Some of my IHOP “Red Flags”

Posted: January 1, 2010 in Cult, Deception, False doctrines, IHOP, Leaving a cult, Mike Bickle, Spiritual Abuse

There were many, many experiences that made me do a double take and say “what?” while I was at IHOP but that internal questioning was quickly explained away or rebuked by internship leaders. Once I began to deviate from IHOP’s teachings and study scripture on my own for answers to the internal conflicts I wrestled with, I began questioning the pseudo reality I had been conditioned to embrace. Suddenly I saw the isolated red flag incidences as a seamless pattern of error and the veil of deception fell. I stopped rationalizing and justifying. Enough was enough and I was done and wanted out.

There are much more personal experiences than I can put into one single blog post, but here are a few I still recall pretty strongly.

1. Mandatory fasts which made me very physically ill. They would never admit to having “mandatory” fasts but when you don’t have any food available, close down the kitchen, give your cook the day off and don’t allow interns to hold jobs (so that they have money to go buy food if they aren’t participating in the fast) then that is called mandatory.

2. Being practically held hostage in the prayer room and told that it was required that I be there and I was not allowed to leave even though I did not feel well and wanted to go back to my apartment. I was told I needed to stay in the prayer room to be part of the “corporate anointing” and that I shouldn’t leave. It was one of my “required” prayer room sets as an intern so I spent the remainder of that 2-hour set in one of the side prayer rooms in the back sobbing on the floor because I wanted to leave so badly and our internship leaders were standing by the door. You might ask “why didn’t you just force your way out and leave anyway?” When you are part of cult where free, independent thinking is not condoned when you don’t comply with what is expected of you, very often guilt, manipulation and penalties are instated for those who resist. Interns who didn’t follow “the rules” of the internship were penalized through loss of privileges (such as loss of your day off, having to do extra work/manual labor, etc.)

3. The grip of control and micro-management increasing: greater demands and restrictions on interns (such as increased pressure to fast more to attain a higher pinnacle of spirituality) being told where we had to sit when in the prayer room, taught a model for how to pray, how to dance, sing, etc. Any form of worship outside of this model was not considered to be acceptable. It had to fit IHOP’s style and method to be admissible.

4. Mandatory journaling assignments which we had to do weekly and then we had to turn in our journals to be read by internship leaders

5. Seeing how controlled the prayer room was. Rather than having freedom to express my heart to the Lord, I was put in a box and told how I had to do everything IHOP’s way. I had reading and writing assignments whenever I was in the prayer room.

6. There was no alone time ever to really think, reason, test, question or process anything. We were run ragged from sun up to late into the night which always left me exhausted, depleted and burnt out.

7. Once when I got sick, my mother came to pick me up and internship leaders resisted letting me leave with her (even though she lived in town). My internship ‘com leader’ (short for community leader) objected and still impressed upon me the importance of going to the prayer room even though I was too sick to get off the couch. My mother said “she is my daughter and I’m taking her home and taking care of her. Period.”

8. The more leadership responsibility I was given as an intern, the more I got peeks into the “inside”. I saw the outer fringes of the internal operations of how IHOP functioned. I was on an IHOP dance team and sang as a chorus leader on a few worship teams. To dance, I had to follow a specific model that IHOP required. To sing, I had to attend the briefing/de-briefing meetings before and after each worship set where I saw first-hand how carefully controlled that the seemingly “spontaneous” aspects of worship were carefully calculated and often planned ahead of time.

9. Another intern got deathly ill and it wasn’t until she ended up being hospitalized that internship leaders took seriously the fact she was sick. They accused her of faking an illness to get out of attending IHOP classes and time in the prayer room. This was told to me directly by that intern.

10. If I wanted to go anywhere off IHOP property (even to go see my family who lived in town) I had to notify internship leaders of my whereabouts at all times. I had no autonomy or freedom as an individual. Some leaders who were 19 (but were former interns which gave them elite status) were telling me where to be, what to do and when I was expected to be home. I had to answer to them for everything. I was in my early 20’s and had lived on my own before so the feeling of suffocation and having no personal rights to space, privacy, independent thought, etc. was overwhelming.

