Archive for the ‘Mike Bickle’ Category

I believe that the majority of what is labeled today as being “prophetic” is sadly the farthest thing from it. I believe this for a number of reasons…and these reasons are more than just the scope of my experience with the self-labeled “prophetic movement” that has been given its name by the leaders who spearhead it. The greatest of these reasons is that what I often hear being called “prophetic” does not line up with the tenets of scripture and also is not congruent with the nature and character of G-d and the uses for prophecy that scripture clearly defines.

The subject of prophecy is a vast and deep one and I’m sure none of us will get it “right” or fully comprehend it until we are with the Father and He makes known the fullness of it to us. We still very much see dimly (1 Corinthians 13:12).   So please understand that this post is by no means an exhaustive expository on the prophetic movement or prophecy as a whole. I’m simply hoping to illustrate the difference between what is often called “prophetic” with what G-d tells us in His word that this gift actually is and how it is to be rightly used to glorify HIM and not promote the agenda of man. You may have a differing view from the unique vantage point of your own experience but if we all humbly take our experiences and ideas and line them up with the word of G-d I would hope that we can come to the same conclusions and be united in the areas of our agreement. I just ask that you please understand in your commenting on this post that I realize I’m not presenting every side or bringing to light every issue that surrounds this topic.

Mike Bickle speaks often of “practicing the prophetic” like it’s a sport you train for or a kind of spiritual target practice you keep “trying” at.  But no where in scripture is prophesying something that we are taught to practice or get better at like a human skill in need of training.  It is a gift from G-d and it comes with an owner’s manual.  Prophecy was never designed to be yielded to the trial and error of personal experience.

G-d speaks quite clearly in His word about prophets presuming to speak things in His name.  In Deut 18:20 it records G-d saying ‘But if a prophet presumptuously speaks a word in my name which I didn’t order him to say, or if he speaks in the name of other gods, then that prophet must die.’  So it doesn’t sound like there’s a lot of trial and error room here for prophetic target practice.

Here is some of the dangerous “fruit” that accompanies abuses of prophecy:

1) A personal platform. There is the great tendency and ease with which one can speak their natural perspective, thoughts or ideas about a person or situation and simply say “Thus sayeth the L-rd” in front of them.  This adds “credibility” to one’s personal opinion and puts them seemingly above questioning because to question their “word” is to question what G-d said.

2) Merchandising.  For the past few years IHOPers have participated in psychic fairs under the guise of being prophets with “redeemed” giftings…as if to imply that they and the psychics use the same methods but that because psychics aren’t believers their “prophetic gift” is still unredeemed and is being used for the wrong kingdom. (read an IHOPers personal account of these psychic fairs here)

3) Promoting of personal agenda. On July 25, 2004 Mike Bickle got up on the platform in the prayer room to declare a 30 day fast. To promote the fast and get everyone’s buy in to get on board he had Paul Cain get up on the platform to talk about things G-d would pour out and do if people participated in the fast. This is an example of calling something prophecy and using another’s words to promote a personal agenda. (This was also when top IHOP leadership were aware of Paul’s alcoholic/homosexual lifestyle even though it wouldn’t go public to the masses until around Sept/Oct of that year. Paul was still used as a puppet to promote IHOP’s agenda because he still had status and reputation and who at IHOP was going to question what Paul Cain said?)

4) Making prophetic promises. I’ve been in a number of conferences where “prophesies” were cloaked spiritual promises–like dangling carrots to engage certain actions. I remember attending a Shawn Boltz conference in August 2004 where there was an altar call for people to have their prayer language changed so they could speak in new and different tongues to communicate with G-d on a higher level. There was a hook, a promise that if they would come out of their seats and fill the front and the aisles that G-d was going to do such and such. Everyone was asked to raise their hands and begin speaking in tongues so that new tongues would be transplanted as they spoke. Mike has also used altar calls to manipulate through emotion and making promises of what G-d was going to do if they came to the front. Mike’s most commonly used altar call has always been “if you feel….(a warmth, a fire, a tingling sensation, etc, etc.) then that’s the spirit of G-d touching you and we want to pray for you so come to the front”. A feeling meant G-d was doing something and they want to stir up that feeling so a promise would be made for what would happen if you came up for prayer and that suggestion would cause people to expect a certain manifestation. If you didn’t feel what Mike said then G-d wasn’t really touching you and you were left out of the altar ministry unless you just lied or faked it and went up anyway. Yeah, pretty twisted and convoluted. I know.

