By Abby Geverdt
I grew up at IHOP. And I know what you’re thinking: Best childhood ever! What kid doesn’t want to grow up in a pancake house? Well, as much as I wish that were the case, I’m not talking about the International House of Pancakes. I’m talking about the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Mo. Prayer, not pancakes (though both have divine qualities — let’s be honest).
In short, IHOPKC, as it’s been so conveniently condensed, is a missions base with a 24/7 prayer room at the heart of its organization. They literally pray and worship God without stopping, and they have been doing so for 14 years. Seems like a wildly foreign idea, but it was the epitome of normal for my 10 year-old self.
Looking back, I was a snob about it. I literally did not think one would want be a Christian without being at the house of prayer. I never said anything out loud, but this was an actual thought in my head: “What do you mean your church doesn’t have perpetual worship?”
Thankfully, I’ve matured and understand that this is flawed thinking and I don’t ever condone it.
But it’s what I believed at 10 years old. Praying and worshipping God 24/7 was the expression of Christianity made most visible to me, and everything else seemed shallow and insincere.
Ten years later, I’m very aware that the idea of a 24/7 prayer room is a novelty to most human beings. Trying to explain it to my friends in high school was both hilarious and intimidating, because I had to differentiate between living in a pancake house and living in a community where we worshiped God without stopping. For the record, I got the same reaction both ways.
It’s a foreign idea, and hardly a modern concept. The most recent example of anything like IHOPKC is the 18th century revival in a community called Herrnhut in Moravia, where they had continuous prayer for 100 years.
When you think of giving your life to Christ, do you envision yourself sitting in a room and praying 24/7? Do you picture that as your occupation? No. You don’t. That seems kind of severe at first. And there are plenty of people out there who think it’s lunacy and a waste of time. A cult. Let me count the blogs.
The fact is, 24/7 prayer and worship are not lunacy. It’s not a waste of time. It is certainly not a cult (really not a cult). It’s an earthly expression of what’s going on in heaven. The picture is from Revelation 4, in which we see four living creatures and twenty-four elders singing His praise day and night, night and day. In I Chronicles 23:5 and 25:7 we learn about 288 singers and 4,000 musicians instructed by King David to praise the Lord as their full-time occupation.
It is these Biblical image that inspires IHOPKC. They pray and worship God every hour of every day of every week because He’s worthy of that. That’s not lunacy and that’s not a waste of time. It’s what He deserves.
If you’re interested, check out ihopkc.org and click on the live web stream. You can watch their prayer room in real time and be a part of that unending worship.