A School for Prayer and Encounter
by Adam Wittenberg
Training and Events
It’s always wise to obey the Lord, especially when making big life decisions like where to go to school or what job to pursue.
For Tim, who is originally from Texas, those two things came together at the International House of Prayer University (IHOPU).
Tim grew up in church and had a significant encounter during a youth camp that shaped his future.
“The Holy Spirit said I had led my life and built my tower my way, but He was going to tear it down to the foundation and start again, and we were going to do things His way,” says Tim, a senior in IHOPU’s Forerunner Music Academy.
The experience prompted him to attend the Onething Conference in Kansas City, where he heard about IHOPU. The Lord quickly indicated that was where He wanted Tim to attend.
“I knew I had to go,” he says. “Looking back, it was an unaccredited music college out of state, but my heart was turned. I knew I had to come here.”
Four years later, Tim’s seen great fruit from his obedience.
“The Lord had led me to music and missions before IHOPU,” he says. “And now He’s developed that calling in me to serve Him with music, to serve Him in prayer, and also to teach.”
Teaching was something Tim didn’t want to do before, but his time at IHOPU changed him.
He recently returned from a six-week trip to Amsterdam and Jerusalem where he “taught music to students from all over Europe and the world.”
The trip, organized each year by Murray Hiebert, director of the Forerunner Music Academy, gives select students the chance to use their gifts to train up singers and musicians from around the globe.
“It feels like I got to unleash all the things that were put inside me at IHOPU all in one;” Tim says, “to pour out to the students, pray over them, encourage them and prophesy to them, teach them and equip them—it was amazing!”
A worship major, Tim has also participated in school-sponsored mission trips to New York, Texas, and Southern California.
“I have friends from all corners of the States and all parts of the world, because I got to meet them and do ministry with them and share the Christian life,” he says.
The experiences have confirmed his giftings and added confidence about how God’s building the house of prayer on earth.
“It’s faith boosting to see the people in Texas doing the same thing that the people in Amsterdam are doing, and that the people in California are doing,” he says.
In the middle of Tim’s junior year, IHOPU was recognized by Sharefaith Magazine as a top 10 worship training program. The ranking didn’t surprise him.
“It has to do with our leadership,” he says. “We have teachers who have so much passion to engrave worship, theology, and music on your mind, and coaches who want to see you grow as a musician, singer, drummer, or worship leader even more than you do. They are committed to getting you someplace.”
For Tim, that place may include a season serving on a worship team at IHOPKC after graduation, or leading in a house of prayer overseas.
“I want to be leading worship for a house of prayer—and getting to teach it—because I’m passionate about those things,” he says.
Another distinctive of IHOPU is the hours students spend each week in IHOPKC’s 24-hour prayer room, which is staffed by live worship teams. Students often study and do homework assignments while worshipping, allowing God to touch the heart and mind.
“When you have school in the context of the prayer room, you get encountered by the Lord,” Tim says. “He sees you’re making time for Him and the Lord honors that. You’re growing in the knowledge of God and in the conviction of who He is. The faith that comes from that will not perish when hard times come.”
Tim’s excellent experience at IHOPU has prompted him to happily encourage others to come here.
“If you want to come to IHOPU, do it,” he says. “And trust the Lord will make a way because He’s good. I’ve seen it done many times—with myself and with many other students.”
“Do it for a year, and then see what the Lord says,” he adds. “The Lord’s really touched me at IHOPU, and I think it would touch a lot of people if they came.”
Learn more about IHOPU and our spring semester of classes (starts January 2017) »
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.