There is much more but I think that’s a sufficient start to at least give you an idea of some of what was happening when I was at IHOP. It wasn’t until after I left that I began to see far more than I had been able to see when I was still involved. The casual observer on the periphery won’t necessarily see the reality of all that is happening there because they are seeing the veil that IHOP has built to carefully cloak the truth of a lot of what really happens.

After I left, I realized how worn out and exhausted I was in every way imaginable. I spent days and weeks sleeping and physically healing from the trauma of the experiences I had just come out of and to let my body heal from the fasting and sleep deprivation. It took a long time for me to really start healing emotionally and spiritually and to begin putting pieces together. Recovering from mental and spiritual abuse like that is a hard road and a difficult place to come out from. I did months of research after I left IHOP and the immediate dust had settled. I wanted to see the roots of the giant beanstalk that had sprouted up and choked the life out of everything in me. I started going back as far into the history of IHOP as I could. As interns we were required to listen to 18 hours of audio CDs recapping all of the history of IHOP and the “prophesies” that led to it’s starting. I started researching on the internet about the names of the so called prophets of this movement and what they had come out of. That led me to picking apart a very carefully woven web of key players that all were connected to this massive organization.

I shared with one parent who e-mailed me about her own child at IHOP the importance of praying that the L-rd will open their eyes not only to see, but to recognize and identify the red flags of IHOP. The thing is, they are probably already seeing them, but rationalizing and excusing them away as isolated events rather than viewing them as a destructive pattern. I pray that the Father will show those there who are truly seeking him the pattern of red flags…making them so obvious they can no longer ignore them.

My hope is that the young people there who are much like I was will begin to question what they see and compare it with what the scripture actually says…not how Mike Bickle twists and teaches it…and that they have the courage to identify it and reject it. Those who oppose IHOP and speak out typically experience some kind of consequences or backlash. People are a commodity there. They are traded. When wounded ones leave, IHOP leadership doesn’t sweat over it…new and unsuspecting people who are ignorant of their dangerous devices but are hungry for emotionally-driven experiences and spiritual highs will come back in the same door the others left. It’s a revolving door of deception.

The deceptions of IHOP are treacherous and very real. Did G-d use that place in my life and work together for my good the devastation I experienced? Absolutely. But that is a testimony to the goodness of our G-d…not a stamp of approval on a place. Remember he spoke through a donkey and a burning bush. That doesn’t mean we should glorify donkeys and start worshiping bushes.

I’ve been asked many times how my eyes were opened to see what was happening at IHOP and how I got out, etc. I’ve thought about that many times and the simplest answer I can give is that I knew who my source was. G-d was my source of instruction, teaching, counsel, truth, etc. It was His voice I was seeking to hear and His approval I desired. IHOP wasn’t my source. So when the things I heard from the L-rd through prayer and studying His word were in conflict with the things I was being taught in IHOP it made the decision to leave an easier one. It was traumatic and painful and I’m not going to minimize that. But it was the price of protecting truth and I knew that staying would have compromised what I knew was right and since my desire is to delight the heart of my Father, once He removed the scales, I was out.

My desire is to see people set free to live lives of healing and wholeness…walking in genuine love and pursuing truth. My prayer is that the things you read on this blog inspire you to that end.

Grace and peace to you.

  1. Thanks for your honesty says:

    I just want to say it saddens me to hear of what you encountered. I’m sure there have been people blessed through IHOP, even just a few. But it seems there is an infection of some sorts.

    I myself serve alongside many YWAM’ers, completed a YWAM DTS which was one of the most fruitful and memorable times of my life so far. I found the people their to be friends, not dictators. But there are many people who have had the opposite experience. I don’t like it when its assumed that the reason someone has had such a terrible experience is because their heart wasn’t right, or because they weren’t open to authority. Many times it is the misrepresentation of Christ, and a lack of a true servant-hearted leadership that causes pain and hurt… and it can spread like an infection. It produces more of the same.

    The sad fact is that depending on where you end up in the body of Christ you may encounter that infection to different degrees, and it breaks my heart to think that there may very well be more stories about abuses of authority than there are about life-impacting Christ-led frienships

    I pray for whatever group / church / demonination that they would be open to God’s cleansing power. May they be set free from endless cycles they find themselves in and a part of. May they be “infectious” with Christ’s example only.

    • Ariel says:

      Thank you for your very encouraging and heartfelt comment. It is greatly appreciated and I join with you in that prayer!

