What I’m Reading: One King

Last week, I started a series called What I’m Praying. This week, I’m starting a series called What I’m Reading to share with you some of the things that have caught my attention in the past few weeks. Also, it will help me actually read more. I was a mad voracious reader growing up, and I’d love to fall back into that rhythm. Plus, I don’t have textbooks anymore, so if I want to continue filling my mind with quality writing, I have to go find it and make time to actually read it.

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Right now, I’m reading One King by Samuel Whitefield. I’m only four chapters in, because I’m trying to really process the material and track with it in my own Bible.

One King addresses questions of God’s promises for the people of Israel, and shows how those promises are directly related to the current and historical controversies over Israel. It explores why Israel has been the centre of such controversy and violence for millenia, and how the Church is to relate to ethnic and national Israel today. Most importantly, it shows how Jesus alone can bring the fulfillment of Israel’s destiny, and He will do this in fullness at His second coming when He rules from Jerusalem as King forever.

As soon as I started seeing this book promoted online, I knew I had to read it. I bought it on my visit to Kansas City last month, but only this past week have I started seriously diving into it. Samuel Whitefield was one of my favourite instructors at IHOPU, and he has a deep understanding, both academically and practically, of issues related to Israel.

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Genesis 12: land, descendents, nations.

Right now, I’m almost finished with Part I of the book, which is titled “The Basis of the Gospel–Abraham’s Promise”. Understanding God’s Genesis 12 covenant with Abraham and its three components is foundational to understanding the big picture of the entire Gospel. These three key promises are thus:

“1) Abraham will have descendents who will become a righteous nation, 2) those descendants will permanantly inherit a land, and 3) the nations will receive blessing and salvation through the process.”
Samuel Whitefield, “One King,” p 12, emphasis mine

These three promises are geniusly interwoven in such a way that they can each be fully fulfilled only when ALL are fully fulfilled, and only Jesus can make that happen. Naturally, Satan reeeeally doesn’t want that to happen. And thus, the stage is set for the greatest drama ever known: the saga of world redemption through the story of a chosen people and their Messiah.

I’m super excited to read the rest of this book, and I’ll be sure to share an update on my thoughts after I have done so.

If you’re interested in studying more about Israel, check out One King on Samuel Whitefield’s website. I also highly suggest Parts I & II of the “Covenenant and Controversy” documentary series, which Samuel Whitefield contributed to. Both films are available to stream for free at covenantandcontrovery.com.

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Happy 2017 from Kansas City!

I’m writing this from Higher Grounds, the coffee shop at IHOPKC. It feels good to visit the place that was home for so long! It’s so much fun to see familiar faces and drive familiar streets… right after I post this I’m going to go spend some time in the prayer room before I go meet up with a few friends today.

On Sunday I recived blessings and prayers from my church, and finished packing my car. That in itself was a miracle. I actually asked on Facebook for prayers for a “bigger on the inside” anointing. I’ve road tripped many times, but this is the first time I’ve actually tried to fit everything I own in one vehicle. It wasn’t easy! As I wrote about a few months ago,  I’ve been working on lessening the amount of stuff I own, and if I hadn’t already done so much minimalising I wouldn’t have been able to see out my car windows at all.

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On Monday, I drove 11 hours to a hotel in Albuquerque, then Tuesday I drove 12 hours to a friend’s apartment next to IHOPKC. I was worried about the roads, but shockingly enough it’s 19 degrees F and not a bit of snow or ice to be found (though I did drive through some flurries in Arizona, ironically). I’ll stay here for 5 days to spend time in the prayer room and celebrate a dear friend’s wedding, then I’ll take a train into Wisconsin to visit another dear friend who recently got married, then I’ll take the train back to KC and drive down to Dallas on January 18. Whew! It’s a lot of travel, but it’s a huge blessing that I’m able to take this time to get refocussed and reenvisioned for the ministry I’m going into, and to spend so much time with good friends with whom I used to do life so closely.

Leaving California and my family definitely provokes a lot of mixed emotions, but mostly I’m just so grateful for the time I’ve been able to spend with the people I love.

I’ve been able to live at home with my family for eight months and spend major family holidays such as Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with them, plus four family birthdays.

I’ve been able to celebrate four weddings of dear friends this year.

