RESEARCH ON THE IHOP (International House of Prayer) MOVEMENT

The aim of the article is to discuss issues, and some of the history related to the IHOP movement. The intention of this article is not to tear down down individuals, such as Mike Bickle. From what I have seen and heard of him, he seems like nice passionate Christian man. And he has a lot of great teachings, but some of his teachings and practices are questioned in this article. Much of the information in this article has been obtained directly from official IHOP associated sources, such as websites, videos, and audio files.

Foundation of the Movement:
"In the May 1983 Solemn Assembly (corporate 21 days of fasting), the Lord spoke audibly commissioning us, saying: "I will release 24-hour prayer in the spirit of the Tabernacle of David."

"Mike Bickle was formerly the pastor of the Kansas City Fellowship, which is now known as Metro Christian Fellowship. In that role, during the 1980s and 1990s, he was senior pastor of the group known to detractors and supporters alike as the "Kansas City Prophets." This group included Bob Jones, John Paul Jackson, Paul Cain, and by some accounts Francis Frangipane." (  )

In the 1990's Mike Bickle's ministry "Kansas City Fellowship" (KCF) faced serious criticism initiated by Ernie Gruen, a local Kansas City Pastor. Gruen wrote a report outlining the aberrant practices of the movement. The actual report can be read at:

Due to these criticisms, "Kansas City Fellowship" was taken under the umbrella of "Association of Vineyard Churches" (AVC) The name was changed from "Kansas City Fellowship" to "Metro Vineyard Fellowship" (MVF). John Wimber of Vineyard ministries sought to bring MVF into line, according to:

"Wimber did correct Metro Vineyard Fellowship on these points:
o A lack of accountability for prophecy
o Allowing prophetic men to teach who were not gifted to do so
o The attempt by some prophetic men to establish doctrine on the basis of prophecy
o Dogmatic assertions in the delivery of prophetic words
o Using jargon from groups that the Vineyard was trying to distance itself from
o Manifesting an attitude of superiority through information gain in prophecy"

Wimber did some disciplining of Bickle before 7,000 people at MVF's annual conference in 1991. Bickle repented and outlined 4 immediate adjustments in MVF:

o The 'City Church' teaching - he realized he should have emphasized unity through Relational Lines rather than through governmental structure
o The "New Order" - Mike admitted that this could sound elitist even though that was never in his heart... MVF needed to communicate this differently
o The error of putting Bob Jones in any form of a teaching role
o John Paul Jackson had given some wrong prophesies and support his move to Anaheim for a period of instruction.

George Mallone - writes hopefully about the merger between "Association of Vineyard Churches" (AVC) and MVF... citing several differences:

1 Indicatives vs Imperatives
Indicatives - statements of facts... "Christ died for your sins..." verses Imperatives - commands i.e. "repent...." Vineyard had always put Imperatives 1st and then lead to Indicatives... "Christ has died for you .... so repent." This caused Vineyard to rest in Grace and sometimes tended to be slothful in behavior. KCF on the other hand was serious about Holiness but tended towards legalism.
2 Vineyard was a movement of Pastors and teachers.... vs KCF that was a movement of Prophetic people
3 Historical-grammatical Interpretation of Scripture v.s. an Allegorical Interpretation of Scripture
4 Process v.s. Crisis: Process - "I am finding it" vs Crisis "I have found it!" Renewal vs Revival. Reformed v.s. Armenian Vineyard was all about going out and serving people now and plundering the enemy's camp now. KCF was waiting / praying and preparing for the Big Bang of Revival yet to come.
5 Wholeness vs Holiness"

So from the above, we can conclude Mike Bickle's Ministry was accused of:
-False teachings (Teachings based on prophecies)
-Elitism (Thinking their movement, ministers, etc were better or closer to God than others.)
-Legalism (A zealousness for God gone awry. When religion is a man and works focussed, instead of being God and Grace focussed)
-Interpreting Scripture in a way that can be more easily lead to false teachings (Allegorical Interpretation of Scripture).

From examining current material published and distributed by the IHOP movement, it would seem the above characteristics are still present in the IHOP movement, which was birthed from the Kansas City Prophets (KCP) movement.

