A Story of Growth & Change
House of Prayer Lutheran Church had its beginning in 1937 as a branch Sunday School of First Lutheran Church in Bismarck, ND. This Sunday School met in its early days in the building adjacent to the ballpark until a building on the corner of Sweet Avenue and Washington Street was obtained. On August 26, 1956, House of Prayer was organized into a congregation comprised of 80 adults and 68 children.
In 1963, a larger church building was completed at 417 South Anderson. At the time this building was dedicated, there were 156 adults and 150 children. In the years to follow, House of Prayer experienced considerable growth with baptized membership exceeding 500 people in 1979.
In 1982, a study process was completed for relocation to our present site on South Washington Street. The current building was finished in May of 1985. In the spring of 1999, groundbreaking for a new Fellowship and Education wing took place, adding much-needed space for House of Prayer’s expanding ministry needs. This new building addition was dedicated in January 2000. A second building expansion enhanced our worship area and was dedicated in August 2004.
House of Prayer celebrated its 50th Anniversary in August 2006. It continued to look towards the future of God’s amazing grace and our relationship with Jesus through ministry not only at House of Prayer but within our region.
House of Prayer made several changes to bring the congregation together over the next several years, including a Midweek Moment, and a flower fund to give people the opportunity to honor or celebrate a loved one or special season in life. This program allowed for fresh flowers at our services and continues as a beautiful piece of each service.
Our region was devastated by flooding in 2011. The losses in Bismarck and our sister city Minot were staggering. House of Prayer acted through “Flood of Love” by dispatching flood recovery teams and financially helping the churches in Minot rebuild from the devastation that hit their community.
2012 brought the Leap Ahead Preschool program to the House of Prayer. This operation continues to fill our walls with the joy of youth and helps us create a firm foundation for families in our community. Many of our preschool students continue through our youth faith programs and strengthen their relationship with God through this process.
The church council decided to move from two Sunday worship times to one service at 10:00 a.m. in 2014. This decision was not taken lightly. The vision for our church community was to increase energy, and an intentional shift towards bringing more worshippers together and involving Sunday School age children in the worship leadership made a single Sunday service decision the right move for House of Prayer. During this relationship building and focus on community, a coffee fellowship was started and continues to be a highlight of each Sunday.
A decade flew by, and soon the House of Prayer was celebrating their 60th Anniversary in 2016! During this time, House of Prayer made a conscious effort to focus on the mission of providing a vibrant presence for Christ. An annual outdoor worship service was started at General Sibley Park, and the council created a full-time music ministry staff position.
2020. A time of uncertainty and isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic brought many changes to House of Prayer. The church council immediately acted by upgrading technology to provide online streaming services, increasing our social media presence by 77%. The church provided online services every Sunday and offered a Palm Sunday parking lot service and an outdoor Nativity/Christmas Eve service.
In 2020, we also said goodbye to 26 years with Pastor David Swonger. Pastor Dave and Pastor Joel Samuelson had been ministering together at House of Prayer for 20 years. Through the call process, House of Prayer raised up Pastor Joel as Senior Pastor and took a new direction with our leadership team by calling Michelle Hintz to serve as Minister of Discipleship. Their proven leadership during complex and turbulent times makes our congregation excited about the future and continuing to grow in faith together.