I’ve gotten involved with my new California home church, Church Two42 (including prayer group, Bible study, and the occasional worship team) and have been SO supported and blessed by them as I leave for my Texas adventure. It means the world to me to have a small church love me personally and send me off. I’ll always have a California church home who has my back.

I’ve had the opportunity to teach at a women’s retreat weekend, two Thursday night youth services with Church Two42, and one Sunday morning service at The Refuge Community. (Get the recording of my teaching on my resource page or direct link here!)

I’ve had dozens of coffee meetings with friends sharing about God’s calling into the ministry of 24/7 prayer and worship.

God is indeed good.

I’ll share more as I continue to travel and get settled in Texas, but for now, the 10am intercession set is starting right next door in the prayer room and there’s a grey chair with my name on it.

7 Simple Things I Learned At IHOPKC

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Every time I come home from studying at IHOPU in Kansas City, and especially now that I’ve graduated, I am frequently asked about what I’ve learned. I’ve started realising that the question sort of makes me feel a little awkward because I’m not really sure how to answer. On the one hand, my whole life has changed and I know I understand things now that I didn’t before, but on the other hand, they’re really not deep, massive, mystically profound things. Most of them are the same old simple things we’ve always known.

It’s like when you grow up hearing “Jesus loves me” and then one day you find yourself on the floor weeping caught up in the realisation that “JESUS! LOVES!! ME!!!”

I didn’t learn a new gospel. Maybe I just saw the gospel a little bit more clearly.

So here are 7 simple things I learned at IHOPKC:

1. Jesus really likes me.

Not only does Jesus love me because “God is love” and He loves everyone, but He actually enjoys me and my personality. He loves that I’m a sci-fi geek. He loves the way I dance, differently than He loves anyone else’s dance. He enjoys my sense of humour. He gets a kick out of the way I talk to Him! He thinks about me all the time. He enjoys suprising me, making me smile, and providing for me. He wants me to be with Him all the time, and He wants to share the things that are on His heart with me. There are things that He urgently cares about, and He wants me to feel the same way He does, because that’s what friends do.

2. I don’t have to be awesome for God to like me or use me.

(This is kind of an extension of #1, but it’s huge so it gets its own point.) All of the above is still true when I screw up. I may get distracted or stuborn and wander off the path pretty frequently, but I still want to follow Him and I still let Him lead me back every time. That counts. He knows my heart better than I do. To quote Mike Bickle, there’s a difference between weakness and rebellion, and weak love is still real love.

3. The Bible is good stuff.

I mean, duh, but my enjoyment of the Bible grew like crazy when I was eating it up, searching it out, praying it, and singing it in the context of prayer and worship where my only priority was to love Jesus. I fell in love with stories I’d known since kindergarten and passages I could never make sense of in high school. The Bible is fun and super interesting when you read it with the Holy Spirit.

4. Jesus is worthy of everything.

“Worthy” just means “deserving.” Jesus deserves the full love and worship of every person, and He deserves to rule the earth forever. Everything that exists is meant to be in submission to Him– not only because He’s Creator GOD, but He actually deserves it because He is the most kind, humble, just, and wise person to ever exist. He proved it on the cross. We can confidently invite Him to rule this earth and our hearts because we trust that He can do a really, really good job.

5. Worship and intercession are a big deal and they go really well together.

Worship is super important because it’s the 24/7 activity of heaven and God fully deserves it (see #4). Intercession is super important because that’s step 1 in how we partner with God to make the things that He wants to happen happen. Combined, worship and prayer support each other and help our hearts stay connected to what we’re doing– and this effect, like, quintuples when we put the Word smack dab in the middle of everything we pray and sing. Hence, the 24/7 prayer (and worship) room.

6. God really loves Israel, like, a lot.

I’m not even sure what my theology of Israel was before IHOPU. I understood some things and had other things a little mixed up, but I had certainly never wept over Jesus’ heart for His people before. Praying through passages like Zechariah 2 peirced me. Jesus REALLY, REALLY loves and is COMMITTED to the people He originally chose as His bride. He’s really, really faithful–all His promises are yes and amen–and He will fulfill every word He ever spoke.