Mike Bickle was one of the founding fathers of a group called the KCP that was denounced by many Christian groups for unbiblical practices and teachings. IHOP is considered by many to be a rehashed and repackaged version of the same movement focussed at young people.

Prophets Bob Jones and Paul Cain have been foundational to the movement. Mike Bicke still esteems both men as having been great prophetic voices for the movement, as he speaks of both Paul Cain's and Bob Jones' Prophecies in the Audio series "Encountering Jesus", which is

Both these prophets are considered to be questionable:

Bob Jones:
In 1991 Bob Jones was removed from Ministry by the National Board for the Association of Vineyard Churches in Anaheim, led by John R. Wimber. They issued a letter explaining the incident, which stated:
“The sins for which Bob has been removed from ministry include using his gifts to manipulate people for his personal desires, sexual misconduct, rebelling against pastoral authority, slandering leaders and the promotion of bitterness within the body of christ,”

Paul Cain Was also found to be an alcoholic and a practicing homosexual:

Further detail regarding Ernie Gruen, the pastor who stood up and questioned the movement:

Ernie Gruen Was asked: Do you think that the international house of prayer is spiritually dangerous, if so what concerns you the most?

Please read an excerpt from an e-mail I received this week, with the name withheld:
“Last year I attended an internship at the I.H.O.P. called “Fire in the Night” . . . We had a class called the “Prophetic History” class where in it we listened to audio tapes of Mike Bickle’s experiences in the super-natural realm and prophecies of Bob Jones, Paul Cain . . . After some meetings with the leadership there I decided to leave the program. I was led to the report you had written about the Kansas City Prophets and Mike Bickle exposing them for their lies. After reading this report I was even more disturbed because of its content. I took what I had read back to the leadership at I.H.O.P. and presented it to them asking them if this, “the report you wrote” was true?

They then told me that it was not true and that you had made a public apology to Mike and others for having written it. The leader I spoke to said he was there to witness these things taking place. I wasn’t sure if he was telling the truth so I wanted to ask you a couple of questions personally.”

Gruen: I challenge Mike Bickle and/or I-Hop staff to remove this so-called leader for telling a whopper of a lie!
1 Cor 3:11–For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (NKJV)
Mike Bickle and/or I-Hop staffs have built their entire foundation on two discredited false prophets.

It is true God uses infallible messengers, but there seems to be overwhelming evidence that both Bob Jones and Paul Cain made false prophecies.

Pastor Ernie Gruen documents:
"We all have a problem when Mike seeks to conjure up “divine approval” for his “Movement” with stories of supernatural confirmations that are blatantly false.
For example, Mike regularly retells the story of how the so-called “prophet” Bob Jones predicted (in May, 1983) a 3-month drought which would finally end with a “drought-breaker” on August 23.
In telling this tale, Mike makes such statements as, “We watched it day by day...June, no rain...then on August 23, three to four inches of rain!” This is portrayed as God’s confirmation of their “Movement.” It sounded like a pretty impressive miracle until we checked with the National Weather Bureau and the daily newspaper accounts for that timeframe. We found the following:
a. Actual readings from the former Richards Gebaur Air Force base, which is only a few minutes from Kansas City Fellowship, show over seven inches of rain in June, which is well above normal!
b. The “drought-breaker” on August 23 actually produced less than one-third of an inch.
c. Of the 12 days it rained in June, 6 of them produced records of rains heavier than the “drought—breaker.” One day alone had over seven times the rainfall on August 23 --2.35 inches. (See Section I)
From the beginning this could have never been considered a true prophecy.
More false prophecies by Bob Jones documented in the above document.

Paul Cain:
"Prophet Paul Cain has seen in the Spirit, a last days revival so powerful that hospitals will literally be emptied and people kneeling in public places to receive Christ will become commonplace! This was Cain's prophesy of a great revival for 1994."

Even though some of the false prophets may have been removed from the ministry, the prophetic vision for the movement they helped create does not seem to have been questioned by Mike Bickle. The prophetic input of Bob Jones and Paul Cain are still highly esteemed by Mike Bickle, as is evidenced in his audio message of IHOP History:

It would seem that the IHOP movement is based on highly questionable prophecies, made by highly questionable prophets.