So let’s roll out a big black trash bag and sack the nonsense so many of us have been sold about what prophecy is. Let’s shred and burn this idea that prophecy is about goosebumps, getting emotional, having manifestations and buying into promises. There is not a shred of evidence in scripture of this anywhere so it’s quite safe to toss and chuck it up to being fabrications and creations of a deceived human nature.

Let’s see what scripture defines as prophecy and start there.

1) When a prophet spoke it was to draw people to repentance. (Ezek 14:6, 18:30; Acts 3:19, 8:22, etc)
Prophesy wasn’t about glitter and goosebumps or feel good, ear-tickling messages. It wasn’t a spiritual happy hour. Repentance was about calling people to line up their lives to G-d’s instructions and reminding them to obey what He had asked of them in order to spare them from judgment and destruction. It was a repentance that would bring about hope and healing and would restore people to right relationship with the Father.

2) Prophecy was in response and obedience to a direct command from G-d to do so.
Throughout the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel G-d gives specific instructions and tells the prophet to speak and prophesy specific things. Ezekiel 13:1-7 says:

1 The word of ADONAI came to me: 2 “Human being, prophesy against the prophets of Isra’el who prophesy. Tell those prophesying out of their own thoughts, ‘Listen to what ADONAI says! 3 Adonai ELOHIM says: “Woe to the vile prophets who follow their own spirits and things which they have not seen! 4 Isra’el, your prophets have been like jackals among ruins. 5 You [prophets] have not gone up to the breaks in the barricade or repaired it for the house of Isra’el, so that they can stand fast in battle on the day of ADONAI. 6 Their visions are futile and their divination is false; they say, ‘ADONAI says,’ when ADONAI has not sent them; yet they hope that the word will be confirmed. 7 Haven’t you had a futile vision and spoken a false divination when you say, ‘ADONAI says,’ and I have not spoken?

There is no account in scripture of a prophet speaking a word on their own initiative apart from an instruction from G-d to do so without an account of it going badly for them. G-d’s word must be spoken in the way G-d instructs because when we take things out of context and misrepresent Him by saying He said such and such , we are on dangerous ground because we are mishandling His word and will be held responsible.

3) Prophecy is the testimony of Jesus the Messiah recorded throughout scripture. (Rev 19:10) Jesus is in scripture from Genesis 1:1 on. He doesn’t suddenly insert himself into the human scene in the book of Matthew. The prophesies about the Messiah who would come and everything He would fulfill are recorded throughout the Torah (instructions) in the first 5 books of the Bible, the prophets, the Psalms, and so on. Prophecy was about the foretelling of the Messiah who was coming and once He came Jesus was the embodiment of that prophecy. He fulfilled many of the prophesies of Isaiah, King David and others in His first coming and will bring complete fulfillment to the remaining ones through His 2nd coming as scripture promises.

Prophecy is not ever to be used to manipulate a person into acting or doing what someone else wants. It should never be connected with monetary gain (such as paying for someone to prophesy over you). It should draw attention to G-d the Father and never be about promoting the “ministry” of the person speaking. It should lead people to repentance and deepen their trust in G-d. It always points to who the Messiah is and brings the light of truth and salvation to those who hear it.

Let us be wise and diligent to only call something prophecy when it lines up with what scripture teaches us that prophecy is for. Always test the spirit of what you hear and question any prophetic word that promotes self or exhibits the dangerous fruit mentioned above. Let us walk in the light of truth and use the gifts G-d gave us according to His instruction manual on how to use them.

