7.31.2004

IHOP

I'm at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) visiting my sister. It's been an interesting time so far. We've been here since yesterday evening just checking out what this place is all about. Things here are pretty much in flux most of the time I think. It's impressive for sure.

One of the coolest things that I've seen so far is the fact that there is constant prayer (24/7/365) going on. Along with that are musical worship sessions going on. We haven't really been a part of this yet, but it's been impressive none the less. I'm in one of the sessions right now actually. There's a guy up front speaking about heaven and the majesty of it all. It is pretty cool.

Earlier we were here when they did a changeover from one session to the next. That was cool too. I was impressed that they didn't really stop or even change gears - I could tell that they have done this a few times. The worship leader from the ending session stopped while some of the supporting musicians continued to worship. Then the incoming leader got himself setup and organized and everything just started to transform from one group to the next. The new leader began to sing as the transformation continued. First one guitarist came in and exchanged places, then a backup singer or two. Over the course of the next several minutes the entire group changed over. All without any major breaks in the music or distractions of any kind really. It really was quite impressive.

In this way things have gone on for five years now. Continuous prayer and worship among this ever changing group. As I've looked around at who is here there is an obvious diversity weighted toward young people. I would say 80% of the people I've seen are under 30 years old. Of that group over half look to be late teens or early twenties. This is a young, fiery group of Christians! My sister is one of them and I can see why she likes it here.

I'm proud of who she is and what she's a part of here. It reminds me of things that I've been involved in from the past. Teen Mania Missions out of Texas has some very similar energy when you're first exposed to it. My wife & I spent a couple of weeks with that organization in 1998. The sense of high energy, youth, and constant activity was just as evident there. In coming to IHOP I definitely get the feeling that something is happening here, and it's something good. I cannot say I know yet what's going on, but I can say whatever it is, I think it's good.

Another organization that I've been a part of was Bluer in 2001 - 2002. It was a young adult church ministry in the Twin Cities area that I found to be very helpful in my personal walk with Christ. They were on the cutting edge of ministry in the area - and sometimes even over the edge! It was a wonderful time of freedom and development for my wife and I. IHOP has some very similar traits that are very apparent. The freedom that is here is obvious. There is very little exposed structure in the way that they do ministry. The lifestyles and beliefs appear to me a melting pot of so many variations of ministry that go on in other places. I walk through the bookstore and saw books from all sorts of ministries. It was unique for me as most "church bookstores" that I've been in only carry titles from certain veins of ministry. It was another example of the freedom and lack of religious imposed boundaries that goes on here.

As I think about my sister and what she is doing I have lots of questions, lots of concerns, and I'm sure I could come up with lots of advice. But mostly I am proud of whom she's becoming and I trust that God is able to lead her to the place that she needs to be. I pray that she will be honest with herself and others about who she is and who she believes God wants her to become. There are pitfalls everywhere that she could fall into, here and "home". It's only by taking the hand of Jesus and allowing Him to lead her that she will become the woman He created her to be. I love ya sis!