One description of the work:
"The International House of Prayer is a 24-hours a day, citywide, worship and warfare, inter-denominational prayer ministry serving the body of Christ. This ministry is modeled after the tabernacle of David with singers and musicians being released to lead corporate intercession and worship 24-hours a day. This is an effective method for the churches in the county to come together and DWELL in unity so that God can unlock His commanded blessing. ...The Word of God Declares "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations" Mark 11:17. ... This House of Prayer for All Nations ministry includes continuous praise and prayer dethroning the principalities and power over a region declaring Gods sovereignty. This is in the spirit of Revelation 4-5 “Harp & Bowl” worship and warfare prayer gatherings, the harp representing praise and the bowl representing the prayers of the saints which is at the heart of David’s Tabernacle." (Revival Times website  )

"The End-Time Church will "pray in conjunction with prophetic singing" to invite Jesus to return. The war cry of the Church's intercession will come forth from love songs the Spirit will give us."

According to Mike Bickle himself from his website:
"What is the International House of Prayer Missions Base? It is an outreach ministry based on worship with intercession which has continued nonstop (24 hours a day) since September 19, 1999. The IHOP–KC staff views themselves as “intercessory missionaries” because they do the work of outreach from a place of 24/7 prayer with worship. The staff raises their own financial support as missionaries. About 1,500 people (staff, students and interns, musicians, intercessors and worship leaders) serve full-time investing 50 hours/week in the Prayer Room, classroom and ministry outreaches."

Core IHOP's Ideals:
-Prayer and worship will help raise up an end-time army of believers that will usher in a great end-time revival.
-The sooner the revival comes the sooner Jesus will return.
-So this equates to: The more people pray and worship the faster Jesus will return. This seems like a very man and works focussed concept.

IHOP is a part of the "end-times-worship-and-prayer-movement" which they believe will be the reason for Christ's return.

It is a nice thought to think that through our prayers and worship we are speeding the return of Christ, but is that a pure motive for prayer and worship?

Mike Bickle's claims the following about Jesus' return: "He is not coming any day. He is not coming until the people of God globally are crying out in intercession with a bridal identity under the anointing of the Spirit." (Mike Bickle audio message #2; given March 6, 2008.)

Many of the teachings that the movement teaches are based on very loose interpretations of the Bible.

Example: "I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent, And give Him no rest till He establishes And till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth." (Isaiah 62:6-7)

IHOP interpretation of the above Scripture: "More than 2500 years ago, the prophet Isaiah prophesied that in the generation in which the Lord would return, that the Holy Spirit would raise up prophetic intercessors who would give themselves to night and day prayer contending for the fullness of God’s justice to be manifest in the earth."

Mike Bickle seems to take many scriptures out of context to try and build a foundation for the prophetic word given to him in 1983. This seems to be a re-occurring practice.

IHOP Teaches questionable doctrines such as the "Harp and Bowl" model of prayer and worship:
"Harp & Bowl prayer model as developed by IHOP Kansas City. This approach is based on the events in Revelation 5 where the 24 elders before the Throne of God were given harps (musical worship) and bowls of incense (the prayers of the church)."
According to:

This model of prayer is outlined at:

IHOP’s Bridal Paradigm
This teaching seems to be cultivating a deep lust for spiritual experiences, since Jesus is like the lover described in the Song of Songs, who desires real intimate experiential encounters with his beloved.

"Bickle claims his “spiritual interpretations” give us additional power to resist sin and states, “If we do not feel loved and in love, we can still be born again. However, when we feel His love then we resist compromise with greater consistency.”[vi] This is the message of the Galatians where they started with the Gospel and then switched to something else for sanctification, a false gospel. Passion for spiritual experiences of the highest level is what Bickle is after through his spiritual interpretation of Scripture, “We want the deepest things that God will give the human spirit in this age. We receive the kisses of God’s Word by pray-reading God’s Word or in meditation.”[vii] Mike Bickle is using Scriptures describing physical sexual love as the paradigm to teach individual spiritual intimacy with the hidden Jesus he imagines in the Song of Solomon."

