IHOP; but not the pancake house.
I had an opportunity to visit the International House of Prayer this last week in Kansas City, MO. Many prayer houses have popped up all over the country as a result of this "mother ship" prayer house. In fact, for all of you back in Northern California, there is an "RHOP" in Roseville. The house in KC isn't so much a house as much as it is an entire business complex turned into a worship and prayer center, a coffeehouse, and even a realty business that works to find housing for homeless people. Apparently this house of prayer has remained open 24/7 and in constant running order for ten years straight. One of the main emphases of this place is to encourage the body of Christ by using the spiritual gifts of prophecy and intercession in a very "hands on" way.
We scheduled an appointment to go into the prophecy rooms with some of the interns there. Many people on our trip were skeptical about having a complete stranger speak to us about issues concerning our spiritual lives, and our relationship to God. But I was feeling very excited, and somewhat nervous, which often accompanies my excitement.
You see I've been hearing powerful testimonies about how God has used the ministry of these houses of prayer to dramatically transform people's lives to be more impacting for the kingdom of God and His eternal purposes. So I was curious to see the headquarters of this ministry, and even more curious to see how it would personally effect my own spirit and life.
Our group of ten entered the main worship room like a clumsy herd attempting to be quiet and eventually found our seats near the back of the room. There was a man strumming generic worship chords on an acoustic guitar and singing "Enter The Worship Circle" songs in a droll baritone. Three other back up singers were to his right, and a drummer was setting up his cymbals in a sound-proof room to his right. Many people in the audience were worshipping. Some on their knees, some lifting up their hands, and then there were even those who sat, seemingly unattached, in chairs with textbooks and laptops. Even with such a variety of people in the room the mood in the room was reverent and worshipful.
After ten or so minutes of worship three of us were called into the prophecy rooms that were side rooms connected to the main sanctuary. The rooms had windows, and a glass door that looked onto the main worship room, so the mood of the main sanctuary was not obstructed by thick walls, but instead the worship music carried into these side rooms.
Chelsea Cooper, Jerome Love, and I entered into our room as a group and met our intercessors; their names were Karen and Aaron. They explained to us that their use of the prophetic gifts were for encouragement and affirmation to build up the body of Christ. They used 1 Corinthians 14 as their basis for launching into prophetic ministry with us that morning.
They shared encouragement and scriptural references for each of us individually. Chelsea was spoken to first, then myself and then Jerome. Out of consideration for their privacy I won't disclose anything of what was said over Chelsea and Jerome, but I'll share what they spoke to me.
For those of you who think that prophecy is some sort of "seeing into the future" or "predicting future events" please understand that this is not the kind of prophecy that I'm talking about, or the kind of prophecy that IHOP practices. Understand "prophecy" in the sense that is used to speak, and re-affirm spiritual truths from God, that can be backed by the truth of His Word for the purpose of building up and edifying the believer, and the body of Christ in general.
I must first say this; I am not a charismatic person, nor do I personally practice the gift of tongues, or prophecy.
These are the words that they shared with me personally. These are words that I am still processing, but ones that I found as a great encouragement to my soul.
My Prophetic Word:
"You are very strong, and you know that you are strong. You are a leader. Sometimes you doubt the calling that God has put on your life, and you know what that calling is but you doubt it at times because of your own weakness. You are a deliverer, like Samson. You are strong like Samson, and you will deliver many people. You must rely on God's strength because he will be your strength in all of your weaknesses. You may have already disqualified yourself from your calling because of your weaknesses but instead you must depend on God's strength for you to live out your destiny. You are among the great ones, you will be a great one in the kingdom of God. He will do great things through your life, and he will use your life to deliver many people."
This was my word of encouragement in a nutshell. Some of the skepticism felt by many people in our group is based on the fact that they felt the words of prophecy were general and vague. However, what I found to be incredible about the prophecy spoken over my life is that it is something that has been spoken over my life before. These words of encouragement spoke to a part of my soul that has been doubtful, but desperate. These words resonated with me not as a "feel good" spiritual pat on the back, but as a calling out to be who God's created me to be. I left IHOP encouraged, but challenged. Instantly after I found myself questioning my ability to be any kind of leader, or deliverer, and then was quickly reminded that "His strength will accomplish the destiny that my weakness cannot."
Amen to that!
International House of Prayer Website