Mike Bickle is the founder and leader of the International House of Prayer. Thirty days ago, he went into his little cubby off the side of the stage in the prayer room and did not come out... Well, that's a bit of an overstatement, but it's close. A short while back, a woman who is an active part of the ministry had a dream involving Mike going through a period of 30 days of silence. Mike, sensing it was the Lord's direction, took a look at his calendar and told us "I can do this!" For the first time in years - perhaps decades - he only had two outside speaking engagements booked. He cancelled one, rescheduled the other and booked others of us on the leadership team to speak at IHOP. He called us each to fast in some way - some existed only on water, others on fruits and veggies, and no doubt some actually did the fast Allan Hood joked about: "Cheeseburgers only; no fries...".
Every day, seven days a week, Mike would arrive at IHOP by 6 AM and stay in his little cubby hole (he calls it an office) until 10 PM or later. It is immediately off the stage, although a partial Plexiglas door does separate it. He also has a window into the prayer room. He always reminds me of a DJ in the studio when he's in there. For thirty days, he spoke to no one. He studied the book of Daniel. He prayed. He worshipped. What he didn't do was talk.
Once in a while he would wander to the glass like he was in the Prayer Zoo, and wave at us. I remember a night when Kelsey and I went back to the prayer room about 10 pm. Mike was still there. I'm a morning guy - I'm usually in the prayer room most of the day prior to 2 pm or so. For me to be there that late is rare. When he saw us, he stood up and grinned, pumping his fists as if to say "Way to go! It's late and you're here!" Mike is oblivious to the irony of cheering my dedication when he had been there when I got there at 6 AM and was still there when I left...and would be so for a few more weeks.
Today was the 30th day. A team of 20 or so leaders met with him at 2 pm to connect before his scheduled 4 pm meeting with the entire IHOP community. We all sat around the conference table wondering what the first words out of his mouth would be...a story of an angelic visitation? A list of worship songs that he really never wanted to hear again? A new vision statement? None of the above. I nearly cracked up when he walked in, sat down, grinned and said "...Let's pray."
That, in itself, is Mike in a microcosm (Mike-rocosm?). After doing all he could do, fasting for 30 days and being silent, he's ready to pray. I loved it.
He shared a few funny stories with us - like how both his wife and assistant both felt they had to whisper to him, even though he kept writing them notes that said "YOU can TALK!". Or how his wife, on the third day of his 30 days of silence, went out and bought a new car. Dianne is a smart lady.
He also shared some touching moments - how he fell in love with IHOP all over again. He said "I got to see it for sixteen to eighteen hours a day - I saw every worship leader, every singer, and they're all beautiful." He was regularly writing notes to his assistant, Anne, asking her to find out the name of that new singer so he could address them by name (beginning today!).
Mike shared much more, but I'm out of time and space here...Regardless, I'm sure it will surface in coming blogs. Those thoughts are not the point of this post....The point is this: I'm grateful to be a part of a faith community led by a man who does exactly what he tells others is important, holding himself to a higher standard than anyone else. Mike is an inspiration. It's good to hear his voice...but we've been hearing his heart loud and clear for a month.