"Song of Solomon was a Jewish love poem and a repudiation of the doctrine of demons that forbids marriage.[iv] Using it as the basis for a training guide for the individual “bride of God” is misguided and utterly lacking in support. God in the Old Testament spoke of corporate Israel as a bride. In the New Testament we find concept of the bride is also corporate. Ultimately, in Revelation 12:9 the “bride” clearly identified as the New Jerusalem."

"This is the result of all this intercessory worship: God is being enthroned BECAUSE His people are pursuing him in passionate worship as never before. THRONE ZONES ARE BEING ESTABLISHED through the earth where God can dwell in all His fullness.”

This idea is based on the single scripture: Psalm 22:3, which is can be interpreted in various ways depending on the translation you use:

NIV "Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel."
KJV "But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel."

Quote from article:
"Our worship does not establish God’s throne in the earth for David declares in this very passage in verse 28 “for dominion belongs (present tense) to the Lord and He rules (also present tense) over the nations.” Not only is this teaching that our worship established God’s throne over certain geographic regions to free up evangelism and transformation another classic example of bad bible study and prophetic scripture twisting, it is decidedly man centered. As in so many of the teachings of this movement, once again we see God waiting for man to act. Once again, man is responsible for establishing God’s rule. Once again man is the key to the puzzle. Man opens the way for God."

There is a strong focus on end-time teachings and prophecy, according to Mike Bickle it is these teachings that are a fuel for our prayer life. He also states  as a-matter-of-fact that we are the last generation. (Encountering Jesus disc 1 mp3  )

On God TV Bickle stated:
“Jesus will not come back until the church has shaken off the spirit of slumber, operates in the anointing of prayer and has a bridal identity”

"Studying the End Times awakens urgency in us for intercession, knowing that our prayers may minimize evil and increase victory."

What should fuel our prayer life? Should not everything we do be fueled by the Love and Spirit of God more than anything else, many religious movements use doomsday teachings to stir up fear and panic. People that are in panic and fear are more easily controlled and manipulated by outside forces. Jesus wants us to find true peace and rest in His grace.

IHOP teaches Christians can know the day and hour, Jesus will return:
"God did not want to make the day and hour known in the early Church, but Daniel and the Apostle John made it clear the Messiah would come exactly 1,260 days after the abomination of desolation (Dan. 7:25; 12:7; Rev. 11:2-3; 12:6, 14; 13:5)."

IHOP promotes the idea that we are living in the generation that Jesus will return. There are some calculations on their website that would seem to indicate they believe Jesus will return before the year 2028 (The generation that saw the independence of Israel in 1948):

MIKE BICKLE: We're not afraid of the great tribulation, the judgement of God, WE'RE RELEASING IT. We're not victims that are fearful and helpless, WE'RE PARTICIPANTS. WE'RE AGENTS in God's hands, loosing through prayers of faith supernatural provisions for the saints and heavenly arsenals striking the power bases - the political and military and economic power bases across the world, the Holy Spirit will release Heavenly arsenal and strike and literally and physically destroy them through the prayers of faith of the unified body of Christ." (PODCAST: The Great Role for this Generation], Kansas City, MO: IHOP Onething 08,\ )

"A relevant Church understands the value of our present labors in three ways. First, in seeing how they benefit people now in winning the lost, preparing the Church as end-time forerunner messengers, and releasing God’s justice (judgments) against evil by intercessory worship (Psalm 149:6–9). Second, seeing the continuity of our labors now to our life in the age-to-come. In other words, some of our present impact in society (releasing justice in legislation, education, technology, scientific advancements, etc) will have continuity in the Millennium by continuing after Jesus returns. Third, in seeing how our current labors of love will impact our personal eternal rewards and ministry assignment in the Millennial Kingdom."


From above linked article:
"Definition of Contemplative Prayer: As it is expressed in a modern day movement is mystically (i.e. based on a technique or method) in which one empties the mind of thought through repetition, usually of a word or phrase or focus on the breath. In this case the silence would be an absence of thought, all thought.

The purpose of contemplative prayer is to enter an altered state of consciousness in order to find one’s true self, thus finding God. This true self relates to the belief that man is basically good. Proponents of contemplative prayer teach that all human beings have a divine center and that all, not just born again believers, should practice contemplative prayer."