      • Thanks for your honesty says:

        just wanted to add that many of the things you were made to do, for the most part are good things… just it needs to be our choice.

        Fasting together as a group is great if God has lead individuals to do it, and that whoever is participating agrees that it is what God would have them do. Its very scary when people start becoming the “voice of God”.

      • Ariel says:

        Ironically, I was having a conversation with a friend yesterday regarding the very points you are making. We were discussing that without love, our “disciplines” are simply clanging gongs of spiritual activity and profit us nothing because they are done with the wrong heart. Agreed that fasting and service are not in and of themselves bad things…but when externally forced and demanded of someone, then it bypasses the heart and prevents someone from acting out of a place of true spiritual authenticity. Thank you for your comments!

    • Julie says:

      I agree very much with this comment. I wish everyone would keep in mind that “they will know that we are Christ’s disciples by the love we have one for another.” I say this with much sorrow that this is lacking in my own life. My we abide in Christ and bare much fruit, for apart from Him, we can do nothing. Where there is fruit, there is Christ.

      • Thanks for your honesty says:

        Interesting that verse came up in our Bible study tonight. We just started looking at fruits of the Spirit. I’d noticed previously that it says we will be known for our fruit in Matthew 7, but until tonight I didn’t realise the emphasis on being known specifically for our love, as if all the other fruit doesn’t even matter.

        In that context I feel like I’m starting to understand what Paul was getting at in 1 Cor 13:2 “If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn’t love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody.”

        We will not be known for our prophecy, for our great Bible school, not even for our fervent prayer and efforts in ministry… but simply by our love.

        In my eyes Ariel has written all these things in an attitude of love, and I hope that anyone who wishes to speak in defense of IHOP does the same.

      • Ariel says:

        Thank you! Speaking the truth in love has been my goal from day 1 so I’m glad to hear that is how my posts come across to readers. I love the line you wrote about “We will not be known for our prophecy, for our great Bible school, not even for our fervent prayer and efforts in ministry… but simply by our love.” Beautifully said.

  2. Luke says:


    I am a new student at IHOPU. I have been reading your blogs on various topics related to IHOP with interest and an open mind. I am considering the topics and ideas you have brought up on many of your blogs, and I must admit that you have some valid points, if indeed IHOP is promoting some of those things. I am testing things out for myself, and I will keep the things you have mentioned in mind as I do.

    In regard to this specific blog, I have to ask, did you not realize what you were getting in to when you signed up for the internship? That’s one element to this that I believe you are neglecting. My experience is definitely different as a student in the university at IHOP (I control my own living arrangements, more flexible schedule, etc.) My thought is, why did you not choose to be a student instead of an intern?… or since you obviously at one time believed becoming an intern was the right step for you, how did you seemingly not ask important questions about what your life was going to look like while you were in the internship? I know that before I came here I sat down with a counselor and asked just about every question I could think of about what would be required of me and what authority I would be placing myself under. I suppose I can understand you being upset about the being sick and them not wanting you to go part, but as for the sense of being controlled on a more daily basis, didn’t you sign up for that?

    Our professors asked us at orientation, “Do you give us permission to take your calling seriously?” In other words, you signed up for this, we are going to keep you held to a high expectation. If you don’t want that, this is not the program for you. It is YOUR choice. I don’t feel like this in unfair or misleading. In my mind it’s like joining the army, not a cult.

    Please don’t feel like I’m trying to upset you… I am seriously asking those questions because I want to understand where you are coming from.

    So time will tell… I am not all about IHOP, I am all about Jesus. I am keeping the first thing first and I am studying the Bible on my own. If the Holy Spirit in me is not comfortable with something, He will make it clear to me. If it comes down to IHOP or truth…. I choose truth.

