The Restored Model of Intercessory Worship
In Isaiah 56:7, Isaiah the prophet described a time when God’s people worldwide would experience unusual grace and authority in prayer – “For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” This prophetic naming of the praying people of God was, in essence, a promise that God’s people will function through grace-empowered prayer! Isaiah also declared the LORD’s promise to give them “joy in my house of prayer”. In other words, God will fill His people with prayer that is exuberant, refreshing and invigorating. The Body of Christ around the world will experience a whole new climate when it is engaged in this deep and joyful partnership of prayer with the Eternal Intercessor! This will result in bringing the outcast of the earth to Jesus (Isa. 56:8).
I believe we are experiencing a paradigm shift in the Church today that is moving us toward the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecies: it is a model of intercessory worship that breeds passion for Jesus and compassion for the lost!
The Beauty Realm of God
Revelation 4 and 5 are magnificent passages on the heavenly symphony that continues day and night in God’s presence. (This is a reality that is happening in the heavenly realm!) No other place in Scripture gives more insight into the beauty that surrounds God’s throne – the jasper, sardius and emerald glory that encircles it; all these are only a hint of God’s splendor. I like to call this the “beauty realm of God”.
Those who worship in this beauty realm are filled with marvel, awe and wonder. As they feast on God’s beauty, their spirits are exhilarated with a love-struck sense of fascination with Him! A chronic disease in Western Christianity is spiritual boredom. It’s impossible to be bored, however, when we actually encounter a God of transcendent beauty! When our hearts are “smitten” with Him, we want to worship and obey Jesus in a deeper way. I call this “happy holiness” because it is motivated by the discovery of God’s beauty and the exhilaration of love. Legalistic rituals or cranky holiness do not touch our heartstrings, but gazing on the throne of transcendent beauty utterly consumes us. This is where intercessory worship begins.
The Harp and Bowl
Jesus taught us to pray that God’s will be done “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). The Apostle John, in his vision in Revelation 4 and 5, gives us a precious glimpse of how to worship God on earth like it is done in heaven. Revelation 5:8 says, “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”. Notice that the living creatures and the elders came to Jesus with two things: a harp and a bowl. The harp symbolizes God’s music and the bowl represents intercession. Worship in heaven is a flowing together of music and prayers! When the harp (worship music) is used in an interactive relationship with the bowl (intercession), a miraculous spiritual dynamism occurs! I call this dynamic “intercessory worship” because the spirit of worship gives wings to prayer!
I believe the harp and bowl model of intercessory worship is KEY to the present worldwide prayer movement because it creates the “joy in My house of prayer” about which Isaiah prophesied. Our intercessory prayer furnaces can burn longer and brighter when they are fuelled by love songs to God. As music and praise from the beauty realm of God are joined with the prayers of the saints and offered at the throne of God, great spiritual powers and blessings are released on earth!
The Tabernacle of David
Feasting on the beauty realm of God was a primary desire of David. It was one of the secrets of his quality worship (Ps. 27:4). In fact, David was the first man to bring into one context worship, singers, musicians and intercessors. I believe that many of the intercessory Psalms were written on site in the Tabernacle of David. A tabernacle is a portable shrine. The tabernacle that King David used to house the Ark of God (or the Ark of the Covenant) was a small tent – only about 10 or 15 feet high and long (1 Chron. 15:1 and 1 Chron 16:1). The glory of God rested on the Ark; yet it was enshrined in a simple tent!
In Moses’ time, the glory that rested on the Ark was well hidden in the Holy of Holies, behind a thick veil. In David’s tent, there was no veil to keep the people from seeing the glory of God. It was completely unprecedented – David set the Ark of the Covenant in open view! Instead of the thick veil Moses used, David made musicians and singers into a human veil around the Ark. He organized 4,000 musicians and 288 singers to minister to God in shifts that continued 24 hours a day (1 Chron. 6:31 – 33; 15:16 – 22; 23:4 – 6; 25:7). In fact, David released these worshipers from other duties, that they might worship and pray as their full-time occupation (1 Chron. 9:33).
Restoration of the Tabernacle of David
The Apostle James, at the Jerusalem council, quoted an obscure prophecy from Amos 9:11 – 12, “I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruin I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the LORD, and all the Gentiles who bear My name.” (Acts 15:16 – 17) James was recalling God’s promise to restore the Tabernacle of David – as a means of releasing the fullness of salvation and revival for all the nations. This model of intercessory worship will be restored so that the Great Commission can be completed – so that every tribe, tongue and nation will be present on the last day (Rev 5:9; 7:9 – 10; 14:6; 15:4; Matt. 24:14).
What does the restoration of the Tabernacle of David mean to the Church today? I believe it means much more than incorporating the priestly worship and prayer practice before the Davidic tabernacle. I believe it points the way for us to become a united, victorious, apostolic Church that walks in mature love, reaping the great harvest in all the nations. May the LORD direct all of us into the beauty realm of God through intercessory worship in the spirit of the Tabernacle of David. May that spirit fire our passion for the Great Commission!
Founder & Director
One Thing Ministries International House of Prayer (Singapore)
5 August 2008