Prayer Watches: How They Work
HOW THEY WORK
Gateway House of Prayer operates on a 24/7 schedule filled primarily with volunteers from the community. The schedule is organized into 84 2-hour prayer and worship meetings called “watches” every week. These meetings are lead by at least 1 volunteer called a “watch leader.” In order to become a watch leader, fill out a volunteer application and drop it off at our office. Once approved, you may begin taking responsibility of a watch as the primary leader or if there’s another leader on your watch with you, as a co-leader.
THEOLOGY OF A PRAYER WATCH
Isaiah 62:6 uses the phrase “watchmen on [the] walls.” As a watchman or watch leader, your role is to stand as a representative of our region before God’s throne (Hebrew 4:16) and worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:23) and to intercede (standing in the gap (Ezekiel 22:30), asking, petitioning) for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth (Matthew 6:10). We do this night and day because Jesus is worthy of worship on earth as He’s worshipped in heaven (Revelation 4:8) and also to fulfill the first side of a conditional promise from Luke 18 for the Lord Jesus to release speedy justice (His perfect will) in our region and beyond in response to His people crying out day and night. 2 Chronicles 7:14 continually motivates us saying,
…if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
PRACTICALS OF LEADING A PRAYER WATCH
FOR THE SOLO LEADER
Pick a prayer focus. In order to know if you’re fulfilling your purpose, choose an area of focus to continually ask the Lord to accomplish each week. It could be a narrow as your own family or as broad as revival in the globe. The more specific, the better because it’s measurable and will encourage your prayer life.
There are “prayer boards” mounted on the walls surrounding the room. You could choose from one of them. There is a grouping of prayer boards called the Seven Mountains of Society or 7 Spheres of Influence. These focuses/categories/mountains/spheres include: Religion (titled Church), Family, Business, Education, Government, Arts & Entertainment, and Media. The other prayer boards include: The Region (Lancaster, Lebanon and Berks counties), The Harvest, Israel, The Nations, and Life.
Arrive on time. Sign the book.
SET THE ATMOSPHERE
Turn on music, bust out your instrument, or turn off the music. Honor Jesus by reading His word, tell Him who He is (with spoken or sung words), sit and listen to the Holy Spirit. You could also spend time praying for anyone that might come into the room.
45 MINUTES OF INTERCESSION
We ask our leaders to make it their goal to spend 45 minutes in intercession (asking, petitioning, declaring etc..) in your topic of focus. If 45 minutes is too long to stay focused at first, consider breaking it up or just working up to it over time.
Write down anything the Holy Spirit spoke to you in the “prophecy book” located next to the sign-in book on the table. Don’t worry, if what you say doesn’t come to pass, we won’t stone you. It’s simply meant to be a source of encouragement though some of the words shared could be of a higher order.
Agree on a prayer focus with your fellow leader(s).
Same as above. Don’t forget to be on time and sign the book.
SET THE ATMOSPHERE
Same as above except you’ll need to agree with your co-leader(s) on music selection together. Remember Ephesians 5:21 which says, “submitting to one another in the fear of God.”
45 MINUTES OF INTERCESSION
Spend up to an hour and fifteen minutes in personal devotion to Jesus (i.e. reading your Bible, waiting in silence, singing to God, etc.). Get together with your co-leader(s) for 45 minutes of intercession where you’re simply taking turns and agreeing with each others’ Biblical prayers for your prayer focus topic. Feel free to spend the first 10 minutes discussing your prayer topic. Or you can accomplish your intercession separately by each praying at the different prayer boards around the room. We do encourage agreement prayer because Jesus taught us in Matthew 18:19,20 saying, “Again I say to you that if two of you agreeon earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
Same as above.
FOR LIVE MUSIC (WORSHIP) TEAMS
Gateway is set up to host full bands playing live music to the Lord! We have a sound board with over 20 channels, on-stage personal monitors, a drum kit, and a keyboard available to approved volunteers for use on a 2 hour time slot. Bassists and guitarist will need to bring their own instruments.
We encourage our live music (worship) teams to meet 30 minutes before their watch for a 20 minute team briefing time with 10 minutes for setting up on stage. This is a time for set leaders to give songs sheets to their team members, discuss the plan. If the team is trained in the harp & bowl method of prayer (simply music and spoken prayers mixed together), briefing can be a time to discuss the prayer focus or passage of Scripture the singers will be singing and prayer leader reading through. This can also be a great time to connect as a team. Community really thrives with quality briefing (and de-briefing) times.
As volunteers, you have the opportunity for access to Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI), which is an online resource for many contemporary worship songs – lyrics, chord, and lead sheets. It’s a fantastic tool and timesaver for worship team leaders.
Play your hearts of worship out before the Lord! Often, you might be the only person in the room, which makes it an intimate time with the Holy Spirit and also a great venue to grow in skill and experience without the pressure of people listening. You can make mistakes and people won’t be around to cringe! At Gateway, we believe Jesus is worthy of 24/7 worship and prayer (Malachi 1:11), and live worship sets are a great way to express His value and our love for Him.
Practically, you can go from known song to known song, following the music sheets or you can leave musical space to sing creatively with spontaneous phrases and choruses. If your team knows the harp & bowl method, the 2-hour set is a great venue to sing through the Scriptures or add segments of intercession lead by the team’s prayer leader.
A small post-watch meeting is recommended for live teams. It can be as short as 15 minutes where you discuss what went well and what didn’t. As a team, it’s a space and time to encourage one another in your gifts and skills. We’ve also found it’s a great time to share with each other things the Holy Spirit revealed to them. It builds community. One of our teams often goes out to eat after their debriefing.
SERVE ON A TEAM AT GATEWAY
Download an application and volunteer to take a 2-hour set in Gateway House of Prayer. You can serve with others on a worship team if you are qualified or as an intercessor in any of the time-slots at Gateway.
WANT TO GO DEEPER?
Sign up for the EMBARK Internship, our 12-week discipleship program from February to April built around the reality of 24/7 prayer and worship and the Word of God. Learn about the worth of Jesus Christ, the tabernacle of David, God as our Father, the baptism, gifts, and ministry of Holy Spirit, and be inspired to walk out the first and second commandment and the great commission in community with other followers of Jesus!
If you’re looking for greater depth and more instruction, consider enrolling in the 9 month HarvestNet School of Ministry (HSM) running September through May lead by JC Alzamora.