    Be blessed,


    • Ariel says:

      Hi Luke! Thank you for writing. I appreciate your thoughtful and inquisitive post. To answer your question, when I met with internship leaders before choosing to attend the program I was told the exact opposite of what you were told as an IHOPU student. They made it sound like a very autonomous and free-flowing program with time in classes/prayer room and then a lot of downtime to fellowship, be alone, etc. I spoke with the internship leader about another program I had been part of prior to coming to IHOP and how restrictive it was and they were like ‘oh no, our internship is nothing like that. It’s very fluid and has some structure but our interns have down time and we treat interns like adults here. So I really came under the assumption that yes, there would be some structure but that it would be similar to living on a university campus where you had classes for certain hours and then the rest of the time you were on your own. So in answer to your question, no, I really did not know what I was getting myself into when I signed up to be an intern and if I had been told what it was really going to be like I would not have gone. Also, at the time when I was an intern, IHOPU did not yet exist so it was not an option. Keep your heart set on truth no matter what and keep your eyes wide open. I loved your last sentence! Well said. Blessings to you Luke!

  3. […] Posted: January 1, 2010 by Ariel in Cult, Deception, False doctrines, IHOP, Leaving a cult, Mike Bickle, Spiritual Abuse 35 […]

  4. Jan says:

    Mike Bickle is a very, very dangerous man and exactly the type of man that the Bible warns us about. His Harp and Bowl agenda has occultic roots. Bickle has been channeling the same messages from the spirit world as occultic medium Jane Lead from the 16th century. Bickle’s “Davidic Wars” are the same as Lead’s “Wars of David” against those who dont go by the ‘spirit’. (A false Rhema) Those that go by the written word of God alone for Truth, (the Logos) are considered the “Sauls” and the ‘spirit realm for truth’ people are the “Davids”. This move to remove fundamentals who adhere to the written word is the same as Rick Warren’s elimination of the ‘old wineskins”, and the occultic’s ‘removal of non conformists. Alice Bailey, occultic medium who channeled the New Age movement for 30 years from satanic forces said that one of the things that would happen before the antichrist came is that the Church would become MILITANT. We see the church now turning against itself through this agenda to eradicate fundamentals. The second thing she said would happen in order to bring in the antichrist is that the Church would remove doctrine: ‘written Truth”. We now see that in the charismatics removal of the Logos, and the Fundamentals embracing watered down unbiblical translations. So the Church has become OCCULTIC.

    Also, Bickle’s promotion of ‘music to bring down God’s presence’ is occultism. Nowhere in Scripture did Jesus or the disciples ever teach that music would bring down God’s ‘presence’. This is connected to the mystic prayers he now promotes in order to ‘experience’ God. Young people are not being taught that ‘worship’ is the daily walk with God in humble obedience according to His word, but that its an altered state of consciousness brought on by rock music and chanting. Bickle teaches that ‘encountering God’ is not through the written Word alone….there must be hysteria and experiential episodes. Though Scripture says that ‘evidence of the spirit is self control” (Galatians 5:22) Bickle says evidence of the spirit is ‘screaming, jerking, falling, laughing and etc. So, in essence, Bickle is teaching unbelievers that experiencing the ‘spirit realm’ is ‘worship’ therefore preparing them for demonic possession!

    Bailey said in her “Treatise of the Seven Rays”, that ‘as more and more demons descend into the minds of men, the church would think it was the Holy Spirit’! She also said that super powered ‘god men’ would emerge in the last days to persecute Christians . Bickle’s promotion of super-powered ‘god-men” apostles who go about doing miracles are one and the same. Bickle’s ‘calling down of angels to fight evil’ is occultic. Nowhere in Scripture did the disciples ever call down ‘angels’ and angels are at God’s behest, not man’s. These are demons that Bickle is calling on just like those in the Shamanistic religion who called on demons to cause havoc on their enemies.

    Bickle’s ‘rain of the spirit’ is the same ‘showers of the spirit’ prophesied by Jane Lead. These ‘showers’ she said, would eventually culminate into a worldwide Latter Rain…in other words, men must be ‘showered’ with a demonic spirit, resulting in demonic possession which would render men to accept the anti christ. Bickle says, that after this ‘transformation”, a newly “Corporate Christ” will birth the Global Church, which is the same as the occultics “Cosmic Christ” birthing the ONE WORLD CHURCH. The third thing Bailey said would happen to the Church is that it would become “Inclusive”. Bickle’s continual push for unbiblical Unity is the Church becoming UNIVERSAL. Bickle calls it the “Feast of Tabernacles” but is identical to the occultic “Planetary Pentecost” !