7. Jesus is coming soon and we are part of the story.

He promised He would come, and by all indications this era of history is nearing a climax. There will be a pretty dramatic series of events leading up to Jesus standing on the earth again, and we’re not supposed to be on the sidelines or swept out of the way. Jesus wants us awake, informed, and involved in what He’s doing. That starts now, because Jesus is looking for a global Church that is fully mature and alligned with Him when He comes. A major way we grow into that is by giving ourselves wholeheartedly to prayer and worship (see #5). Another major way is through evangelism and missions. Jesus said that the gospel will be preached to all nations before the end. There are actually a number of passages that talk about 24/7 prayer and worship arising from all over the earth in the final generation of history… so worship, prayer, and missions together are HUGE elements in the story of Jesus’ return.

 

I would have agreed with these points even before IHOPU, but while I was there, spending hours nearly every day in the prayer room, they were driven much more deeply into my heart. Of course they’re profound truths, and I am so grateful that I now have conviction, passion, and personal heart experience with each of them, but they’re so simple!

I admit, in my first few months I walked around with my head spinning thinking “WHOA, I HAD NO IDEA! THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE HAVE BEEN REVEALED TO ME!”, and yeah, I was studying areas of the Bible I hadn’t before and hearing a wider range of theories on a few details, but by my senior year I realised that none of what I was learning was dramatically new revelation. Mike Bickle isn’t a prophet or a theological pioneer, and IHOPKC reads the same Bible as everyone else. (We just sometimes preach it a little more dramatically!) Besides, at the end of the day, the more intriguing and debatable theories aren’t what I cherish. It’s simple truths like these.

I found that as I gave my time and attention to prayer and worship, simple truths came alive to me. Jesus loves me, He wants me to talk to Him, and He wants me to be part of His story.

IHOPU Graduation: Looking Back on Four Years

(Keep scrolling and then keep scrolling some more, because I’ve got a lot of pictures for you today!)

I’ve finally graduated from college for the second time… but this time feels far more significant than when I got my bachelor’s from APU in 2010. At IHOPU, I have received invaluable teaching and discipleship in an environment saturated with prayer, worship, and the Word. I’ve caught a vision for what God is doing in raising up a global prayer and worship movement in our generation. I’ve gained a family passionately devoted to the fame of Jesus being spread throughout the earth. I’ve been equipped to teach, lead, prophesy, pray, sing, and serve. Most importantly, I’ve encountered a God who is stunningly incredible in every way, who is 100% committed to me and really likes me, and who actually does stuff when I talk to Him.

Last weekend, I walked across a stage with 82 other four-year graduates. My parents flew out from California to see me, and a few local friends came to the ceremony as well.

Graduating from IHOPU feels bittersweet. I did what I set out to do and I know that my season here is done, and I really feel like I got good fellowship and closure in the final days, but I will miss this place and these people greatly.

Receiving my diploma from Allen Hood, president of IHOPU

Receiving my diploma from Allen Hood, president of IHOPU

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My parents flew all the way from California to see me!

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Abigail, my roommate and dear friend

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After four years, I finally got to meet and chat with Mike Bickle.

In my small group during my last week, my leaders asked us each to summarise what God was teaching us during that past season. As I think back over the four years I’ve been in IHOPU, I can identify separate banners over each year.

Freshman year: VISION. During my freshman year, I started as an intern in the One Thing Internship. Not only did I grow in prayer and intimacy with Jesus, but the entire rhythm and focus of my life shifted. I blogged about this vision that was growing within me several times (HERE and HERE, for starters), and concluded that season with a conviction that God really is raising up a global movement of 24/7 prayer and worship in our generation, because the darkness is getting darker but the return of Jesus is right around the corner, and He WILL have a bride made ready.

Internship graduation

Internship graduation, freshman year

Sophomore year: GRACE. Now that I had a brand new idea of what my life was supposed to look like, I struggled to live up to it. I really wanted to pursue Jesus with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength with undistracted focus, but I was constantly in cycles of condemnation feeling like I was failing. I still don’t know if I’ve found a good balance, but I have a lot more peace now than I did then. I had to keep relearning grace every week.