[Click HERE for the latest post on the blog on “Obeying G-d: A Relationship Based on Truth Not Feelings”]

This post is just a question I have had which I once stepped back and asked myself:

Is it really just about intimacy and eschatology?

I remember coming to the realization one day that IHOP teaches their basic tenets and fundamental doctrines using primarily 5 books of the Bible: Song of Solomon, Daniel, Psalms, Joel, & Revelation. Their stated “themes” or over-arching messages are about romantic intimacy with G-d (otherwise known as “the Bridal Paradigm”) and the eschatology of the end times. How can you sum up the whole of scripture in those 2 teachings? From my viewpoint it is because they start with a ‘trunk’ of truth and add their own heresies as the branches. When people start to notice that the branches conflict with scripture and speak up, the leaders throw up a smokescreen and go back to citing how true the trunk is to defend their teaching. The trunk is the part they did take from scripture but unfortunately the final product has been so “genetically modified” that it doesn’t hold a candle to its original true form.

For example, take the intimacy with G-d themes from Song of Solomon that IHOP uses as their foundational message. Are there verses in scripture that talk about believers being the “bride” to their long-awaited Messiah? Yes, there are. However, when understood in context, these are references to the corporate body of believers being a bride…not individual lust-driven relationships between G-d and His people. IHOP leaders might deny that they teach this kind of intimacy with G-d but just listening to the lyrics of their music and the “love songs” that are sung in conferences and during worship sets and you’ll have a hard time convincing anyone that these subtler messages are not being promoted. So to illustrate my point: the “trunk” is the truth that G-d loves, cares for and protects His people the way a husband cares for and nurtures his wife. This is a picture of relational roles. The branches of deception that have been tacked on however are twistings of scripture and a misrepresentation of the kind of genuine and pure love that is illustrated throughout scripture and is congruent with the nature of the Father.

So we must be careful and watchful of what we allow ourselves to believe. When any church or ministry builds a spiritual fort around a single theme, pet doctrine or paradigm of G-d and camps out there let that be a red flag to you. G-d is FAR bigger than any box or paradigm we could try to define Him by. Our finite minds can grapple for all of eternity and never comprehend the vast wonder of the One who has created us. We dishonor Him by summing him up in such shallow regard. May He give us ears to hear and know His truth and eyes to see Him as He truly is.

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.

There are a number of different signs and symptoms or what I call the “red flags” of a cult. Among these is a secret language.

The reason I say it’s a secret is because the commonly used definitions for what a word means are substituted and traded out for meanings that only the inner circle of the group know…thus making it a coded language that members can communicate with.

As the link I sited above illustrates, it’s a careful bait & switch technique of taking an intangible concept or something vague and illusive and altering its meaning to fit with the propaganda of a group.

Let’s take for example the way IHOP uses a glossary of romantic, intensely emotional and spiritual sounding words for which they give their own set of meanings. You won’t find these in a Websters anywhere. They have taken a word that you or I might think we know the meaning of and use it to mean something different. Because what initially comes to mind is the commonly known definition, you might mentally assent and agree with what is being said…but if you knew the underlying definition, you’d probably think differently before nodding in agreement.

In the time I was an intern at IHOP, I lived in a swirl of these very spiritually saturated, emotion-inducing words. Just saying them brought electricity into a conversation and others would immediately nod in identification. But if you step back and look at the conversation objectively, you will realize it made no logical sense and seems to in fact, say nothing. Mike Bickle is a very passionate orator who can stir and rally a crowd with a devoted Messiah-like following. I once, to illustrate a point to someone, pulled up a video of Bickle speaking on YouTube. In the 9 minute video I could cite 1 by 1 the inconsistencies and unbiblical claims he was making. I stopped counting after I reached 12. But the spiritual sounding content contained no truth-based substance, just a lot of really intense terminology.

I am going to give you a paragraph below including some commonly used IHOP verbiage. I will then break down its interpretation below. After that, you can go directly to IHOP’s website to view the way they define these terms.