    So in summary Bickle is preparing the world for the anti christ, promoting occultism and an agenda that is in agreement with Satanic forces. “And in the last days, men will deceive and be deceived.” Matthew 24 “I Timothy 4 “And in the last days, men shall depart from the faith, giving heed to doctrines of demons.” Stay out of IHOP and pray for those still in it!

  5. Ihave a son and daughter in law and 3 grandchildren who have been there for about 1 year, I am very familier with harp and bowl as i was involved in it at a church in florida i had warning flags then, since my son has been there he has stopped talking to me , or any one in the family who questions some of there teaching.I started investigating ihop more deeply when my 18 year old daughter was excepted there for the 4 year internship with music being her interest, as i looked deeper i found many disturbing patterns i am 57 years old and when i was 19 i got involved with a cult called the children of god they are still aroud today, ther methods of brain washing isolation control etc. are so similer to what is going on at ihop david berg was there leader and as many cult leaders in christianity he was the son of a paster and knew the word of god he used his charisama to influence and control young people this is the pattern of many cults they may have some truth but because JESUS is really not the centray focus but, the teachings and interpretation of scripture by the leader or annointed one in charge is the true focus ,when they get the youths minds then there hearts follow .independent thinking is called rebellion, against gods prophet, chosen special etc. this is so dangerous and as the word of GOD says there will be MANY false christ ,prophets in the last days ,they will come as angels of light and without a true understanding of the word of GOD all those who flock to these false prophets are in real danger aspecially the young ones because many have a true desire to serve JESUS and when something like ihop comes along and becomes global it looks so right and many are decieved into a false christianity, right now my son is not teachable to any other teaching or thought pattern that does not fit the ihop doctrine, my concern for the accepting of the false prophets and error that are being drilled into thesepeople hurts so much more when you have a son being so decieved i know when he first went his heart was to serve the LORD but over time he is not my joe he has changed and gets so angry and defensive if questioned , that right there sends up flags as he was not like this before. he left a church that he was a worship leader in and had a nice home and he says his reason for going was for music! he was already doing what GOD had called him to do BUT his best friend from first grade through highschool got him convinced that ihop was the place where gods special annointing was, that they were so right and with 24 hour prayer and all the other so called prophets and the paradime shift and the other bickel weird teachings that it sounded so good and he got convinced that he was to go, now he struggles financially and i just do not see the fruit of the SPIRIT in what is happening with him and his family, there is real evil out cloaked in what looks so good but test the spirit of a man and his teachings against scripture and the truth will be seen , problem is if you do not have a strong foundation in the word of GOD or become unteachable you will get decieved and lose your idenity and will no longer be ALLOWED to think for your self or question any teaching coming from the leaders, power corrupts as does money when it is abused as it is being done at ihop, i pray that a true prophet will be sent there and with HOLY boldness and true annointing reveal the lies false teachings and error that are being taught there that the eyes of the blind be opened before we lose a whole generation of youth to the deciever and destroyer, i wish no ill on mike bickel or any other leader there only that if they do not humble themselves and repent ,that

  6. Vince says:

    I’ve spend many years as a youth pastor and at my latest assignment the church and teens were heavily influenced by IHOP, The Ramp, and Morning Star….all of which I knew nothing about.
    I noticed however the longer I was there a disconnection between the youth of the church and reality. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, until I concluded that the “IHOP” movement cultivates a mindset of withdrawing and creating a worship box mindset.
    I appreciate your post and agree. Much like everything in life, “too much of a good thing quickly becomes bad.” I’m not against the IHOP movement, but I’m not for it either. At this point I’ve seen more damage than good come out of it.

  7. RangerWez says:

    Ariel, I have personally visited the location in question, and I can definitely say that I can understand some of your concerns which are extremely valid.

    About 7 years ago, my wife and I were convinced to go to something called the “Encounter” (we were a fledgling G12 church). On top of the fact that my wife (of 3 months at the time) and I were separated during the retreat, it was also a SILENT retreat … we couldn’t talk each other (nor see each other) or to anyone except the leaders … they even took our watches and limited our food intake to certain times of the day. It was NOT a good event; my wife said that she secretly keep a time piece, and they didn’t feed the ladies till dinner around 11PM then kept them up till after 3AM in the morning both nights of the retreat … the ladies being oblivious to the time. It was horrible.

