|How to recognize and ride the winds of the spirit|
'round the clock prayer
October 1, 2001
Half past seven in the morning: the room is full. The music is bright and optimistic. Some people are standing, arms upraised. Some are seated in the long rows of chairs, 60 or so of them, that form half a rectangle around the band. One man is on the floor, face down. All of them are praying. Some will leave shortly for work, others are settling in for a couple of hours.
3:00 p.m.: the crowd has thinned. The keyboardist improvises and the singer recites a Scripture verse. The sound is lush, electronic, and fusion. A few people are seated with Bibles open on their laps. One woman is writing requests collected off their Web site on a dry erase board. Another is standing amid a grouping of flags in front of a large world map. Her eyes are closed and her mouth is moving.
Well past midnight: the place is rocking with drums and guitars. Before a heavy velvet curtain, the leader speaks and sings, and worshipers respond antiphonally. They sing the prayers of the prophets and apostles recorded in Scripture. An older woman steps to the microphone and reads a passage from Isaiah.
Outside this tan modular building the sign reads International House of Prayer. Most people don't know it's here—by its proprietor's account, even those who live in surrounding Kansas City.
But word of the 24-hour prayer center is spreading.
Harp and bowl prayer
Call it IHOP. Everybody does, and the restaurant chain hasn't objected yet.
Mike Bickle is its driving force. "Most calls to prayer are threats that you'll never experience the power of God if you don't come, rather than invitations to enjoy the river of pleasure." The comment is typical Bickle. "We want to see revival in the cities, and we want to have as much fun as possible doin' it.
"Who wants to ...