I’m sitting in the Prayer Room of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri. It’s just after 11 pm CST, and the room is slowly filling with young people coming for the Night Watch, an all night prayer and worship event that has been going on for nearly 4 years.
Did I mention they’ve also been praying and worshipping during the day for nearly 4 years? That’s right – 24/7. The Prayer Room is host to eighty four prayer meetings per week, each lasting two hours. They don’t lock the doors and just replace the light bulbs when they burn out. Roughly 400 people, mostly college age, have raised their own financial support as intercessory missionaries to spend time in this setting.
I had coffee this afternoon with Mike Bickle, the driver behind the wheel of the IHOP bus. He takes frequent conversation breaks to wave and say hello to his ‘kids’ – the young people who burn the midnight oil – all the while describing with infectious enthusiasm what his heart’s cry is for this place. On the surface, it’s an amazingly long prayer event. Scratch it a little and you find the revolution in the works…a different way of driving ministry.
Bickle says, in effect, we’ve all done ministry for years out of good motives, but rarely out of intimacy…eventually we get worn down, disappointed in people, feel unappreciated, or are conquered by the head games that accompany our successes. What would it be like if we really spent exploring the lovers’ heart of Jesus, and allowed that to power our efforts?
Revolutionaries are an odd lot. They embrace lost causes. Most of them fully expect martyrdom. They also are the most committed fighters you’ll find on the planet. Tonight, the platform in front of me holds five revolutionaries – two singer/guitarists, a backup vocalist, a percussionist and a bass player. They’re all studio quality musicians, seemingly wasting their lives here in Nowhereville, Missouri, playing simple songs at nearly midnight to a mostly empty room…and would continue to play them if the room emptied out entirely, because they're playing for an audience of One in Three. They are young – I’d say most within a stone’s throw of twenty one years old – and perhaps better than I, understand the words of The Book…we battle not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities and the kingdoms of this world.