Profiles on the Right: International House of Prayer (IHOP)

IHOP

The International House of Prayer of Kansas City (IHOPKC)—whose theology focuses on preparing Christians, especially young people, for the second coming of Jesus—is a model for about 400 similar institutions in the United States and a growing number globally. Most lack any formal affiliation with IHOPKC, but many livestream its 24/7 prayer and worship services and use its media and multilingual training materials. IHOPKC shares board members and tax affiliation with Lou Engle’s TheCall, which organized TheCall Uganda in 2010, featuring speakers who supported the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Mike Bickle, one of the pioneers of the Neocharismatic movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), founded IHOPKC in 1999. He was one of the original members of the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders formed by C. Peter Wagner as he developed a model for networks and ministries intended to replace traditional denominational structures.

IHOPKC’s “purifying” regimen includes long-term fasting, during which participants are told to expect to experience spiritual highs and to “hear God’s voice in the Word, dreams, visions and revelations”—and round-the-clock prayer sessions. IHOPKC is also home to an unaccredited “university” that offers training and certificates in missions, music, and media. The combined IHOPKC entities have a staff of about 1,000 people, and they enroll about 1,000 students annually in educational programs.

IHOPKC puts a trendy, youthful gloss on a movement that is fiercely opposed to reproductive and LGBTQ rights. Bickle teaches that today’s youth are the “eschatological generation” that will experience the End Times, and that they must prepare for the coming “Antichrist.” He also teaches young people that they must prepare to be martyrs.

In recent years, IHOPKC has rebranded its mission to publicly downplay its End Times focus and promote global social transformation. IHOPKC’s website explains that “outreach has always been a vital part of our mission,” but in 2009, “we set our heart to significantly increase our outreach and ministry to others outside our missions base.” One of IHOPKC’s many affiliated ministries is the Missouri-based Exodus Cry, an organization dedicated to ending sex trafficking. Exodus Cry has called for a “global prayer revolution that will confront the powers of injustice that are enslaving our women and children.” Its leadership is focused on conversion of prostitutes and teaches that it is necessary to expel demons from them in order to save their souls.

For more details, see American Culture Warriors in Africa: A Guide to the Exporters of Homophobia and Sexism.

Africa Profiles ArrowInternational House of Prayer of Kansas City
3535 E. Red Bridge Rd.
Kansas City, MO 64137
http://www.ihopkc.org
http://www.thecall.com/