    BUT all that said, whether IHOP or G12 Encounters or whatever, I will say that people change and ministries learn from their mistakes. I sure hope that someone in IHOP reads your blog post and brings it to the attention of the leadership; I also see from some of the comments, that this occurred a few years ago … so things may have changed. In regards to my G12 experiences, we brought this all to the leadership, and changes were implemented immediately and the next Encounter event was much more freeing … ironically, ours was just horrible enough that someone sued (we just got the bad apple retreat)

    IHOP / G12 / etc. … people make mistakes, not everyone is trained, not everyone is in it to see others move into their destiny, some people are selfish, some people are mean. That doesn’t mean it’s all wrong …

    In terms of the spontaneous song; hey, I agree it is necessarily 100% spontaneous … I would recommend that it is “frameworked” though … but consider this, I’d rather walk thru a frameworked home … it provides a level of safety for me; I have the right to put up a wall or a door or paint a wall or whatever … we are even given boundaries in life by our Savior, within those boundaries, we can decorate our lives all we want … within the boundaries. Without a framework, gosh that would scare me … so I have to say, out of every stream I’ve had been involved in, the IHOP “Harp and Bowl” framework (while not perfect, none are) provides ME with the most effective “spontaneous” methods I have encountered.

    Again, I’m not writing to slam you or your experiences … they are all valid and definitely of concern. Seriously, consider taking them to those in leadership, question the Lord, question what good AND what bad happened. I’m currently working thru an issue at my church (I’ve been very negative about it), and the Lord spoke to me just yesterday as I was trying to justify myself in my position … He said, “If you look for the bad, you WILL find it; I would rather you look to Me.” … wow, that just floored me.

    So just consider your blog entry here with that in mind … I know you are trying to inform people of your experiences; just be careful.

    • Ariel says:

      I totally agree that boundaries and framework are definitely important. I’m not against that in the slightest but I think there is a major distinction between healthy boundaries that support and nurture growth vs. rigid control which stifles and suppresses people, the activity of G-d, etc. One brings life and the other breeds death. I have seen more of the latter in my years of involvement with IHOP and while myself and many others have been blessed at various times by the L-rd at a point when we were involved there, I still lean more toward viewing IHOP’s harp & bowl model as more restrictive and controlling than just a healthy and supportive framework…simply because I was there, learned it, sang it, etc. and have seen the effects of it up close. Thanks for sharing! G-d bless you.

  8. Carleigh says:

    God just brought me to this blog tonight and it has really got me thinking. I was led by God to go to the OneThing08 conference in Kansas City and walked away from there very touched by God, but also full of questions. I wanted to go back for an internship or even the 4 year at IHOPU, but after 6 months of trying- and God closing EVERY door possible- I realized that it wasn’t where God wanted me, so I didn’t go. I’m now at Elim Bible Institute and it’s wonderful! These teachers are insisting that I search Scripture myself, in fellowship with the Spirit, and come to my own conclusions. Thank you God, for watching over me, and thank you, friend, for this post. I had 2 “red flag” experiences when I was at IHOP just for that short time, and this has really helped me to be okay with that. (I had dismissed them before as my error, but they were not). I have to say, though, that I have been profoundly touched by the Spirit when listening to Allen Hood or Cory Russel, and the sacred charge website had served me immensely. I can’t say I’m going to dismiss IHOP altogether, but I will certainly take everything before the Lord more earnestly.

    • Ariel says:

      Carleigh, I understand and appreciate where you’re coming from. There was a time that G-d used IHOP in my life and I can see now in hindsight the unfolding of what His purposes in that were. It’s the mixture there that makes it dangerous. If it were “all bad” no one would have anything to do with it. You’re correct…red flag experiences are never to be ignored…whether in churches, relationships, etc. We must always be vigilant and alert keeping our eyes open and our spirits tuned to the L-rd. Thank you for your comment and I pray that the Father continues to lead you into greater truth and revelation as you continue on your journey in the study of His word and in fellowship with the Spirit which teaches and leads us into all truth.

      • Julie says:

        Ariel, I am glad you touched on the dangers of mixture. I did a study on the Kings of Israel/Judah. They always got into trouble, and their deeds were not considered right in the eyes of the Lord, because of the MIXTURE. Few of the kings out-and-out abandoned the temple and the priesthood. How many times did a new king begin to reign, clean out the temple, etc., but would refuse to take down the high places? The mixture was considered an abomination almost as much as the outright abandonment of the temple worship and the obedience to the law.

