Looking Back with Gratitude and Forward with Confidence
by Mike Bickle
As we celebrate our 20th anniversary of 24/7 prayer with worship, our entire missions base at IHOPKC is looking back with heartfelt gratitude, even while looking forward with confidence and a renewed spirit of dedication. I am grateful for how the Lord carefully walked us through a multi-year season of refinement, including helping us overcome new obstacles while receiving insight into certain deficiencies and also stirring us to push back against encroaching spiritual dryness. Through it all, we have great anticipation that the Lord is about to bring answers and glorious surprises to us locally, as well as globally for the entire Body of Christ—renewing, energizing, directing, and encountering His people.
Locally, the Lord has emphasized His desire to help us grow in community with a deeper sense of belonging as a spiritual family. We are cooperating with Him as He raises up more strong families together with fathers and mothers who would receive and release the spirit of the Father. The Lord is truly raising up an international family of affection. Furthermore, we are to never lose sight the Spirit is raising up more than a workforce, but a Bride with intimate partnership with Jesus. Thus, we seek to walk in the first commandment in loving Him with all of our heart and strength that we work “with Him” as His Bride instead of merely working “for Him” as servants.
In His sovereignty, the Lord has ordained the prayer movement to be at the point of the arrow that releases His purposes throughout redemptive history. Before Jesus returns, the Spirit will raise up the greatest prayer movement in history that will openly give expression to His desire to be worshiped on earth as He is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). Indications of this include the fact that human history itself began with Adam and Eve enjoying daily prayer in the garden of Eden (Genesis 1–3). Israel began as a nation at a prayer meeting in the wilderness (Exodus 19:6–20). Israel’s first building project was to build a “worship sanctuary” (Exodus 25:2, 8). One of the first things that David did after becoming king over Jerusalem was to establish an extravagant worship ministry that included financing 4,000 musicians and 288 singers as their full-time occupation (1 Chronicles 23:5; 25:7). God even commanded David to call the kings of Israel after him to establish night-and-day worship in their generation (2 Chronicles 29:25). Jesus began His public ministry in a prayer meeting in the wilderness (Matthew 4) and ended it in a prayer meeting in the garden of Gethsemane. The Church began in a prayer meeting in the upper room (Acts 1–2) and will end natural history in context to a global prayer movement. Yes, the conflict at the end of the age will be between two “houses of prayer”—two global worship movements. We are confident that the glorious worship and prayer movement that exalts Jesus will totally prevail over the Antichrist’s dark worship movement (Revelation 13:8).
Along with many others around the earth, our longing is to see 24/7 worship and prayer in every tribe and tongue. We have gained significant ground in our pursuit of this divine mandate in coordination with many other sectors of the Body of Christ. We celebrate our partnership with the missions movement and all that God is doing to expand His family and kingdom on the earth. We are very grateful for our partnership with YWAM—to cover this amazing ministry in prayer as they go forth to the nations to proclaim the fame of the name of Jesus.
In the last few months, the Lord has given us fresh understanding and energy: new ideas and new ways to mobilize, equip, and relationally connect with many people across the nations. These are still unfolding, so we look forward to discussing them in more detail in the weeks and months to come. The year 2020 is truly shaping up to be one of rare clarity and renewed vision. The end-time prayer movement has always been a marathon event, but we recognize that we must also be agile and ready for times that are soon coming, that may require a sprinter’s speed, flexibility, and action. With 36 years of rich and powerful prophetic history related to what He is doing in Kansas City, God is showing us afresh how far-reaching His plans are—far beyond our place in the city. From Kansas City to wherever you find yourself reading this, we are all a part of the great story of God. More to the point, we must never forget that at the highest level, this gigantic story line is wrapped up in massive global outpouring of the Spirit, the salvation of Israel, and the return of a Jewish man, Jesus, to rule the nations from Jerusalem.
For many years, our prophetic history and story line were exciting to me because I thought that they indicated a fundamentally different kind of Christianity than the boring, simple, mundane church experience I had observed. At age 64, I view these remarkable events quite differently now. Our compelling prophetic history was never so we could be a special place but so we could give a clear, focused, and specific call—the urgent call to walk out biblical Christianity now, become anchored in mature love, persevere and prevail in living faithfully. The little things are big things. God wanted us to be a people of deep consecration, devotion, and love. He surprised us by calling many of us to be “intercessory missionaries.” Though the idea has been maligned and mocked by some, I am certain this calling and lifestyle will be embraced by more and more people as the Lord highlights it more and more throughout the Church worldwide. Under much pressure, choosing to be an intercessory missionary can feel at times like a lesser calling to others because it has too often been accompanied with the lack of finance, stature, and “success” as others define it. Yet the “muscle” that we are working as we engage in corporate prayer, fasting, waiting, contending, support-raising, and pursuing depth and maturity in love is the daily declaration that Jesus is and will be worth the fight and the promises He has asked us to contend for. These things are worth giving our lives to believe for and to birth in prayer. The primary themes in prophetic history include God’s desire to birth a global intercession movement for the salvation of Israel (Romans 11:26), a great harvest in nations (Revelations 7:9), and the maturity of the end-time church as a prepared Bride (Revelation 19:7). These themselves have been overlooked by many, but I assure you the Lord will highlight them in a dramatic way in the days ahead.
The church across metro Kansas City has spiritual roots and an important calling: a global revival center, a prophetic and intercession movement with young people touching the end of the earth, promises that one day “no disease known to man” will stand before the name of Jesus, and a commitment to apostolic power and authority through the preaching of His Word. Yet none of these things stand in isolation from the greater purpose. I believe there is a demonic assignment with intense accusation that stands against any who carry such promises, but God’s grace is sufficient for all who say yes to it.
In closing, by that very same grace, we intend to step more and more into God’s promises over this city, together with perseverance and tender hearts that are anchored and steady in the midst of the counterattack of the enemy to any who pursue revival, healing, and greater power to exalt the name of Jesus and His Word. Ultimately, this glorifies Jesus because it puts His beauty and worth on display for all the nations to behold, amidst great wonder and perplexity. For all of these reasons, believers locally and abroad are to ask and believe for a divine escort of the Holy Spirit into a place of greater love and abandonment to the purposes of God. There remain realms of divine love yet untouched by our hearts, unfathomed by our minds, unmet in our experience. This invitation is a beautiful inheritance intended for every member of our spiritual family as we lay hold of rich promises by His grace; but there is none richer than the Lord Himself. As we press into maturity, with all of our being, let us be found embracing these values. The sacrifice to love Him and throw our lives into His good purposes will be well worth it all!
Mike Bickle is the founder of the International House of Prayer, an evangelical missions organization based on 24/7 prayer with worship. He is also the founder of International House of Prayer University, which includes full-time ministry, music, and media schools.
Mike’s teaching emphasizes growing in passion for Jesus through intimacy with God, doing evangelism and missions work from the place of night-and-day prayer, and the end times. He is the author of several books, including Growing in Prayer, Passion for Jesus, God’s Answer to the Growing Crisis, Growing in the Prophetic, and Prayers to Strengthen Your Inner Man. Mike and his wife, Diane, have two married sons and six grandchildren.