Small group, sophomore year

Small group, sophomore year

Junior year: HEALING. After experiencing a heartbreak the week before school started, I had to walk through a LOT of healing that year. (Find my blogs reflecting on that season HERE and HERE.) It was a time of shattered emotions and many, many tears, but I encountered the tender heart of the Father who lets me just cry in His lap when I can’t even muster the energy to pray. I learned to love Him more as I fought to trust Him every day. It hurt like hell, but there was such a tender nearness during that time–and there did finally come a progressive breakthrough into freedom and joy. I am wiser, stronger, and more open-hearted because of the events of that year, I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything.

JPR worship team, junior year

JPR worship team, junior year

Senior year: LEADERSHIP. In between my Dallas externship and College Station ministry trip (read about those HERE and HERE), I feel like this year has been about taking ownership of what I’ve learned and stepping up to do something with it. God has grown a lot of confidence in me this year, and I’ve come to realise that even though I have so much more to discover and grow in, I actually have internalised a lot and I have something to offer in ministry. I really can preach and pray and prophesy and lead worship. I really can rally, envision, and organise a team. God called me into this thing, and He’s already given me enough tools to take a few steps and get going.

Dallas externship, senior year

In my final few weeks, I’ve thought a lot about the vision God planted in my during my first year. I really do believe it. I believe that God’s deepest desire is a restoration of perfect intimacy with us, and 24/7 prayer and worship that reflects the reality of heaven is a key part of how we’re going to get there. I believe that in this final era of history, God is raising up a new song of night and day worship and intercession for justice from the Church as His lovesick bride in every corner of the earth, and He will use this global worship movement to usher in the return of Jesus and the restoration of creation. It’s a big vision, but I’m fully bought in.

So what’s next? I’ll be home in California for the rest of the year, preparing to launch into full-time ministry at The Prayer Room DFW in January 2017 (read more about that HERE). I plan to be there indefinitely, which doesn’t necessarily mean forever, but no matter what comes next, I know God is writing my story and more importantly, He’s writing me into His story.

Every time I look back and remember how God has led me, I melt in awe and gratitude. He’s been so, so good to me.

Catch me up in Your story
All my life for Your glory
–“All Is For Your Glory” by Lisa Gotshall

I love you, IHOPU!

I love you, IHOPU!

Download: Guest appearance on the UnCommon Christianity show

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benotcommon.com

Last Tuesday, I was given the opportunity to speak on the UnCommon Christianity internet radio show. This is a weekly two hour program hosted by some old friends of mine, and they’ve discussed all kinds of theological and cultural topics over the years. This week’s topic was spiritual warfare, and I was invited to discuss how prayer and worship relate to spiritual warfare. I’m not normally the go-to person for spiritual warfare, but I certainly have a thing or two to say about prayer!

I spent two hours on the air with them discussing prayer, worship, IHOPKC, the harp and bowl model, and “soaking” worship. We even spent a bit of time discussing some of the most common accusations against IHOPKC. I was really nervous, but Andy, Nathan, and Kim made me feel so at home on the air and I really enjoyed sharing my heart and my experiences with them.

The two-hour broadcast (my favourite part is in the first hour) is available for streaming or download on the show’s website at the link below.

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Click here to listen or download!

YWAM Week of Prayer

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IHOPU students praying in the YWAM Kansas City chapel!

During our monthly Global Bridegroom Fast (GBF) week February 1-5, IHOPU continued a tradition we started last semester: the YWAM week of prayer, in which IHOPU partnered with the local YWAM base to keep a prayer room running with live worship and intercession all day long for five days. All of our JPR (the student-led Justice Prayer Room) activities were moved to YWAM Kansas City, and being in that prayer room counted for our regular prayer room hours. Classes were cancelled for GBF, so I got to spend hours every day at the YWAM base. On Tuesday I ended up being there for 8 hours straight, and Wednesday night I ended up leading a devotional worship set 11pm-midnight with only one other person in the room. It felt like I was back in my little prayer room in Dallas!

This was a really special and refreshing time for me. Especially on Tuesday when I left my phone at home, I was completely locked into the worship and intercession with no distractions. I really, really love smaller prayer rooms, especially when I know almost everyone in the room. During the times I was there, most of the people in the room were IHOPU students while the YWAM students had other activities scheduled, and almost all of them were actively engaged nearly the whole time. It felt very much like praying with family. This is why I love our JPR sets, and getting to do this in partnership with YWAM was incredibly precious.