The official IHOP website ( ) says contemplative prayer involves things like:
"The goal is to search for and feel God’s presence inside you"
"Once you feel God’s presence, focus on it in a concentrated way."
"The outward senses are quiet and your surface thoughts are gone. You are beginning to be consumed by the Spirit."
"In this time, feel the freedom to stay quiet. Silently ask the Spirit to show you a vision, or slowly and silently say to Him, “I love You. I love You. I love You.”"

Scripture does not talk about this kind of praying, but it does warn against vain repetitious praying (Matthew 6:7-8).

IHOP Prayer movement comes across as Elitist, ie the end-time prayer movement is more important than other Christian ministries seeking to progress the kingdom, for example:
Misty Edwards (IHOP-KC Worship Leader, Intercessory Missionary, part of IHOP since its foundation) on an IHOP Promo Video states:
"As I have grown in understanding the ways of the kingdom, I realized intercession is the only way to change the world."
Another person on the video said: "This is the prophetic word of the hour to the church, is shut it down, give yourself to a place of prayer."

IHOP believes it is one of the main vessels God is using to bring about end-time revival.
Mike Bickle says: "Yet, now I know this is the time to send forth a bold, clarion call to those in the prayer movement to intentionally enter into the forerunner ministry that will prepare the Church and the nations for Jesus' return."

According to the Illonois IHOP website:
"Intercessory missionaries, like all other missionaries, understand that they have a commission to “make disciples of all nations.” Their mode of evangelism is through a concerted agreement with God’s will in prayer and fasting. When rooted and grounded in God’s love and His Word, worship and intercession naturally form a furnace that fuels the missionaries and the larger Body of Christ in their calling and invigorates their desire to pour into the local body and their communities." (


What’s Cookin’ in IHOP’s Kitchen?

Mike Bickle and International House of Prayer:
According to the author of this article: "In this article I will show that Bickle's movement is based on allegorized scripture, deeper life pietism, and mysticism, representing a slightly modified version of the heretical Latter Rain movement of the 1940s."