        This stood out to me back then and helped me understand why even a little bit of false teaching needs to be soberly dealt with.

      • Ariel says:

        Julie, thank you for highlighting that…great example of exactly what I’m saying!

  9. […] such things as ‘mandatory fast’, a former staffer at IHOP goes on to tell of her associastion with Mike Bickle’s International House of Prayer: There were many, many experiences that made […]

  10. redeemedhippiesplace says:

    What a great expose. I thank God you were set free from this cult. May you be a light to your generration and bring many out of the darkness of cult-thinking and into the light of God’s kingdom. Stand, little sister, STAND!

  11. Thank you for the post. I enjoyed reading it. You have a very well-designed blog.

  12. Steph says:

    Two years I really wanted to go to Ihop’s Forerunner music school but, thanks to my parents looking into Ihop, I decided not to go. But the question that’s been in the back of my mind ever since then is- are a majority of the people there really even saved? I have to believe that many are because there are those who do seem to genuinly love the Lord and His Word. But at the same time seem to be deceived. Hope you can answer my question. 🙂

    • Ariel says:

      Hi Steph. I am not qualified to judge the validity of all IHOPers’ salvation. However, I do believe that as followers of G-d that we have a responsibility to test the fruit of those who claim to be his disciples. Are there those at IHOP that genuinely love the L-rd? I’m sure this is the case. Deception is no respecter of persons however. Anyone that doesn’t pursue the truth of G-d’s word wholeheartedly can fall into deception in many varying degrees. Where the fruit of following Him is not evidenced by those who claim to follow Him then we should be cautious about calling them something that their lifestyle does not prove to be congruent with.

  13. smilesback says:

    I find your writing and way of explaining the situation at IHOP to be clear and persuasive. I have been suspicious of them for years, yet have found it so hard to find information “in a nutshell” to send to those who think IHOP and their practices and “prophet-friends” are all great.

    Thank you so much for exposing the truth! Please keep on doing so, giving us information that we can send to others so that just maybe the scales can fall from their deceived eyes and hearts.


  14. seeker3k says:

    IHOP appears to be a nasty system of witchcraft, manipulation, and control, like putting yourself on one thread of a giant spider web waiting for the spider to come and bite you.

    Better I-HOP out of there as fast as possible!

    The IHOP cult methods appear similar to the way that YWAM (Youth With a Mission) has gone, Google “YWAM cult”.

    Gal 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

    Prov 29:25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.

    2 Tim 3:12-17 …. everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

    Rev 22:21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

  15. cheaperdozen says:


    During the early years of Mike Bickle’s original church, Kansas City Fellowhip, the main visiting prophet was a man named Augustine Acolla. He prophesied to Mike to move here and so begin this great move of God. How was this man explained in the histories you listened to? He was later dis-fellowshipped due to prophetic inaccuracies.

    Also, how were the pivotal prophecies regarding Pat Bickle’s healing stated in the history tapes? Do you recall this being mentioned? This miracle was going to usher in the whole end-time revival.

    One such revision occurred shortly after a wonderful pastor, at KCF, named Tim Golden, was killed in a car accident. Tim had just recently, prior to his death, been prophesied to regarding his being an “apostle to the nations”. After he died, this prophesy was immediately removed from the tapes. I know this to be true as the person who was asked to remove this prophecy told us first hand.

    I wish someone would explore/research this “redacting” element that appears to be present in the current histories. Part of the “wow” factor would be dispelled if people knew that the histories themselves have been grossly manipulated.

    Love your blog!

    • truthspeaker says:

      I listened to the 12 hours of Mike’s Encountering Jesus series. He says on that series that he doesn’t want to get into anything negative in specifics. Augustine is mentioned, but not anything about him being a false prophet. Pat Bickle is not mentioned and Tim Golden is mentioned, but nothing about the prophecies if I remember correctly.

