Defining The Main Difference Between a House of Prayer and a Traditional Church


When Mike Bickle launched International House of Prayer in 1999, I never would have suspected it to such a far reach globally. I also never dreamed that we would ever become a House of Prayer ourselves. In fact, I had no clue there was an International House of Prayer until around 2004. The only connection I had with Mike Bickle was through his books on prophetic ministry when our church community was (and still are) “flowing in the river”.

Our Introduction to International House of Prayer

My first formal introduction to iHOP-KC came in 2006 when I and a team traveled to iHOP-KC. As soon as I stepped into the Prayer Room I knew this is how church ought to be. From the presence and into the streets, life and ministry. To have a perpetual place of unceasing worship and prayer was, and still is glorious.

Anyone at anytime can come and intentionally go deep in God, find refreshing, presence, community and prayer. To me this was much more of a biblical model of “church”. What I found at iHOP-KC was a group of people who actually pulled it off and have done so for close to fifteen years!

Through a long series of prophetic events we started our journey to a House of Prayer reality in 2007. Small steps led us to a prophetic point of no return. On January 1, 2011 we officially changed our name to Convergence House of Prayer. Again, it’s really an amazing story and journey.

The Main Difference Between a House of Prayer And A Traditional Church

Often I get questions from Pastors and leaders about the difference between what I call the House of Prayer and a Traditional Church.

From our own journey, here is what I see to be the main differences:

  1. The House of Prayer intentionally places the worth of Jesus, prayer, worship and encountering God (i.e. Prayer Room) at the center of all church life and ministry.
  2. Traditional churches are generally structured around weekend gatherings and ministry. The weekend and ministry groups are the focus.

So, the focus of the House of Prayer is the Prayer Room (some call it a Worship Room etc). In a traditional church the weekend services get the focus.

What’s right?

I’m not saying the House of Prayer is the only right model/structure and the traditional church is not. Each of us have our calling and anointing and a sense of His leading in leadership in our lives.

Ultimately, we need to ask ourselves just what we are building and why. We need to pray and look at how the Lord wants to establish His church in these days. We don’t have to default to the way things have always been done.

For us, it’s about establishing a place where the name of Jesus is boldly proclaimed because He is worthy, period.

In addition, we are intentionally creating a place where worship is offered, prayer/declarations are made, a place where the Lord is encountered, people are encouraged and healed. And from the place of puerperal worship and encounter people are empowered to fulfill the Great Commission.

More to Come

I will be sharing more about this topic in future posts, so stay tuned! We are definitely on a learning curve so any comments/questions help grow and sharpen us.

Question: What thoughts, comments or questions do you have about the House of Prayer and/or the traditional church? Love to get your response to this post.

Receive Free "Ekklesia Emerging"

Subscribe now and receive a FREE copy of Pastor Greg's new e-book: Ekklesia Emerging!
In addition, you will have the convenience of having new posts delivered right to your email inbox. Read. Forward to Friends.Unsubscribe at any time.
*Privacy Guarantee: I will never share your e-mail address with anyone.
Series Navigation[Part Three] Defining The Main Difference Between A House Of Prayer And A Traditional Church: His Worth and Outcomes >>
Greg Simas
Greg is the Founder and Senior Leader of Convergence House of Prayer, Husband, Father, Pastor and Writer. He is married to his wife Wendi, and have three amazing children and four grandchildren. Greg lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Amazing First Service In Our New Building

Previous article

Questions on Leadership And Finishing Well

Next article

You may also like


  1. Very clear explanation and informative. Enjoying your website Greg. Blessings on your new IHOP.

    1. Hi Lisa. Welcome to the blog. I’m glad this post helped you and thanks for your kinds words about the website! Blessings!

  2. Thanks for sharing this! I am so excited for you all, really. 🙂 I have this calling on my heart as Father has laid on me 24/7 prayer and has allowed me to run a House of Prayer out of our church and I so desire to see Him be glorified and acknowledge yet my church family is slow, very slow in following the leading of Holy Spirit.

    Praying for you and this important mission of prayer from Canada!

    1. Child of God. I appreciate your diligence and dedication to leading a House of Prayer out of your church. God knows the perfect timing on when the church family will catch on. It’s great that you faithfully doing what He has called you to. I bless that! Keep going!

