Tonight was IHOP’s ten year anniversary celebration.
In May of 1999, the doors of the International House of Prayer opened. Particularly in the early days, it was a prayer laboratory as they searched for the right model. When you’re planning to start a prayer meeting that goes until Jesus returns, you’re looking for a way of doing it that works for people. The only thing worse than a bad prayer meeting is a bad prayer meeting that will not end.
The mix of worship and intercession was not an exact science. For some reason they’d gotten pretty separate over the years. In time, though, a model emerged that – while not claiming to be the end-all – gave the people something to go back to when it wasn’t clear where things were supposed to go.
In September of that year, the jump was made to go around the clock. Every two hours, a band steps in behind the band that’s playing and musicians drop out one by one. The prayer leaders relinquish the mic to their replacements and the meeting continues. You would think it would get monotonous, but I regularly get a chill when I walk in to the room at 6am and think “It’s still going.”
To put it in perspective, when this prayer meeting started, Bill Clinton was being impeached.
When this prayer meeting started, Timothy McVeigh had just blown up the federal building in Oklahoma.
When this prayer meeting started, Will Smith was a rapper.
Some time has passed. A lot of things have changed. Still, the meeting goes on, and every year thousands visit, be it for months, weeks, or days…to dip their toe in the stream. Many choose to wade in a little deeper.
For us, that walk in the water started with my visiting a conference, where I found Mike Bickle preaching much of what I preached during church planting – revolution, John the Baptist, fasting and prayer, radical commitment and radical expectation. The difference was that he had a clue what he was talking about. I was using words God gave me but they sounded like a foreign language when I said them. I can’t imagine how painful it was to sit under that preaching as I struggled to figure out what God was doing with us.
We up and moved here around year 4, opting out of the traditional ministry path (the one with a salary and a budget) for a missionary lifestyle doing something that few could imagine and fewer could understand, including us. I was sold out for prayer – I just didn’t know how to do it very long. That’s not good for a guy who just joined a 24/7 prayer movement.
I practiced. I learned. I failed a lot. I got some better. And I turned around to find nearly six years had gone by, and to discover that the best part about IHOP is that we just haven’t quit. Not quitting is winning.
We left the celebration a little bit early tonight, because Kelsey was scheduled to lead the 10pm to midnight set in the prayer room. It was fitting to slip out early for her to take her turn on the wall, stoking the fires of intercession, like so many have in the past ten years.
Happy Anniversary, IHOP. We’re honored to be a part.
Filed under: Uncategorized |