-Jesus said “My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations” (Mark 11:17) The Bible makes it clear that today the body of Christ made of all believers are that house (Hebrews 3:6, 1 Peter 2:5)
The idea of building or establishing a building or a room and calling it a house of prayer is an Old Testament concept, with no foundation in the New Testament!
-God calls us to go into all the world... IHOP seems to encourage a lifestyle of withdrawing from community. Scripture does not teach us to go to one place and live there to pray, but rather live a life full of prayer while living out our everyday life, and being part of the community.
-Does the leadership encourage family ties to be broken with those that question the movement, its beliefs, or its practices? The Bible teaches we should honour our parents.
-It is arrogant to believe God will hear us better, and answer our prayers faster if we pray for 24 hours instead of a shorter period of time.
-Gnosticism, secret knowledge that you can only receive by hearing their teachings, and experiencing God in the way they describe.
-Members of IHOP consider themselves Intercessory Missionaries. There is no such missionaries found in the Bible.
-Fear-based teaching, Mike Bickle states that we are the generation when Jesus will return and judgement will be poured out on the earth, so time is short!
-The motives for people to join the movement may not be purely to seek God, but to seek new "mystical" experiences, or some may be lured by the potential of achieving end-time greatness, being part of an elect group of people God is calling to become generals in a great end-time army.
-Seeking and asking God to give you visions or angelic visitations. There is no biblical foundation for this practice. The Bible encourages us to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
-The movement teaches and practices certain types and models of prayer and worship. Prayer and worship should be first and foremost spirit led, rather than modelled after man-made patterns and formulas. The movement seems to have a works focus. They believe God has called them to 24/7 prayer and worship, and that is what they will work towards fulfilling, but the question is has God really called them to that?
-The movement may be encouraging people to disengage the mind and engage with the Spirit. Anybody that teaches we should have a "passive mind" should be questioned. Some teach such things because what they practice can't be supported by Scriptures, so they encourage you to leave your mind at the door and use your heart (emotions, feelings, etc).
-There is a danger of over emphasising experience. And the higher experiences and feelings are elevated, the more likely we are to lead our lives based on feelings. Some turn to prophecy, visions and dreams to live there every day lives. God does sometimes use these methods to direct us, but we should not be overly reliant on them. We should rather base decisions on the wisdom of God given to us in the Scriptures. Some may rely on prophetic visions or dreams because it removes from them the responsibility of using and attaining the wisdom that comes from God, and His Word.
-Living in a Community that strongly encourages fasting, and 24/7 prayer and worship, such food and sleep deprivation has the danger of becoming a form of mind control.
-Becoming a part of the community where false teaching and practices are present, will cause those without a strong personal convictions of what is true and right to conform, so as to be accepted by the rest of the group, and not to be considered divisive, or rebellious.
-There is a danger of exalting men and their mystical experiences, since many are fascinated to such things.
-There is prophetic movement which elevates apostles and prophets as the leading authorities of the church, and even pastors of the churches are secondary to them.
-An emphasis on continually seeking a higher experience, will leave many disappointed and hurt with God, because they did not achieve such things. It will lead to people striving harder to pursue God, and some may even experience self-induced experiences because they are so desperate to have some kind of divine experience. Christianity is not about pursuing divine experiences of God, it is about finding rest in His grace through faith.
-"The hour is urgent. The Lord is returning soon. We cannot go about business as usual. What was enough for the former generations will not suffice for this generation. We must respond to the urgency of this hour with radical lifestyles of fasting, prayer, and “eating the scroll” to prepare our own hearts and the earth for the soon return of Jesus. You have one life to live extravagantly before the eyes of God. You have one opportunity to seek Him wholeheartedly. Don’t waste your life." was stated by one of the IHOP worship leaders.
They seem to give the idea, that doing anything other than praying, fasting, worshipping according to their "model" is not God's plan. This may include living a normal life in the community.
-One of the key teachings of IHOP is "Developing urgency for the hour we live in". Urgency is the opposite of peace and rest.
-People naturally desire to be a part of something worthwhile, and the more extreme the better! IHOP seems to survive on exploiting that natural desire.
-People are turning from the simplicity we have in Christ, and child-like faith, to man-made methods, to psychological practices, etc.
-Carrot syndrome: They dangle something beautiful and desirable to keep people coming for more. The carrot is closer intimacy with God and mystical experiences, end-time greatness. But what is the fruit of this ministry?
-Who wants to be a pawn in some mans egotistic misguided vision to achieve end-time greatness?
-IHOP developed a model that makes 24/7 worship sustainable. God is not interested in prayer models, methods, but worship in Spirit and Truth.
-Christian teachers often encourage people to check their teachings against scripture. But when people do this they are labelled as having "religious" or "critical" spirit. This is not true freedom. It is like saying you are free to leave this room, but we will label you as the biggest loser in the world if you do. This is psychological bondage.

Prayer is good, worship is good, seeking a closer relationship with God is good, helping the poor is good. First and foremost we should seek to know God deeper, and out of that relationship should come fruits of good works and a lifestyle of prayer and worship. However institutionalizing or boxing something God has designed to be a free and simple is what religion seeks to do. God doesn't want a us to box or institutionalize or complicate prayer and worship. We should freely express and practice our faith according to the Scriptures, led by the Spirit of God and our conscience.

My question is who would ever want to be a part of something that is based on works rather than the liberty we have in Christ?
Who would want to be a part of a movement that has its roots in teachings, and practices that are considered unbiblical?

The goal of the enemy, is to destroy us, if he can't destroy us, then he will distract us. I believe IHOP movement is confusing people, and distracting them from fulfilling there true calling in life, and it is encouraging an unbalanced Christian life. And some of its teachings and practices are man and works focused rather than God and Grace focussed.

I appreciate that many are joining the IHOP movement with pure desires to seek God and build His kingdom, and I really do respect that, I would just hate to see people get hurt by something that is not of God. I am concerned that the IHOP movement may be bound in legalism... Which really is one of the most subtle of errors to fall into, it hides in the cloak of zeal... Legalism and Elitism were dangers highlighted in the original Church pastored by Mike Bickle (Kansas City Fellowship). I personally see these characteristics are still a part of the movement from viewing IHOP's current material and publications online. Therefore I believe the IHOP movement is harmful in its current form, since elitism breeds division, and the fruit of legalism is bondage, self-righteousness, schisms, resentment, unhappiness, confusion...