A house of “proseuche”
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. (Act 3:1 NIV)
As Christians we celebrate the fact that we can talk to our heavenly Father at any moment and in any circumstance. This exclusive privilege is our’s thanks to the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. His body was torn, and his blood was shed permanently opening a way for us to enter the presence of God without any obstacles (Hebrews 10:19–22). With thankful hearts we do not take for granted our ability to pray. The general Greek word in the New Testament for prayer is “proseuche.” It’s the word used when Jesus quoted Isaiah declaring, “My house will be called a house of prayer.” (Matthew 21:13)
We must understand another dimension to the word proseuche to fully comprehend it though. In addition to being defined as prayer to God, it also refers to the place of prayer or a special place set aside for prayer. The apostles Peter and John were exercising a disciplined lifestyle of prayer when they were going up to the temple (place) at the time (schedule) of prayer (proseuche). New Testament faith doesn’t discount the discipline of prayer. Instead, it embraces it.
From common to sacred
From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. (Acts 16:11–13 NIV)
In this district of Macedonia, the apostle Paul went to the river outside the city searching for something. It says that it was there that he expected to find a “place of prayer.” Why there? The point is quite simple. In places without a synagogue, the shoreline of a river or sea served as a convenient place for ceremonial washing before prayer. Proximity and convenience helped to transform a common place into a sacred space.
We believe in the sacred space in which people can expect to find prayer taking place. In the District of Columbia, there is certainly no shortage of church buildings, however many of them sit empty for the majority of the week. Even fewer of them open their doors for times of organized corporate prayer outside of the normal Sunday morning program. This is partly why a house of prayer on Capitol Hill is so important. When people in the city go in search of a place of prayer, there needs to be something close by where they can expect to find it. In a city like DC, it must be a place that is open to visitors; open to tourists; open to marketplace believers; and open to members of Congress and their staff. Anyone looking for a place to gather, pray and encounter God in the nation’s capitol ought to find it close by.
Governmental intercession on the move
One part of what we long for at JHOP DC is a day when we not only pray for governmental leaders but also with governmental leaders who have come to seek the Lord on their own. Can you imagine with us how important those days will be when elected leaders are worshiping Jesus and crying out for heaven’s wisdom? Will there be a convenient and discreet place available for them where people are corporately encountering God through day and night worship?
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1–4 NKJV)
JHOP DC has operated on Capitol Hill since October 2004, and we rejoice in God’s faithfulness to sustain us during these years. We now find ourselves at a time of strategic growth and positioning. God wants to increasingly shift the atmosphere of Capitol Hill through day and night worship, prayer and intercession. Please join with us in the new space that the Lord has provided for us. It’s a convenient and common place that’s being set aside for sacred purposes in this most influential city.
Visit JHOP DC at 645 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20003.