The Brooklyn Tabernacle, a 3,500-seat evangelical prayer palace in downtown Brooklyn, was built in 1918 as one of the largest and grandest vaudeville houses in North America. It is still a hot ticket. Its youngish, racially diverse congregation packs the pews each week to praise God and bask in the sounds of a Grammy-winning 250-voice gospel choir. But the tabernacle is more than just a popular church. It is also a destination for evangelicals from all around the United States and beyond, laymen and ministers alike, who come as acolytes to study prayer.
“Prayer is like other activities,” the Rev. Daniel Henderson told me when we met at the tabernacle the week before Easter. He was visiting Brooklyn with a group of seminary students from Virginia. “You learn from people who are already good at it,” he went on. “The people who pray at the Brooklyn Tabernacle are committed. Praying with them is an education.”