We spent the week praying for YWAM’s mission team being sent to the island of St. Vincent. As part of a 7+ year plan to reevangelise and disciple the nations of the Caribbean, they are aiming at preaching the gospel to 50,000 people (half the island’s population) during the month of February with 21 evangelistic event nights. It was such a privilege to join with YWAM and see yet another beautiful collision of the missions movement and the prayer movement.

This is what Jesus said is supposed to happen. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38) The praying and the sending were never supposed to be separated.

The team going into St. Vincent is called Impact World Tour. Check out their promo video for this tour!

Final Semester of IHOPU Begins

After four years in Kansas City, I’m finally in the home stretch of my journey here. I will be graduating in May from the House of Prayer Leadership program within the Forereunner School of Ministry at IHOPU. I’ve had so many incredible opportunities and experiences here, and I’m so looking forward to finishing strong and making the most of these last few months!

My classes this semester are (first quarter) Apologetics, Desert Spirituality, and (second quarter) Kingdom of God, Communication and Contextualization. While these classes could be taught in a very academic, intellectual way, all of my teachers have been very clear that they intend to teach in a very practical and experiential way. This isn’t about learning all the theories, though that can be helpful; this is about encountering God, being transformed, and then being used by God to transform the world around us. I’ll also be on a student worship team twice a week in our little student prayer room, and I’ll be in a small group as well.

I’ve also moved into a new house with one of my best friends, Abigail, plus an IHOPU freshman girl and another girl who is part of the IHOPKC community. The four of us love our cozy home! The family who owns this house is out of town for six months, so we all get to rent it in their absence.

The most exciting thing I’m doing this semester is co-leading a ministry trip to Houston, Texas! I will be helping lead a team of potentially 70 students to Houston to partner with local churches and houses of prayer to serve them and do outreach with them, and at the end of our ministry week we’ll put on a Onething Regional conference with speakers and worship leaders from IHOPKC. (This will be similar to what I did last year with an IHOPU team in Pasadena.)

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First ministry trip leadership meeting. (Photo: Dave Sliker)

I’m very excited for this trip. This will be the largest leadership role I’ve ever undertaken, so I guarantee I’ll feel overwhelmed at times, but I’ll have a rock-solid team and have the chance to grow in leadership and servanthood as we join God in making Houston look a little bit more like heaven.

The word I feel God giving me for this final semester is “SEEK.” I’ve been really impacted by Lauren Daigle’s song “First,” (lyric video below) which repeats the theme “I want to seek You first…” as Jesus exhorts in Matthew 6:33. I want to spend this time seeking God with all that I am without any distractions.

To that end, I will not be returning to the job I’ve had in Kansas City for the past two years. Rather, I feel God leading me to give myself fully to prayer, training, and ministry during these precious last few months in Kansas City. I do have several people partnering with me financially on a monthly basis, and I’m asking God to raise up a few more! (Hint: There is a Partner with Me tab up above if you want to hear more about how to do that…)

Even as I’m already seeing endings approaching and starting to make plans for after graduation… it’s not over yet! This semester has the potential to be the most epic season yet, and I am so excited for the ride.

11 IHOP Words IHOPers Use In Normal Coversations

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As IHOPers (or those influenced by the IHOPKC language and culture), we tend to have a pretty interesting vernacular. In addition to your standard “Christianese” and “charismatic-speak,” HOP people have a habit of importing familiar biblical and/or preachy words into our everyday conversations, even when the context isn’t spiritual at all. (It’s not even just Kansas City anymore! We’re reaching the world with the message of 24/7 prayer and spreading our weird habits along with it!)

I’m occasionally guilty of most of these… how many are you guilty of?

1. Unto

A bit antiquated, but it’s a really handy little preposition communicating purpose and effect all in two syllables!

Spiritual usage: “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness…” Romans 10:10

IHOPer usage: “I bought some cilantro today unto making some really sweet tacos this weekend.”

2. Fullness

Fullness of time/joy/God/Gentiles… the Bible is all about fullness, and it certainly sounds pretty big and epic.

