Sorry for being a day late with this post. My plan for Monday is to talk about a theology of “ugliness” and “blandness” that seems to be the preferred mode of a few for IHOP-KC of late. You can see a preview of this discussion here:
If you’re interested in my fairly lengthy and detailed rebuttal of the pre-trib rapture argument posted on our Onething forums, you can read that here:
Onto the subject at hand - Friday night, December 29th, 2006. It’s a date that I feel will be reflected upon as one of the most significant in our (IHOP-KC) history in the days to come. It is actually, in my opinion, the culmination of a series of events that constitute what could be called a new “season” for IHOP-KC that began to shift on Sept. 7th, 2006 with the 7-year anniversary celebration. I hesitate greatly to use the term “new season” because many are claiming and establishing new “seasons” with staggering frequency. I hardly ever get to enjoy the old season anymore, as we are often onto the next one in the minds of some prognosticators. It seems clear to me, however, that the 7-year celebration was something that Malcolm Gladwell might call a “tipping point” in our growth and development as a ministry. It began a chain of events with television and growth that led to the “turning point” event at the Friday evening session of the recent Onething Conference.
The year 2002 (through the early months of 2003) constitutes what I would consider another significant “season change” for IHOP-KC. It was at the beginning of that year that the Lord birthed what we call the Global Bridegroom Fast. We were still in the “trailer” and many of the original staff that helped start the prayer room were laboring through an interesting third year of night and day prayer. We were beginning, however, to grow a bit and move into uncomfortable transition for some. Jobs and positions were changing, new ones were being created. September and October brought us into 50 days of extravagant devotion, culminating with the 12 nights of the prophetic history. The year ended with the Onething Conference and the Call event, in which 18,000 young adults took part in a one-day solemn assembly led by Mike and Lou Engle. 3,000 young adults had attended the first Onething Conference the year before. Much change was clearly in the works - the culmination, of course, being the transition to the new prayer room in the early months of 2003. Moving from that little trailer to the current “large” (and now too small) prayer room was a shock to the system for the IHOP family. Everyone felt it.
Fast forward nearly four years - December 29th, 2006. On Friday afternoon I happen to check the news during a small window of free time from my conference responsibilities - Saddam Hussein was to be executed that evening.
(For a chilling recounting via some solid reporting of the hours, and events, leading up to Saddam’s execution, go here:
I shot a quick email to Mike, Allen, Stuart, and a few others as an FYI. Then I jumped in to lead the 5 PM intercessory prayer meeting, which was probably one of the liveliest, action packed two-hour prayer meetings I’ve ever been a part of. I did not have a moment to think about the evening or the email.
At about 6:50, as we were transitioning off the platform for the next team, Misty grabbed me. She was a bit worked up, which was unusual in itself. “Mike’s been looking all over for you!” She said quickly. She quickly filled me in on what was going on - Mike wanted to turn tonight’s worship time into an intercession time for Saddam and the Middle East, involving the God-TV viewing audience, led by myself and six other intercessors he wanted me to find. He wanted to begin almost immediately after the worship time began. The worship time began in less than 10 minutes.
Misty, Brent, and myself hurriedly rushed to the side of the stage as we all worked together to gather the different intercessors. Allen was out - he was preaching that evening. We found Corey and Stuart. Wes was sitting in the third row. Shelly was at her little spot. Before we could even think about what was happening, as worship was well underway, Misty got the signal from the platform. It was time. We were up. Someone shouted over the music to me - “Line us up!” No one wanted to go first, so I volunteered myself.
Since I constantly find myself in the most interesting of situations, before I knew it I was standing up front, waiting for Mike to finish his prayer so that I could take my turn. I was surprisingly calm. I rehearsed a little bit of what I wanted to pray in my head: that the Prince of Peace would be the true King of the Middle East. That mercy would triumph in Baghdad. I wanted to rebuke opportunistic demons and ask the Lord to hold back the works of darkness. I wanted God to quiet the storm of men’s hearts and souls, that the Holy Spirit would establish the peace of God. I wanted God to establish the believers in Baghdad in peace, confidence, and power through His Spirit.
In a minute, it was over for me. I went back down the stairs and reflected for a moment on what had just happened - on what I had done and what we, together, were doing.
Rory and Wendy Alec, the founders of God-TV, have a vision. Their desire is to establish a context for the prayer room to be a vehicle to interpret judgment and revival for the nations in the days to come. It occurred to me that in that very moment, in that little arena with 15,000 people; and in front of millions via God-TV around the world, that we had begun to step into that role just a little bit. We had, in a moment, shifted the hearts and minds of thousands of young adults who were part of the group that applauded the execution of Saddam at the beginning of the meeting when we announced it. Now they were huddled in small groups, praying for his salvation.
I sat for a moment in awe of the Lord. “Why us?” I asked quietly in prayer. “We’re so simple, so simple…” I whispered to myself. The answer came suddenly: “The wisdom of leading a thousand prayer meetings…” The Lord spoke to me in that moment.
I began to weep. And weep. And weep - for quite some time.
The sentence concluded: “…so that you are not crushed by the magnitude of the moment.”
It was stunning to me, the dignity of our calling as intercessory missionaries. The routine, the mundane, the repetitive and stubborn manner in which we show up to the prayer room, day after day after day, grab a microphone, and ask Him again to change the earth. It struck me that, in the brilliance of His leadership, seven intercessors walked onto a platform in front of millions of people and actually prayed to a Man. They didn’t preach, they didn’t teach, they didn’t get lost in the moment or themselves. They just closed their eyes and talked to a Man. And they weren’t crushed by the magnitude of the moment. Simultaneously, hearts were shifted. I believe the heavens were shifted as well - just a little.
As we stepped in that evening in just a little bit to a little piece of our calling and mandate as the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, we did something momentous, something significant, in the plain, simple, mundane act of doing what we do in weakness and brokenness every day.
And I am not sure if, after those moments, anything will ever be the same here again. We have come to a turning point as a people as a ministry. A true “new season” is upon us. It will surely be messy, and truly be painful at times. But it will also be glorious for those who signed up for the honor and the privilege of watching the true Leader of the prayer movement orchestrate His great plan to usher in the end of the age, and the final moments of history that culminate with His return.
I can’t wait to see what’s next.
January 6th, 2007