“I just believe I have an Anna anointing and I’m called to be in the presence. The Spirit is moving in the house and I want to be a part of that. I know I was made for this. I am called to a forefunner ministry and the prayer room has been a womb where I have grown into my destiny. My church back home doesn’t understand or get me. My parents don’t get me. They are part of a different generation and they don’t understand the apostolic intercession I am called to. I am the beloved’s and His desire is for me. He is my bridegroom and he is awakening my heart with a spirit of burning and desire drips from his Word. I want him to kiss me with the kisses of his mouth. I want him to break in like a hammer–to break in like a fire and bring signs and wonders through my life. He has ravished me. I am captivated by the God-man and by His beauty I am undone. I am lovesick for him and I believe we are entering the time of open heaven. I am calling out “COME!” and He will answer. Until then, I will be a 24/7 watchman on the wall.”

If you are unfamiliar with IHOP or their terminology. The above paragraph no doubt confused you entirely. But for those who have had some exposure to the way IHOP uses these words, this is probably vaguely familiar. I have had nothing to do with IHOP since I left but I could walk back in tomorrow and strike up a conversation with a total stranger there using the terms I just wrote into the above paragraph and they would nod in complete agreement and understanding. This is their language I would be speaking. They are drilled with it, indoctrinated with it. It comes with the package.

If you are curious how IHOP themselves define these words, you can click HERE to go to their glossary. Yes, they actually have a glossary of frequently used IHOP-KC words on their website (which they might take down now that I’ve linked to it also). It will give what they want you to think those words all mean. Just to cover the bases though, I’ll copy and paste the article below the line of stars. Let me help a bit in the decoding some of terms used.

“I just believe I have an Anna anointing (a way of saying you are called to be at IHOP) and I’m called to be in the presence (living in the eurphoria of God’s presence constantly by living a life of intercession in IHOP’s prayer room). The Spirit (what spirit is the question though) is moving in the house (the house is another way of saying the prayer room or the missions base of IHOP) and I want to be a part of that. I know I was made for this (I was created to be a part of this movement). I am called to a forefunner ministry (I have a special calling and a secret knowledge of things to come and I am called to lead out ahead of the church and warn and prepare others based upon what I know about the end times. I am making a way for God’s return. I will help usher that in.) and the prayer room has been a womb where I have grown into my destiny (a hyper spiritual way of saying I feel like I belong here, and am growing in the understanding of my real “calling and vocation in God”.) My church back home doesn’t understand or get me (IHOP programming). My parents don’t get me (IHOP programming). They are part of a different generation (young people are given this narcissistic complex of being more special and anointed than their parents or previous generations)and they don’t understand the apostolic intercession (I am called to chant prayers over and over again that were taken from letters Paul wrote in the hopes that praying them will make me apostolic) I am called to. I am the beloved’s and His desire is for me (I have a romantic relationship with God). He is my bridegroom (He is not just a bridegroom to the body of Christ. He’s my personal husband–worth taking a vow of celibacy and not getting married for) and he is awakening my heart (I am experiencing a new emotional surge rushing through me) with a spirit of burning (a feeling of intensity and a constant sense of striving after a spiritual high I can’t seem to touch) and desire drips from his Word (He has romantic feelings about me). I want him to kiss me with the kisses of his mouth (He is awakening romantic feelings in me that makes me see God differently than before). I want him to break in like a hammer–to break in like a fire (do something radical to reach me because He is so far away that He has to struggle to get to where I am. I am out of reach.) and bring signs and wonders (emphasis always given to what gets attention, stirs emotion, and enlists devoted followers) through my life. He has ravished me (back to romantic terminology). I am captivated by the God-man (God man is their 2 gods into one term rather than viewing God as one and the Messiah, Jesus, as an extension of Himself in human form where the Word takes on human flesh.) and by His beauty I am undone (romantic term for the affection felt toward God). I am lovesick for him (I feel an emotional low and need Him to give me another high. I feel empty and need Him to create a stimulating experience so I can feel him again) and I believe we are entering the time of open heaven (fascination with the supernatural–continually chasing after any vision or experience and stamping it as being “of God”.) I am calling out “COME!” and He will answer.(He will return to earth sooner if I pray harder) Until then, I will be a 24/7 watchman on the wall.” (I will be committed to being in the prayer room continually until He does)

Now of course, this isn’t usually what someone is thinking at the moment they are saying these things. But the interjected comments are the byproduct of what happens when you start believing that particular phrase or word. That’s the subliminal message that comes with it.

