship set.
Sing one at a time:
Two singers singing at the same time brings confusion regarding who is singing and what theme is to be answered.
It can be very helpful to signal others before you are about to sing by humming, leaning in close to the mike, or any other signal that works well for your team.
Don’t worry too much about singing over each other. Just go for it boldly. You will begin to really flow together with your team over time as you minister to the Lord together. We will take confidence over perfect pitch any day.
XI. Importance of Spontaneous Choruses:
“Spontaneous choruses are a unique way that a whole room full of people can all join together in unity to say the same thing at the same time from their hearts to God.”
Spontaneous choruses create a dynamic unity and agreement in the Spirit in the place of corporate prayer that is unlike any other.
Spontaneous choruses play a huge role in helping a whole room of people stay focused and engaged with God.
Clarifying a Passage:
Spontaneous choruses help bring clarity to passages of scripture that are being sung antiphonally by the prophetic singers.
Create a Crescendo:
Spontaneous choruses help release what we call a crescendo and also help support and highlight the prophetic themes that are being sung during antiphonal singing.
Spontaneous choruses help create an atmosphere of enjoyable prayer that is so crucial for sustaining night and day prayer.
Make an Open Way:
Spontaneous choruses make it easier for those not musically gifted to enter into the flow of the Holy Spirit in the place of corporate prayer.
Easy to Remember:
Spontaneous choruses are easier to remember and therefore create the opportunity for the Word of God to be stamped on our heart and mind in an enhanced way as we sing them.
Practical Guidelines for Spontaneous Choruses
The chorus leader or worship leader may initiate a spontaneous chorus at any time when developing a passage or when singing antiphonally during intercession. The other singers may begin a contrasting chorus once the worship leader or chorus leader has established a strong chorus in the room.
Fewer is better:
The point of the chorus is to quickly re-engage the room. So using many choruses during a meeting is good to help the room stay engaged with God.
Sing it several times:
Spontaneous choruses are to be sung at least 8 to 12 times and the Chorus Leader signifies the last time to sing the chorus by ending it with a name of God or by tagging the last word of the chorus by holding the note out longer.
The worship or chorus leader has the option to establish a chorus and then signal the other singers to continue singing that chorus while they sing a different chorus or song over it. The worship or chorus leader should generally join back in and sing the originally established chorus after they have sung over it for a while.
Use it again:
If a chorus is one that the room responds to in a strong way, then use it again at other times throughout the entire prayer meeting.
Try to keep the choruses simple at first so that everyone can join in quickly.