King David established praise and worship mixed with music and prayer in the Tabernacle of David (1 Chronicles 15 & 16). During his reign, there was constant praise and worship, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week before the Ark of the Covenant. For over thirty years, they worshiped God wholeheartedly and He blessed the nation of Israel in mighty ways. God promised in Acts 15 that one day He will restore the Tabernacle of David. Harp and Bowl is a foreshadowing of that restoration, and what we do is in the spirit of the Tabernacle of David. Whenever the Davidic style of worship has been restored, God has blessed His people with mighty signs and wonders.
Revelation 4 and 5 tells us that this is the kind of worship in heaven around the throne of God. The four living creatures and twenty-four elders fall before the Lamb. Each one holds a harp and a bowl. The harp represents music and the bowl represents the prayers of the believers.
Ephesians 5:19 instructs us to make music in our hearts to the Lord. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16 –17, we are told to be joyful always and to pray constantly. Harp and Bowl combines music and prayer, one empowering the other; worship makes prayer enjoyable and sustainable for longer periods. This allows us to connect with the Holy Spirit and joyfully flow in our prayers. God promised in Isaiah 56:7 to give His worshipers joy in His house of prayer. Many are discovering that through joyful prayer they are being drawn deeper into the heart of God.
In Harp and Bowl, the intercession is rooted in intimacy and encounter with God, we pray using scriptures as the starting point and pattern for our prayers, and the musicians and singers function as intercessors just as much as the prayer leaders. The prayer leaders speak their prayers, the singers sing their prayers and the musicians play their prayers.
Harp and Bowl prayer is a universal format that can be expressed in a number of different ways. It is a total integration of prayer and worship woven together seamlessly. It is an expression of what is happening around the throne of God at this very moment: we get a glimpse in Revelation chapter 5, where we see the four living creatures and the twenty four elders around the throne of God. In verse 8 we read they they each have a harp and a golden bowl. The harp speaks of music and worship, while the bowl signifies the prayers of the saints. So we have this tremendous picture of worship and prayer surrounding the throne of God, continually being offered before Him.
King David had a revelation of this reality long before John saw it in Revelation. We read in 1 Chronicles that David brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, and placed it in a tent or tabernacle. But instead of veiling the Ark with a curtain as Moses had done, David surrounded the Ark with musicians and singers, who continually offered up worship and prayer to God day and night without ceasing. So this is what we do with our Harp and Bowl prayer gatherings: we surround the throne of God with prayer and worship just as David did – in the spirit of the Tabernacle of David. We know that David’s Tabernacle will once again be a physical reality when Jesus returns (Amos 9:11–12), but in the meantime we see this spiritual parallel, which God is raising up all over the world in these days.