Expanding the Tabernacle of David – International House of Prayer

May 01, 2003 03:16 PM EDT

The Kansas City based International House of Prayer movement touches the lives of Christians around the world. With last month’s renovation of a 50,000 sq ft, $2.2 million former shopping center, the 24-hour prayer movement has expanded its tents to include a coffeehouse, a ministry to business and political leaders and a children's outreach ministry.

The movement began with the vision of restoring “the tabernacle of David” through 24-hour intercessory prayer, praise and worship in 1984, under the patronage of Bickle’s church in Kansas City. Then, in 1999, the vision was released to Floyd McClung, a one-time director for the Youth with a Mission international fellowship group. Since then, the prayer movement has grown to an international scale, and has hosted several large annual conferences that attract thousands from across the country, and operates a real estate company, a recording studio and a publishing arm. "Our net worth has gone from $10,000 two years ago to $5 million in donations," Bickle said.

The ministry has 400 full-time staff based in Kansas City who raises their own support. Most of the staff lives in an apartment complex IHOP owns that is located near the shopping center. "We have the potential to have 1,200 people on staff," said Bickle, who also raises his own support. "We have 200 students in Bible school."

IHOP has also newly added six healing rooms for targeted prayer. "This is a brand-new ministry that we're doing with Campus Crusade for Christ," Bickle said. "We'll be able to talk to missionaries and pray for them while they are in the field." During the first week of operation, IHOP prayed for 130 people in the healing rooms.

"We're also starting an international mission center and have a strong feeding ministry. We're being modeled in 100 other cities with a number of leaders who want to do this. A small number are doing this in a limited amount of hours," Bickle added.

One of the cities, Hollywood, has "People coming from a radius of 100 miles around [Los Angeles] to pray," according to the Hollywood House of Prayer director Jeri Penley. "We're a group of up-and-coming writers, singers and producers." The group meets every Friday night at the Monroe Street Christian Church in north Hollywood.

Music City is also being touched by the movement. "We've been going for a year," said Jeffrey Richfield, founder of A City on Its Knees in Joelten, Tenn., which is 15 miles north of Nashville. The group meets at The Ark, located on a 120-acre complex known as Eagles Landing. "It's not 24 hours yet, but every Friday night we have seven hours of worship and prayer."

Additionally, 10 international students are being trained to take home the vision to their nations. "We have internships in eight different languages, and 30 to 50 countries in a prayer chain" Bickle said. "My goal for 2003 is to have 5,000 full-time staff."

By Pauline J.