Some Guidance for Beginning a Home Prayer Meeting
On a number of occasions, I have been asked how we ended up with the kind of prayer meetings that I have in my home. Honestly, it is only by the mercy of God. It was nothing that I foresaw or planned. I could not have planned it, for I did not know something so wonderful existed. Nevertheless, over the years, people have expressed a desire to have the kind of prayer meetings in their home that they see here.
Truthfully, only God can create the fellowship and joy that you will find at Pastor John's House, and I believe with all my heart that He wants all His children to know the liberty and light that He has given to us. So, the best counsel I can give is simply to make your request known to Him, and to wait for His answer to come. But perhaps the following brief comments will help you understand more about what you see at our house.
1) The first pitfall to avoid in having a home prayer meeting is the temptation to try to turn it into another religious organization.
A successful home prayer meeting will not be just another place to practice "church religion". The way of the Spirit is not "church"; it is just life! One of the most successful home prayer meetings that I know of started as no prayer meeting at all. It began with two couples who had no intention of starting a home meeting.
They simply loved God and loved to get together to read the Bible and talk of the things of God. So, they met on Friday nights and sat around eating popcorn and having a wonderful time in the Spirit together. As others heard of it, they began to drop in. The popcorn was left off, and a fellowship began to be formed by a common love for Jesus.
2) You need not even try to start a home prayer meeting if you have the mentality that a meeting in a home is somehow insufficient, or unofficial. There is NOTHING holy about a church building. It is made of the same materials your house is made of. What matters about a gathering of the saints is, are the children of God growing in grace, and are they being fed the knowledge of God? When the Spirit of God is involved, a home prayer meeting or Bible study is completely sufficient for every purpose in the kingdom of God.
3) You must begin with the mind of Christ, who said, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them." When Jesus is there, he is all that is needed, in order to be both legitimate and effective. Reject the "numbers" mentality and get into the "presence" mentality. It does not matter how large or small the number of people are. The flesh will measure success by that. The real measure of success is whether or not Jesus is present. His favor is 100% of what we need. The mind of Christ understands that if Jesus is present, God is pleased. And as Christ was satisfied simply to please his heavenly Father, so will we be, when we are truly like him.
4) The subject of money will always come up. You must handle God's money rightly. For instructions on how to handle God's tithes and offerings – go to this link: http://www.pastorjohnshouse.com/books/tithesandofferings.pdf. We believe that we are a model for God's people concerning handling the finances of the kingdom of God in a biblically sound way.
5) I have never seen a prayer meeting succeed in becoming what it ought, when eating and drinking becomes a part of it. Don't mix food with worship.
The same can be said about ceremonies. Don't bring church into the home and then think it is not church. You can have church religion in a home as well as in a church building. Leave off snacks and leave off ceremonies. Just live in the Spirit together, and grow together in the light of God.
6) In order for God's children to grow, they must have order; there must be government, and a standard upheld. Home prayer meetings are for education, for exhortation, and encouragement, for comfort, correction and reproof, and for those things to be accomplished there must be order. Jesus could not teach the multitudes; he taught his disciples in smaller groups. Jesus healed the multitudes and gave them some general guidelines for moral living. But his instructions in things pertaining to the kingdom of God were reserved for a few at a time. You need to know what your calling is and what home prayer meetings are for. If your calling is evangelism, you must go outside the home, and that is a holy calling, but not the same as the calling to be a pastor, or teacher.
7) In order for God's children to grow together in light, they need to feel free to talk about what's happening in their lives – to testify, or to open their hearts to others about their need of help or counsel. The people at Pastor John's House know each other like family because they are a family. Life in the Spirit, life among the family of God, is real and personal. You can't develop deep, personal relationships in public. A significant benefit of being in a home is that a home is not a public place, and the homeowner has legal authority over who is welcome and who is not. Disruptive spirits can be prevented from coming if the meeting is in a home. As I said, home prayer meetings are for nurturing and teaching, and you can do neither without peace, and somewhat of a sense of privacy.
My father, "Preacher Clark", taught us that all of God's children need a home. We all need a place where we can share our lives openly with others of the same mind and heart. Church religion can never provide that for the children of God.
8) In general, a home meeting will be in order and approved of God if:
a) the house in which the meetings are held is approved of God, and
b) God is in charge, for in that case, there will be someone there that God's in charge of. We cannot be in charge and have it become what God wants; the Spirit of God has to lead, or it will all end up in confusion.