Since 1999, something extremely powerful has been happening in a building in Kansas City, Missouri. Every year, every month, every week, every day, every hour, and every minute, people have been praying. Located in the International House of Prayer’s prayer room, anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred worshippers are gathered to pray, meditate, and worship.
In Worship and Prayer 24/7 – International House of Prayer
It’s happening right now. The International House of Prayer Kansas City, better known as IHOPKC or IHOP, describes their mission in the following way:
The International House of Prayer is an evangelical missions organization that is committed to praying for the release of the fullness of God’s power and purpose, as we actively win the lost, heal the sick, feed the poor, make disciples, and impact every sphere of society—family, education, government, economy, arts, media, religion, etc. Our vision is to work in relationship with the wider Body of Christ to serve the Great Commission, as we seek to walk out the two great commandments to love God and people.
The hub of this prayer power house is the Prayer Room. In this place, Christians are praying 24/7, 365 days a year. Although the ministry of IHOP extends to acts of mercy and works of justice around the globe, the real power that fuels this ministry happens in the prayer room.
One of IHOP’s worship leaders, Jon Thurlow, spoke to us about the ministry, allowing us to get a glimpse of how God is working in and through the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. Jon explained, “In the spring of 1999, a handful of people came together with the idea of sustained prayer. The director of the house of prayer, Mike Bickle, had been carrying this vision in his heart for over a decade. In 1999, he felt the green light to go for it and get it started. It’s been going nonstop ever since.”
It’s hard to imagine that in a single spot a prayer meeting has been going on unbroken, without interruption, for fourteen years. But that’s exactly what has been happening. Jon said, “It’s nonstop worship and prayer. To break it down, you have 24 hours in a day, or 168 hours in a week. We divide it into two-hour segments. One worship team leads for two hours. While the previous worship leader finishes out, the team next starts a new chord, and on it goes. It’s been going nonstop day and night.”
Anyone is invited to the prayer room at anytime, and for any reason. There are no locked doors, and no membership requirements. “You can walk in the prayer room off the street at 4am, and you have a worship team going at it. And even at that time, there might be anywhere from 100-200 people in the room worshipping and praying.” Lest this idea of non stop worship sounds strange, think about the innumerable multitude of saints “from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the lamb” (Revelation 7:9). What are they doing there? The Scripture tells us, “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple” (Revelation 7:15).
It is precisely this kind of eternally meaningful and constantly worshipful type of activity that goes on in the prayer room at IHOP. “There are always people in that room worshipping and praying,” Jon told us. Jon himself spends at least two hours leading worship in the prayer room each day.
In addition to constant prayer, typical activities in the prayer room include singing worship songs, meditating on God’s word, writing prayers, writing in one’s journal, or studying a passage of Scripture. Jon told us another activity of the prayer room. “There is also a special time during those two hour prayer meetings that we call ‘intercessions.’ During this time, a person comes up to the mic and prays a specific prayer. It can be prayer regarding a topic like abortion or human trafficking — a social justice issue. It could be praying for the body of Christ in Seattle, Washington or some other geographic region. It might be praying for revival in India, or in the event of a recent calamity, praying for the Philippines a ton — just asking the Lord for provision or any number things. Anyone can come and pray.”
Prayer is the start, but prayer is never disconnected from action and movement. IHOP partners with missions organizations around the world. Jon told us, “In Matthew 9, Jesus said that the harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few. He asks us to pray. Jesus is talking about missions and prayer in one sentence. It’s supposed to go hand-in-hand.
There are few places on earth where such an unbroken stream of prayer and worship are pouring out. We as believers are commanded to pray. We are privileged to pray. We are even told to pray without ceasing. Prayer is a powerful connection with our loving and almighty Savior. Let us pause during the busyness of our days and the activity of our lives to intercede with Him.
You can find out more about the International House of Prayer at their website, and watch the live stream in the prayer room.