Spiritual usage: “…that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” Ephesians 3:19

IHOPer usage: “You have to tell us the fullness of the story about your Hebrew tattoo.”

3. Tender

General warm fuzzies, except when Mike Bickle says it.

Spiritual usage: “The most valuable thing I possess is a tender heart before Jesus.” -Mike Bickle

IHOPer usage: “Aw, I always get so tender when I watch Pride & Prejudice.”

4. Forerunner

The quintessential IHOP word. Used once in the Bible (Hebrews 6:20), and 50 times in everything IHOPKC does ever.

Spiritual usage: “End-time forerunners can find inspiration and instruction from New Testament forerunners like John the Baptist.” -Mike Bickle

IHOPer usage: “You were totally the forerunner of watching Doctor Who, and now we all watch it.”

5. Carry your heart

What your attitude or “heart posture” is about something.

Spiritual usage: “I’m convinced if we beheld what David beheld about God, we would live as he lived, and we would carry our hearts before God as he did.” – Mike Bickle

IHOPer usage: “But if the Doctor had carried his heart better about being alone in series four, the whole Waters of Mars fiasco would never have happened.”

6. Antiphonalize

If you’ve taken harp and bowl training, you have no trouble pronouncing this word correctly and using it in casual conversation.

Spiritual usage: “We antiphonalize the prayers by singing responsively just like the angels do in heaven.”

IHOPer usage: “Listen to the cicadas antiphonalize from this tree to that tree!”

7. Provoke

Saying that your friend is a really “provoking” man/woman of God is the highest compliment you can give. And of course, it’s just as likely to be used out of context as well.

Spiritual usage: “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” Hebrews 10:24 KJV

IHOPer usage: “My roommate is so good with coupons; she really provokes me to be better about finding deals!”

8. Let the reader understand.

This was how the gospel writers spelled 😉 in Greek. We love it. (Seriously, search #letthereaderunderstand on Instagram.)

Spiritual usage: “But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” Mark 13:14

IHOPer usage: “Royals game with my really, really good friend David! 😉 #letthereaderunderstand <3″

9. Season

We kind of take “for everything there is a season” literally.

Spiritual usage: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

IHOPer usage: “I’m just in a season right now of only drinking artisan coffee.”

10. Effectual

For when the word “effective” just isn’t mature-sounding enough. (I think we got this from 1 Corinthians 16:9, but it’s not NKJV, so… who’s been reading from an 1850s Bible on the prayer mic?)

Spiritual usage: “God, let a wide and effectual door be opened to preach Your word among the Muslims!”

IHOPer usage: “I’m just trying to find the most effectual way to wear my chambray shirt with every single outfit I own.”

11. Amen, let’s stand.

How Mike Bickle always ends a sermon. This superlative version of the classic “amen” is basically the IHOPKC version of *mic drop*. Frequently associated with delicious food.

Spiritual usage: “And that’s why we need to provoke one another in this season to keep our hearts tender before the Lord unto being effectual forerunners unto the fullness of the end of the age. Amen, let’s stand.” -Mike Bickle*

IHOPer usage: “Guess who scored free Chick-Fil-A today!! #amenletsstand

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*Quote may or may not be canon.

EDIT: This post has been getting so many views it’s ridiculous! Thanks for checking it out and sharing on Facebook and Twitter! I blog pretty regularly about a lot of different things, so be sure to subscribe with your email on the right side of this page. Grace and peace. 🙂

Nationwide Corporate HOP Fast

Recently, IHOPKC called a three-day time of prayer and fasting, to focus corporately on praying for breakthrough in our regions and nation. Many of the larger houses of prayer in the nation have committed to join them, and so for the past three days we’ve all been fasting together for God to move. Many of us are focusing specifically on breakthrough in the prayer movement. The corporate nature of this fast is so powerful (and so much fun!). The Prayer Room‘s leadership team and many of the staff are gathering in the prayer room 9am-5pm Monday,Tuesday, and Wednesday to cry out together. Also. I’ve been seeing many of my friends in Kansas City as well as at houses of prayer across the nation post pictures of their prayer rooms interceding together.

“Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly.” Joel 2:15

This is an unprecedented movement of unity within the prayer movement. Many of the leaders have been texting each other updates and encouragements from our respective prayer rooms. Private prayer is powerful, but there’s something unique about God’s people gathering together in unity to fast and pray.