    • Ariel says:

      Hello cheaperdozen! In the 18 hours of IHOP history we were required to listen to I don’t recall ever hearing anything about Augustine Acolla. The majority of the CDs were about Bob Jones, Paul Cain (among others) and some bizarre signs, dreams, “prophetic words” and other experiences that were used to validate IHOP’s existence and beliefs. Pat Bickle, to my recollection, was never mentioned. I remember when IHOP first started that there were prayer times (in the old IHOP trailer building) where Pat was mentioned as a prayer request for healing but shortly thereafter I never heard mention of him again. It would not surprise me in the least that the IHOP audio history was heavily edited. I have heard that from others as well. I agree that if the “real” history were shared, people would run…not walk away once their eyes were opened to what was really happening behind closed doors. Thanks for visiting my blog…and for sharing. Your comments are always welcome.

  16. Diane R says:

    And I thought Scientology was bad. For 15 years I’ve been saying that the Third Wave Charismatic movement is based on occultism and control. Perhaps I was correct in my assessment? This was so great…thanks for writing it.

  17. observant says:

    For those of us who have family involved in IHOP, words cannot express our gratitude. Thank you so much for your honesty and keeping this topic in the foreground.

    • Ariel says:

      You are so welcome. It means a lot to know that. I will do all I can to share my experience in the hopes that others don’t have to go through what I did.

  18. truthspeaker says:

    I’m looking forward to reading what you put together! Here’s a blog by my friend Cindy that might give you some info. If you’d like to talk to her I can set it up. She gave me a lot of insight on this topic!

  19. Laura says:

    8. The more leadership responsibility I was given as an intern, the more I got peeks into the “inside”. I saw the outer fringes of the internal operations of how IHOP functioned. I was on an IHOP dance team and sang as a chorus leader on a few worship teams. To dance, I had to follow a specific model that IHOP required. To sing, I had to attend the briefing/de-briefing meetings before and after each worship set where I saw first-hand how carefully controlled that the seemingly “spontaneous” aspects of worship were carefully calculated and often planned ahead of time.

    After several nights of watching the recent IHOP ‘awakening’ and onething web casts, I began to successfully predict what would happen next simply by watching the clock. It quickly became obvious the music would rise and fall on cue, ushering in whatever move-of-the-spirit the leadership had previously decided upon.

    I find it interesting that night after night, and hour after hour, the worship team had endless amounts of time for repetitious phrases like, “I will resist my high opinions” & “I resist my foolish thoughts” (which I interpreted as propaganda to re-enforce the legitimacy of the manifestations), but during a RARE teaching segment, featuring Lou Engle (an approximate 20-30 minute window during the 4 hour meeting), time was suddenly too limited to read even a few passages of scripture from the Bible.

    Pull the plug on the instruments and then watch most of the interns and staff go home!

    • Ariel says:

      Laura, you are right on the money. It is truly as predictable as you noted. Every staff person and intern is required to learn this method known as the “IHOP Harp & Bowl Model” of worship & prayer. It’s nothing more than dangerous mantra-like repetitions (like the chant you mentioned in your comment above) which dull the mind from being able to think critically. One easily gets caught up in the emotional high produced by their music and rational thought is dismissed as a “critical spirit”. Their “worship” is dangerously hypnotic.

      • truthspeaker says:

        You said: “One easily gets caught up in the emotional high produced by their music and rational thought is dismissed as a “critical spirit”. Their “worship” is dangerously hypnotic.”

        This is what I have been writing about and sounding the alarm about. This hypnotic state is actually physical and there is a change in the brain waves. The part of the brain that filters critical thought is BYPASSED! You are then completely open to what ever they teach as if you were actually hypnotized because you actually ARE!

        This does not just go for IHOP, but for anywhere this method is used. Add to that all the control factors imposed and you have a cult.

      • Ariel says:

        Agreed! I started researching that few years ago when I explained to someone that IHOP’s music had a hypnotic effect. Upon further study, I realized that this is EXACTLY what is happening. I’m working on putting this together in a post soon so stay tuned. And yes, the influence of this dangerous practice goes outside of the IHOP sphere.

    • sadparent says:

      I watched a service on Youtube and just KNEW the music wasn’t spontaneous. I’ve done church music for years way back and you can recognize it soooo easy. Why am I surprised???

  20. truthspeaker says:

    Great post Ariel. Thanks for putting it up! I pinged it already!

    I also wanted to point your attention to a new post I did yesterday on group think and mind control. I think you’ll find some of the info there conincides with what you went through!