Question: What is the International House of Prayer (IHOP)?

Answer: The International House of Prayer- (IHOP) is a para-church ministry located in south Kansas City, Missouri. IHOP was founded by Mike Bickle in 1999. Its primary purpose seems to be international prayer of intercession. Since 1999, the International House of Prayer has experienced explosive growth, with the group acquiring significant amounts of property in Grandview, Missouri, and opening up satellite branches in other cities. The rapid expansion, the unusual practices, the fierce loyalty of many IHOP members, and the relative newness of the ministry have led many to question whether the International House of Prayer is a biblically-solid ministry or a cult.

At the International House of Prayer, there is active prayer taking place, literally 24/7, without interruption, and this has been the case for many years. 24/7 prayer is a good thing. There is no such thing as “praying too much,” so, in this area, IHOP is to be commended. The problem arises, however, in the type of prayer that is taking place. The International House of Prayer has adopted many of the practices of the contemplative prayer movement, with much more focus on mystcism and contemplative spirituality than on worshipping the Lord in prayer and interceding for others through prayer. Some elements of the IHOP employ prayer in a Word-Faith manner, claiming things from God rather than submitting to God’s will in humility.  So, while 24/7 prayer is commendable, if the prayers being uttered are not biblical, there is no true value in them.

Another concern with the International House of Prayer is its connection with the prophetic movement in general, and the Kansas City Prophets specifically. Instead of a biblical understanding of prophecy, that is, declaring the truth that God has revealed, IHOP essentially views prophets as Christian psychics, with prophetic hotlines, prophetic readings, and an emphasis on personal prophecy. Many have been led astray by those claiming to be apostles and prophets with a “word from the Lord.” There have been many reports of spiritual abuse and prophetic manipulation within the International House of Prayer movement.

This misunderstanding of the gift of prophecy leads to another area of concern. The International House of Prayer has an extreme over-emphasis on the miraculous gifts of the Spirit. Much has already been written on the cessation of the miraculous gifts, but IHOP’s use of these gifts goes far beyond what most Charismatics and Pentecostals will accept. At IHOP, the miraculous gifts of the Spirit are expected to be commonplace. Miraculous healings, visions, dreams, prophecies, tongues, words of knowledge, signs, wonders, etc., are claimed to be constant within the ministries of IHOP. Whether full cessationism is accepted or not, IHOP’s claims regarding the gifts of the Spirit do not at all agree with what the Bible presents. In the New Testament, the miraculous gifts of the Spirit authenticated the teachings of the apostles (2 Corinthians 12:12). If miracles are normal, they cannot have an authenticating quality to them. IHOP’s claims regarding miracles do not agree with what the Bible teaches about miracles, signs, and wonders. We would all be wise to remember Jesus’ warning in Matthew 24:24, “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.”

With all of that said, clearly IHOP should not be considered a biblically-sound ministry/organization. The above concerns are only the “tip of the iceberg” in comparison to some of the things that have been lreported by former IHOP members.

Should the International House of Prayer movement be considered a cult? That is more difficult to answer. Generally speaking, a cult is a group that has false teaching on one or more of the core truths of the Christian faith, such as the deity of Christ or salvation by faith alone. On these core truths, IHOP appears to be solid and biblical. However, other common identifying factors of a cult are present at IHOP, such as it being controlled primarily be one individual, fierce loyalty to the organization, communal living, and a feeling of superiority over the uninitiated. That last point is undeniable as so many IHOP inductees have written into this (and other) blogs with a blatently elitest attitude — many times referring to other believers in Christ as “dead”, “without faith”, “religious” simply because they “only attend some dead, protestant church”. So, while the International House of Prayer should probably not be considered a cult by definition, there are enough serious concerns about its beliefs and practices that should prevent Christians from getting involved in its ministries as, more likely than not, IHOP is most certainly a cult.

Many thanks to “Got Questions?” Ministry for this article.


5 thoughts on “Question: What is the International House of Prayer (IHOP)?”

  1. I have been to the International House of Prayer many times. I was walking in complete and utter deception.

    About a year and half ago, a friend invited me to a church. A man named Gene Bacon showed video clips from Todd Bentley and Rick Joyner revivals. People were acting like animals and shaking violently to a very eerie drum beat. I was very disturbed by these videos.

    Over the next several weeks I researched and researched this bizarre phenomenon. I connected the dots back to the Toronto blessing. I read testimonies about people leaving Toronto and falling into homosexuality and whoredom. I watched videos of people shaking, acting like animals, people were crawling on all fours with collars around their neck. These people were being drug by chains like dogs. I was freaked out.