  3. “We need to pray and look at how the Lord wants to establish His church in these days. We don’t have to default to the way things have always been done” … great perspective in this post. Christ speaks and acts in the church that He builds. Since He lives to make intercession for us, and since He said His Father’s house was a house of prayer, we can appreciate why the Holy Spirit is restoring this emphasis to the church.

    1. Brian, you definitely have it!!

  4. Thank you for defining that for me (us). It’s great to have a clear picture of the two.

    1. You are welcome, Dan. Thanks for your faithfulness to comment here. I need to get over to your site and get on some of your recent leadership posts. Always good! 🙂

      1. I enjoy what you write about, .love to hear how you are changing your part of the community. Whenever you get a chance, no rush:)

  5. This is a great explanation of the distinctives. Thank you. I’ll be looking forward to reading more on this subject. I’ve enjoyed and appreciated Mike Bickle’s writings and the call for this emphasis on prayer/presence for a while.

    I love this line you wrote: ‘We don’t have to default to the way things have always been done.’

    It conjured to mind a few questions:

    How did your church transition as a community into adopting this change in emphasis, how did your congregation become more open to it?

    What was the journey like, the starting point and end point?

    And what would you say were the key turning points and challenges that allowed you as a community to grow your appreciation for the need to pursue God’s presence in this way?

    I’m sorry to drop so many queries on you like this. It’s a topic that’s very close to my heart.

    1. Micah, great questions here. There is so much to share with you, I could not possibly do it justice in the comments section. Each of these questions deserves a post in-and-of-itself which I am considering doing.

      1. The transition was virtually flawless. We had zero attrition which was a miracle. There is a process I followed as I felt lead by the Holy Spirit. This can give you more of an idea.

      2. The journey went smoothly. I allowed time for the HOP reality to fall from the head to the heart of our community. The Lord had to do this and of course, HE did.

      3. We have always been about His presence. So moving closer to God as a community was a “win” for all. If the presence of God is not really the top priority of the church, it will be much more difficult to move forward successfully.

      Micah, there is so much more. Would writing more of the “knitty-gritty” in future posts be of value? Hope this helps you, at least a little bit. 🙂

  6. What about typical community events/gatherings like Bible study/cell group and prayer meetings together? Personally I love these community gatherings.

    This model seems to sacrifice church community for individual relationship with God. That might be a good trade off, but it does have drawbacks. People might supplement a house of prayer with another church’s activities or cell groups. Why not host your own?

    1. Hi Samuel. I don’t see a conflict whatsoever. A House of Prayer reality places intimacy with Jesus as THE priority of the church. Community and cell groups etc flow from this reality. There is plenty of room to do both. In fact, community is strengthened when intimacy with God is central.

      Think of the first and second great commandment. Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself. Both are commanded and both can certainly be achieved. They are two sides of the same coin and one is never sacrificed at the expense of another. It’s comes down to priority and the Lord is the one who has determined this. Community thrives when the church loves God as a community first. Thanks for joining the discussion!

  7. am much humbled for defining for me this…it has inspired me alot ..God bless you and increase your wisdom…shalom!!

    1. Hi Stephen, you are welcome!

  8. Hey Greg! Great article!! What are we building and why are questions we are wrestling with in our ministry. I Pastor Innovation Church in Stockton, not to far from you. Would love to connect one of these days!!

    Blessings & Favor!
    Lance Coffman

    1. Hi Lance, Love that your wresting with the important “what” and “why” questions. Love to connect with you. Just email me a Blessings – Greg

  9. This is a fantastic article. Found it as a FB post. Well done, brother. There is a group of us here in Colorado Springs on a similar journey. Please email us if u r in the area. We would love to visit. – jan stennett. ELehos house of prayer

    1. Thanks Jan. Glad you guys are going for it there in Colorado Springs! If I’m ever in the area I will certainly look you guys up! Rich favor and blessings to you and Elehos House of Prayer!

  10. Pastor Greg, this is so good! My wife and I started pastoring in 2016, and what you say here resonates in me. Thank you for your faithfulness! Looking forward to staying connected, sir!
    Jeremie Hamby

    1. Hi Jeremie! Great to hear from you and awesome that you guys are pastoring now. Hit me up if there is anything you need from me. Much blessing and favor to you in your new assignment!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.