I felt this fast impact my heart personally as well. On today, the final day, which is normally supposed to be my day off, I decided to come and do a full 18 hour day in the prayer room. The corporate fasting hours were from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 pm., but the prayer room opens at 5:00 a.m. and closes at 11:00 p.m, and today I was there for all 18 hours.

5:00 a.m. intercession for houses of prayer.

5:00 a.m. intercession for houses of prayer.

I arrived at about 5:05 a.m. (I know, boo, I missed the opening prayer!!) and was one of a whopping four people in the room for the morning intercession set (or rather “petition set”, which around here is like a mini intercession set). Shockingly, I had so much joy and grace in waking up at 4:00 a.m., and I loved the sweetness of “awakening the dawn with my song”–not because I had to, but because I chose to. I got to pray on the mic for the houses of prayer across the nation, and looking at the list of locations on the screen, I actually felt connected to many of them. I have friends in several locations and I’ve heard stories about almost all of them. Knowing that they were also praying and fasting with us during these three days made the connection all the sweeter.

Corporate prayer is a beautiful, beautiful thing. This fast has made me so grateful for the community I’m in – at TPR, at “home” in Kansas City, and more broadly in the global prayer movement as a whole. God really knew what He was doing when He told us to gather and do this thing together. There is a rich sweetness and power in lifting our voices and crying out to our Father together.

This 24/7 prayer movement is the dream of His heart. All of these houses of prayer belong to Him. He will build His house, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.

For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.”
Malachi 1:11

“These I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
Isaiah 56:7

Hellooooo, Dallas!

…Or Rather, Arlington!

(… but I’m still gonna sometimes say I’m in Dallas, since Arlington is in the Dallas area. Therefore, “Hellooooo, Stonehenge!” … er, Dallas.)

On Wednesday night, the day before I left, my family, including cousins and significant others, had dinner together and helped me pack my car. They even laid hands on me and prayed for me to send me off with a blessing. My family is so wonderful.

Road trippin'.

Road trippin’.

Bright and early on Thursday morning, I drove off toward Texas. It was an eleven hour drive, and I didn’t want to actually take the time to stop for meals, so I munched on fruit and crackers (and maybe some chocolate) and arrived in El Paso around 8:30 pm. I spent the night with a friend named Lauren who was a leader in my One Thing Internship in 2012, and then a classmate and friend in IHOPU. She did her externship in Dallas last year, and in the next few weeks will be returning to join staff at The Prayer Room! It’s so much fun to get to still be with her after all this time. (And she’s a Whovian, so she’s gonna be my Doctor Who series 9 buddy when it premiers!)

I left El Paso early Friday morning and drove nine hours to Arlington, where I met the couple I’ll be living with: Andrew and Lauren, and their seven month old (as of today!) daughter Madilynn, who is the cutest baby one could ever dream of. I have a bedroom, bathroom, and even a fridge to myself, and the family is super sweet. Brad Stroup, the director of The Prayer Room, came over with his wife and two daughters, so I got to meet three adorable younglings in one day! Brad was crazy excited to see me (when is that man not crazy excited about something?) and the following Instagram picture ensued:

I promise I’m normally a bit more photogenic. But it’s okay, because Brad and I are both SUPEREXCITEDERMAHGERSH!!!!1!

Brad also told me that the house I’m living in is the very one that they bought to first house The Prayer Room when they graduated from prayer meetings in Brad’s living room years ago. They’ve remodeled since then, but I am so honoured to be literally sleeping in the place that was once the house of prayer. I feel like that means Jesus’ eyes are on this building in a very special way. 😉 I think He’s definitely nostalgic about the building just like we as humans are, because I know He remembers those early days with great fondness.

I just ran around town and did some grocery and Target shopping, and tonight I’m having my first official externship thing in the form of a meeting with Lisa, my externship supervisor here on the base, and then I’m going to TPR’s Saturday night Encounter service!

I’m so excited I get to spend four months with these people serving in their prayer room and learning everything I can from them. This is a beautiful, beautiful community like a city set on a hill, and I am expecting God to do great things this semester. For more information, check out my Dallas Externship FAQ page.

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