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International House of Prayer’s founder reveals how the 24/7 ministry hub actually works
On Sept. 19, 1999, a group of 20 people in Kansas City, Mo., began to worship God 24/7 and pray for an outpouring of the Spirit on God’s people to build the church and establish His kingdom in every sphere of society. Today we have about 1,000 staff members who raise their own financial support as “intercessory missionaries.” We were inspired by the financial model used by Campus Crusade and Youth With A Mission, both of which have about 25,000 full-time staff who have raised their own financial support.
All staff members spend at least 25 hours each week in our worship-based prayer room and a minimum of 25 hours per week in ministry outreach, works of justice, administration and service. About 300 of our staff and interns have reordered their lives to serve in the prayer room from midnight until 6 a.m. We call this faithful company the NightWatch. Along with staff, we have 1,000 students and interns in our full-time Bible school, International House of Prayer University (IHOPU), training to serve their local churches in prayer, worship and outreach.
Our week is organized into 84 prayer meetings, each lasting two hours. Every meeting is led by a worship team of 10 to 12 staff members who interact with intercessors in what we call the “harp and bowl model” of prayer (see Rev. 5:8). This refers to combining worship music and intercession in corporate prayer settings.
Evangelist Steve Hill was at heaven’s doorstep after years of fighting incurable melanoma. Those closest to him were making funeral arrangements and securing a burial plot after doctors told them he had three days to live. Yet as Hill faced eternity, the man known worldwide for his fiery preaching at the Brownsville Revival in Pensacola, Fla., made a deathbed deal with God.
“Jesus,” he prayed, “they just told me that I’m going to die, and to die is gain. You and I are madly in love with each other, Jesus. You’ve been my best friend for decades. Now they say it’s over. If it’s over, that’s fine ... but You’re hard-pressed for evangelists, Jesus. There are very few evangelists out there that do what I do, and You know that. If You’ll let me live, I will win another million people to You, Lord.”
The gift of tongues is still very much in evidence today. It is not meant to replace normal Christian responsibilities or minimize the importance of the Bible, but it will enhance all the good things of God already in your life. Here are six great reasons for seeking and using this gift:
1. Personal evidence.The Holy Spirit uses tongues as a miraculous, abiding sign. Miracle languages confirm the inner presence of the Spirit by using the body member most dependent on volitional, human intelligence--the tongue (see Acts 2:4; 10:44-47; 19:6; James 3:8).
2. Praise declaration. Tongues initiates a prophetic gush of inspired worship and causes the heart to soar in adoration and worship unattainable by human means, creating "the fruit of the lips" (see Is. 57:19; Heb. 13:15; John 4:23-24; Phil. 3:3).