So, I’m in Leawood, KS representing LifeWay at the National Worship Leader Conference. I got here a day before the conference actually starts, so I thought I would check out the International House of Prayer that I’ve heard so much about. I’m so glad that I did.
If you’re not familiar with the International House of Prayer (or “I-HOP” as it’s often called), it’s a Christian “missions base” in Kansas City. It’s central focus is the Prayer Room where, since 1999, there has been continuous prayer, intercession, and worship 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I’ve now spent an hour or two here over that last two days and I am profoundly moved and humbled. I will tell you that when I first walked into the room, I sensed in my spirit that the presence of the Lord was “thick” here. That’s a ridiculous expression, I understand that, but for the life of me I can think of no other. If Jesus is lifted up without ceasing in a place, the atmosphere is affected. Isn’t it? I believe so.
It would be interesting to know how many worship leaders it takes to pull this off (not to mention the other staff necessary). Their music label, Forerunner Music is at the same conference. Perhaps I can ask them this along with my other questions about this operation. The worship musicians there are known for practing a model of combining worship and prayer called “Harp and Bowl” (One article I found that explains this more fully can be found here). Mostly, it’s marked with spontaneous songs consisting mostly of scripture and other prayers that are being said. It really is beautiful and they have developed quite a repertoire of their own songs written there in the prayer room.
Of course, IHOP and its founder Mike Bickle are not without their critics, but I’m struck with these thoughts: What if we took prayer seriously? How far off-course have our churches come from Jesus’ intention for it to be a “house of prayer for all nations”? And I see the value of meditative prayer, scripture-reading, and worship and letting go of the clock.