I went ahead and copied directly from IHOP-KC’s website below so scroll down for IHOP’s definitions of the terms above as how they say they use them.  (Sorry it’s long. My post resumes again below IHOP’s alphabetical glossary)


“We’ve tried to make it easy for you to follow along with IHOP–KC prayers, teachings, and songs by compiling this reference dictionary with the most commonly used phrases and terms at IHOP–KC.

age to come. The epoch after this current historical time frame; the age to come encompasses the millennial kingdom and eternity. See also end times, eternal age, millennial kingdom, and second coming.

Anna anointing. Referring to Anna who “did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day” (Lk. 2:36–38). In application, this refers to the grace to spend long hours in prayer with fasting and to sustain it for many years. “Annas” are men and women, old and young, whose primary ministry is fasting and prayer aimed at changing the spiritual atmosphere of a city or nation. This is not necessarily their only ministry—Anna did the work of an evangelist and was a prophetess; she is recorded as the first evangelist in the New Testament.

A special grace, blessing or extreme unction from God.

antiphonal singing. Alternate singing between two or more singers or groups of singers. Examples of antiphonal singing include the seraphim who sing “holy” (Isa. 6:3) as well the Levitical choirs (Ezra 3:11; Neh. 12:24). The idea of “responsive” singing comes from Ezra 3:11: “And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord: ‘For He is good, For His mercy endures forever toward Israel.’ Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” The concept of “alternate” singing comes from Nehemiah 12:24: “And the heads of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua the son of Kadmiel, with their brothers across from them, to praise and give thanks, group alternating with group, according to the command of David the man of God.”

apostolic intercession. Intercessory prayer to God on behalf of others derived from the apostles’ prayers written in the New Testament, which reflect the desires of God’s heart for the people. Common examples of apostolic prayers are Ephesians 1:17–19, Philippians 1:9–11 and Matthew 6:9–13. A small collection of key apostolic prayers can be found in our Resources >> Foundational Teachings section. Because of the divine and positive nature of the apostolic prayers, IHOP–KC uses these portions of Scripture daily in intercession.

awaken love. A prayer, asking to be filled with God’s love (see Eph. 3:16–19); to cause love or passion for God to be stirred up; to come alive to God in the deepest part of your life (Song 2:7).

awakened heart. A state of living and being in God in such a way that your spirit and emotions are alive and responsive to Him (Isa. 61:1; Song 2:10).

beloved. Seen regularly in the Song of Songs and in the gospel of John, this term initially refers to how God views human beings—they are His beloved. Secondarily, it refers to how human beings grow to view God—He becomes their beloved. This emotional exchange between God and His creation carries the most weight when it is birthed from the bridal paradigm.

break in like a fire and like a hammer. A prayer sung at IHOP–KC prayer sessions, asking the Lord to break into people’s lives with His Word (Jer. 23:29).

bridal paradigm. A term used to describe a view of God presented in Scripture which reveals God as passionate and emotional, and filled with gladness, affection, and beauty. Whether Jew or Gentile, the redeemed are described in the Bible as the Bride of Christ, while Jesus is presented as a passionate Bridegroom who loves the redeemed and laid down His life for them. By the Father’s design and the Son’s passionate work on the cross, the Holy Spirit is bringing forth a remnant out of the human race to be voluntary lovers of God. These redeemed, the Bride of Christ, will co-rule in intimate relationship forever with Jesus, the Bridegroom God.