    A few short weeks later, I was sitting in my church. The pastor was falling over. He could barely speak, and was slurring his words horribly. A couple of ladies came to the front of the church and spoke about gold dust falling all over them at breakfast that morning. Another lady came to the front of the church and asked everyone to join hands and repent for blocking the supernatural. She did not say “the Holy Spirit” she said “the supernatural” She proceeded to ask for gold dust. I started to feel sick and I knew all of the sudden that what was going on was not God. I went home and cried and cried for days over the horrifying knowledge I had gained.

    Anyway, I linked the gold dust to Bethel California. My church had been studying Bill Johnston’s curriculum from his School of Supernatural Ministries. Bill Johnston was directly connected to Toronto. Also, Mike Bickle is very much connected to this counterfeit movement. I will never go to IHOP again!!!! If you haven’t been there, people walk around in a trance like state to repetitious music.

    When I discovered what I know now, I felt so alone. I was rejected by pretty much every supposed Christian I knew. I found a great book called “The Kundalini Warning” by Andrew Strom, which helped shed some light on what is going on in the counterfeit church. It was nice to know that their are people out there who recognize what is going on.

    2 Timothy 3:13 states,
    “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”

    Be very careful!!!! God does indeed move. But Christians must recognize what is God and what is not.

  2. ► 28:24► 28:24
    Apr 5, 2013 – Uploaded by avrilabril
    You Must Watch this ….DO NOT BE DECEIVED BY SATAN!!!! For … … Do not be Deceived ! Kundalini Warning Documentary by Andrew Strom.

    (I hope that link pops up correctly. If not, Google Andrew Strom – you’ll find it pretty easily.)

    I’m being careful not to ‘sell’ Andrew Strom here, since I’m not totally familiar with all of his teachings, but he is very correct on the satanic involvement in Kundalini. And yet “believers” are swallowing it as the next best godly thing to come along.

    I’m grateful to God for the discernment He gave you. I hope and pray that other, CURRENT IHOP interns will not just “read and dispute”, but will read and ask God to give them His wisdom on what it is they disagree with according to what they’ve been taught under Mike, Allen and/or others at IHOP.

  3. You are doing a great thing by telling people the truth. One of the most painful aspects of my experience was the rejection I faced by almost everyone I knew, since almost everyone I knew is caught up in this. I was called names. My pastor warned people to avoid me and called me unspiritual in his sermons (Which I watched online). This was devastating to me, but soon I noticed that the people who speak out online are being ridiculed and accused of being bitter and things of that nature.

    I thought that most of my friends would accept the truth once I made them aware of the lie. After all, someone showing me the truth is all it took for me to turn to the Lord and ask for truth and forgiveness. I should not have been surprised by the rejection I faced. Deception after all means, “To cause to believe what is not true.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 states, “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Think about that: People who accept these false signs and wonders, love not the truth. The Lord will allow them to live under a strong delusion, which will bring damnation. This is very serious!

    If you read Annuk’s blog site. Please, seek the Lord on this. Ask Him to show you the truth. Tell Him that you do not want to live in deception. I did that daily for a very long time and I still do it regularly. The Holy Spirit has revealed deception after deception to me. He will do it for you. And read His Word; if you do not know Him you will not recognize His works or counterfeit works.

    I pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal truth to every person that reads this blog!

    Thank you Annuk for making this blog in order to get the truth out.

  4. Dawn,
    Thank you for the encouragement. There’ve been many times that I have even given thought to closing this blog down. The main reason being that I would think, “Well am I? Am I bringing division within the body of Christ?”
    (I would ask myself that particular question, because THAT was what I was always being told by the people that were huge defenders of IHOP.)

    I recommend you find the place on this blog entitled “I lived with Mike Bickle for 12 years”. That is he place on here that really gets hit with the IHOP devotees. Unbelievable. You might want to share on there what God has opened your eyes to, and how He delivered you.

    Again I really do thank you. I kinda think that just mighta been God’s timing and voice speaking straight thru you 😉

  5. Thank you for the kind words.

    Do not worry that people are telling you that you are bringing division to the body of Christ. You are doing exactly what Jesus did when he corrected the Pharisees. Jesus also knocked over temple tables when his Father’s house was being misused. Jesus offended members of the counterfeit church and you will offend members of the counterfeit church. Jesus was angered over false doctrine and disrespect of His Father’s house. These are the very same things you are confronting.

    In 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 Paul tells us that it is not our business what the world does, but we should not fellowship with Christians, who practice wickedness. This Scripture comes to mind often because we are to be concerned about false doctrine and evil in the Church, Too many Christians spend their time judging the world, but never confront false doctrine, New Age practices, and other evils in the church. This is a serious problem!!!

    You do not know how many people read your blog and seek truth. Satan would love to shut you up.

    I will check out the blog you suggested.

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