As IHOPKC marks its 20th anniversary this year, we’re taking a moment to walk back through those years and observe what the Lord did and spoke to establish this ministry.

Marking IHOPKC’s Prophetic History

by Adam Wittenberg
5/21/19 20th Anniversary

When God calls us to do something, it’s imperative to listen and obey even if His timing may look unexpectedly different than our expectations.

For Mike Bickle, the director of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City, there was a 16-year journey of listening and obeying before the 24/7 house of prayer was launched in 1999, carrying the vision and values spoken by the Lord. Those early years brought a host of prophetic words, supernatural encounters, and miraculous provisions along the way, as well as plenty of challenges.

As IHOPKC marks its 20th anniversary this year, we’re taking a moment to walk back through those years and observe what the Lord did and spoke to establish this ministry.

A Call Is Given
A Kansas City native and the son of an Olympic boxer, Mike Bickle moved to St. Louis in the late 1970s to pastor a church. Within a few years, through a series of supernatural encounters, he made his way back to Kansas City and launched a fast-growing young adult church in Overland Park, Kansas.

In the fall of 1982, Mike took a trip around the world to observe the plight of the poor. While spending the night in prayer in a hotel room in Cairo, Egypt, the Lord encountered Mike that September. He heard the audible voice of the Lord say, “I will change the understanding and expression of Christianity in one generation.” Mike marveled at the experience, but the Lord had more in store.

The Lord also delivered to Mike four values that have shaped the core of IHOPKC since that time: (1) intercession (night-and-day prayer); (2) holiness of heart (love for God); (3) offerings to the poor (sowing of finances for the sharing of the Gospel); and (4) the prophetic (or prevailing faith in the prophetic).

In May of 1983, after several prophetic experiences, Mike called the church in Kansas City to a 21-day solemn assembly of prayer and fasting in the spirit of Joel 2. During that time he heard God’s audible voice for the second time (it’s only happened to him twice in his lifetime) saying, “24-hour prayer in the spirit of the tabernacle of David.” Mike didn’t know what that meant, but he put a sign with that phrase on the wall of his church building. He also began to build a culture of prayer at his church, holding daily prayer meetings—morning, noon, and night. Mike also began to understand that prayer in the spirit of David’s tabernacle included singers and musicians, as witnessed by the 288 singers and 4,000 Levites David assigned to praise God in His house (1 Chronicles 23:525:7).

Looking back on the word he received in Cairo, Egypt, and the one he received during the 21-day fast, Mike says, “I now believe the two words are related, that God will change the understanding and expression of Christianity in the earth in one generation through 24-hour prayer in the spirit of the tabernacle of David.”

Saying Yes to Prayer
Over the years since IHOPKC started, Mike has met leaders in other nations (such as Russia, Mexico, and Rwanda) who personally heard from the Lord to raise up 24-hour prayer with worship before they had ever known about IHOPKC. The existence of 24/7 prayer ministries in the earth has also grown astronomically, from 25 in the mid-1980s to more than 10,000 today, confirming that this is part of a global move of God.

Back in 1983, the Lord sent Bob Jones to Mike to serve as a prophetic voice in helping shape the movement that would become IHOPKC. Initially, Mike didn’t want to receive him. But the Lord moved supernaturally and confirmed to Mike that Bob was, in fact, sent by God. During their first meeting, Bob asked Mike if he was a singer or musician, if he prayed for Israel, or if he had a connection to Asia. Bob asked the questions because of what he had seen prophetically, but Mike answered no to all three.

Bob also told Mike that his church would move from Overland Park to Grandview, Missouri, to be next to Harry Truman’s land, since Truman was a political intercessor for Israel, helping birth the nation in 1948. This seemed preposterous to Mike at the time, and he tried to disregard Bob’s words. However, two weeks later, through some dramatic circumstances, the Lord confirmed out of Mike’s own mouth that Bob was indeed speaking the truth.