Bridegroom, King, and Judge. Three specific faces of God that are currently being emphasized, and will be increasingly emphasized as this age draws to an end.

bridegroom fasting. Another dimension of glory that Jesus added to the doctrine of fasting (Mt. 9:15). In this way, fasting is not simply abstaining; instead it becomes the expression of longing and mourning for the presence of the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

Bridegroom God. This refers to Jesus Christ when He spoke of Himself as the Bridegroom (Mk. 2:19–20).

burning heart. A person who is filled with the love and passion of God (see Isa. 64:1–2); a heart in fellowship with Jesus in prayer (Jn. 5:35).

captivated/fascinated/ravished heart. In the context of the bridal paradigm, this refers to someone who is wholeheartedly in love with God. In the natural, this refers to a heart moved with deep emotion and love, due to the actions of their lover (Song 4:9).

Daniel anointing. A special grace to enter into extended periods of fasting and prayer, specifically seeking revelation as to the meaning and implications of dreams, visions, or other divine communications regarding the end times (Dan. 1:1–12:13).

David(ic) anointing. Generally refers to the combining of the kingly and priestly anointing; a person after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14).

divine escort. Overarching phrase describing some of the attributes of the Holy Spirit as He accompanies the redeemed through life. Other common terms include helper, comforter, and guide (Jn. 14:15–27, 16:5–14).

end times. Also known as the end of the age; this is the generation in which the Lord will return—the final decades of this current era of human history in which many major events occur: “the birth pains” begin, the temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem; the Antichrist is revealed; the abomination that causes desolation is set up in the temple; the seals, trumpets, and bowls are released; a worldwide revival is led by the Church, etc. The end times will culminate with Jesus’ physical second coming as He establishes His literal millennial reign on earth, followed by the eternal age.

eternal age. The final time frame spoken of in the Bible, also called eternity. The redeemed and the triune God are continually in each other’s presence forever, while those rejecting Jesus will spend their eternity in the lake of fire.

fasted lifestyle. Voluntarily choosing a lifestyle of simplicity which limits various things in life: food, money, or accumulation of things, status, recognition, etc. While the rewards are primarily internal and spiritual, they are eternal (Isa. 58:1–14; Mt. 6:18, 9:14–17; 1 Cor. 2:10).

fire of God. God’s presence sent as a judge to burn away everything that hinders His love, thus enabling individuals to follow the first and second great commandments.

first and great commandment. “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Mt. 22:37–40). Also referred to as making God your first love (Rev. 2:4) or the one thing necessary (Lk. 10:42).

forerunner. A person who goes ahead of the Lord and prepares people for His coming (Isa. 40:1–31; Lk. 1:76). John the Baptist and the prophet Isaiah are two biblical examples of the forerunner ministry. See also see John the Baptist.

forerunner ministry. The purpose of this ministry is to announce the unprecedented activities of the Lord that are soon to come, in order to make sense of what is happening and what is about to happen. The forerunner ministry has three main activities at the end of the age: restoring the first and great commandment to first place, releasing miracles to bring in the great harvest, and releasing the temporal judgments of God.

friend of the Bridegroom. Jesus Christ referred to Himself as the Bridegroom. John the Baptist referred to himself as a friend of the Bridegroom who stands and hears the Bridegroom’s voice and is glad (Jn. 3:29, 15:14–15); this is the primary identity of a forerunner.

God-man. Referring to the divine and human origin of Jesus Christ; He is fully God and fully man.

governmental intercession. Intercessory prayer to God on behalf of a people by a representative of the people (Neh. 1:3–11; Dan. 9:4–20).

harp and bowl model. An IHOP–KC term derived from Revelation 5:8, describing the elders before the throne with harps (representing worship with music) and a bowl of incense (representing the prayers of God’s people). It is the basic model of IHOP–KC’s prayer meetings—combining worship (led by worship teams) and prayer (both personal and corporate). IHOP–KC utilizes two harp and bowl formats: worship with the Word and intercessory worship.

intercessory worship. One of two prayer formats used at IHOP–KC: a worship team provides an anointed atmosphere for people to intercede for various corporate prayer concerns. See also harp and bowl model.