Bob had also seen back then what we today call smartphones; he told Mike during their first meeting that people in the rice paddies in China would be watching the singers and musicians in Grandview on “unplugged television sets and wrist watches.” He also said that there would be an abortion pill and that the homosexual lifestyle would “come out of the closet” and parade in the streets with full governmental support.

Mike and his flock continued faithfully in prayer and held conferences on prayer, the prophetic, and passion for Jesus (putting the first commandment in the first place). During that period of time Mike spent three years traveling with John Wimber, the leader of the Vineyard church movement, ministering at conferences around the world and seeing signs and wonders.

Friends of the Bridegroom
In 1997, while in Assisi, Italy, Mike heard the Lord say that He would raise up “friends of the Bridegroom forerunner messengers” to prepare the Bride for Christ’s return (John 3:29). This became a core part of IHOPKC’s ministry, which was initially known as Friends of the Bridegroom.

After 16 years of stewarding the vision, Mike received Haggai 1:2 from a prophetic person on January 24, 1999. The verse talks about the Lord correcting His people for saying that “the time that the Lord’s house should be built” has not come. Three days later, while Mike was in Colorado Springs, Kingsley Fletcher prophesied the same verse over him.

Emboldened by those words, Mike asked God for a three-fold confirmation. “I asked Him to provide a building without my telling anyone,” Mike says, “to send a senior pastor to replace me (with 100% unity among our leaders), and to tell Noel Alexander (an old friend) in a supernatural way that it was time for me to start the house of prayer.”

The Lord answered swiftly. A strong candidate quickly emerged to take over the church Mike was pastoring, a friend offered Mike some modular trailers for use as a building, and Noel told Mike on February 20, 1999, that “after preaching in Sunderland, England, a man he did not know told him to ‘tell Mike Bickle it was time to start the 24-hour house of prayer,’” Mike explains. “The next day, after preaching in Peterborough (about 200 miles away), another man [that Noel] did not know prophesied that he was to tell Mike Bickle to start the house of prayer.”

Hemmed in by his own words and God’s confirmations, Mike and a small band of intercessors (including singers and musicians) started the International House of Prayer of Kansas City in those trailers on Grandview Road on May 7, 1999. Initially, the prayer room was open 13 hours per day. Interest grew rapidly, and on September 19, 1999, prayer with worship extended to the full 24/7 schedule—which has continued unbroken to this day.

Since then, the ministry has experienced much growth and adversity. It quickly outgrew the trailers and moved to a renovated retail plaza in South Kansas City in 2003. In 2008, through supernatural provision, it acquired 120 acres of Truman’s former farmland in Grandview from a Jewish family, land that will house a future Global Prayer Room. There was also a significant outpouring of the Holy Spirit during what was known as the Student Awakening in 2009 and 2010 where thousands were healed and touched by God.

Today, after a journey spanning more than three decades, there are more prophecies yet to be fulfilled—prophecies about a great harvest of souls (possibly one billion or more), a healing anointing out of Kansas City to stand against any disease, and stadiums across the US being filled with people experiencing prayer and revival. God’s faithfulness to His words spoken decades ago gives us faith that “He who has begun a good work in [us] will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

And so we keep praying—day and night, night and day—until we see the fulfillment of all He has promised. We are grateful for all the Lord has done during the first 20 years of IHOPKC and are excited for what’s ahead. The best is yet to come!

What are some practical things you do to stay on the course of believing God will fulfill His promises?

Adam Wittenberg


    A Detroit native who was raised in Vermont and Connecticut, Adam worked as a newspaper journalist until 2012, when he moved to Kansas City to complete the Intro to IHOPKC internship. Afterwards, he earned a four-year certificate in House of Prayer Leadership from IHOPU and is now on full-time staff in the Marketing department at IHOPKC. He also serves in the NightWatch (overnight prayer hours) and is active in evangelism. He, and his wife Stephany, have a vision to reach people everywhere with the good news of Jesus Christ.

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