John the Baptist. One who announced the unprecedented activities of the Lord that were soon to happen. John described himself as a friend of the Bridegroom, which is the fundamental identity of a forerunner (Jn. 3:29). John is the chief representation of the forerunner ministry. Jesus described John as “a burning and shining lamp” (Jn. 5:35).

Joseph anointing. Referring to those called to prosper in the marketplace so that they might make provision to “preserve life” (Gen. 45:5) in the time when God releases His end-time judgments on the earth. These “Josephs” will have the anointing to release the prophetic, strategic thinking, and mercy deeds to the nations, impacting leaders and building “cities of habitation” (Ex. 1:11). King Cyrus is another example of this, but with the emphasis placed on building the Lord’s house (the temple) by releasing incredible wealth into the kingdom (Isa. 44:24–28, 45:1–13, and the many references throughout the book of Daniel; 2 Chron. 36:22–23; Ezra 1:1–2:70.) For deeper discussion of this topic, see the October 2005 JoCo Journal).

kiss me with the kisses of your Word. A prayer, taken from Song of Songs 1:2, asking that, as people read the Scripture, God would reveal His love, affections, and beauty so as to empower holiness and love for Him (Song 1:2–4; Jn. 17:17; Eph. 1:17).

. Overwhelmed by love for God (Song 2:5, 5:8).

the love song of your heart. The special song that no one else but you can sing to God because of your uniqueness in God and your love for Him (Ps. 139:13–18); it is accompanied by being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18–19).

Mary of Bethany
. A friend and follower of Jesus Christ; Mary was representative of one who follows the first and great commandment; she lived a fasted lifestyle of pure and simple devotion to Jesus Christ; she sat at the feet of Jesus (Lk. 10:38–42); Jesus spent His final days before His crucifixion in Bethany with Mary and Martha, and their brother Lazarus whom He had raised from the dead (Jn. 12:1–3).

millennial kingdom or millennial reign of Christ. At the culmination of human history, Jesus Christ will return to earth and set up His literal, physical 1,000-year reign from the global capital city of Jerusalem; a theocratic government under Jesus Christ, with Jews and redeemed martyrs in positions of authority.

night and day prayer/intercession. In Isaiah 62:6–7, Isaiah prophesied that intercession would continue twenty-four hours a day; this is part of God’s answer to Satan who accuses the Church night and day (Rev. 12:10).

one thing necessary. Jesus’ validation of Mary’s choice to sit at His feet and hear His words: “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Lk. 10:42).

open heaven. A pronounced increase, in a particular season, of the supernatural invading the natural; examples throughout Scripture include Genesis 28:12, Exodus 24:9–11, Ezekiel 1:1–3:27, John 1:51; Revelation 1:1–20.

prophecy. Any God-inspired testimony of Jesus (Rev. 19:10), including (but not exclusive to) the written Scriptures; the key to understanding God’s voice is to know His heart.

prophetic anointing. A supernatural skill or gift given to a person by God in order to receive and understand divine information.

prophetic worship. Used within the harp and bowl model of worship and intercession. During worship, discerned themes that the Holy Spirit is emphasizing (holiness, healing, deliverance, etc.) are expressed, with opportunities for ministry (Zech. 4:6; Jn. 3:1–8; Jas. 5:13–16).

prophetic singing. The spontaneous singing of phrases that develop different themes (love, holiness, justice, etc.) found in a passage of Scripture. This occurs during all the IHOP–KC prayer meetings.

second coming
. The literal, physical return of Christ to earth, specifically to Jerusalem, to begin His millennial reign.

second (and great) commandment. “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Mt. 22:37–40).

Simeon Company
. IHOP–KC internship program; refers to a group of people in the 50+ age group who come to IHOP–KC for a three-month training program (Mal. 4:6).

sing to the Lord. One of the most reiterated commands in the Bible (Ex. 15:21; 2 Sam. 22:50; 1 Chr. 16:9, 23; 2 Chr. 20:21; Ps. 7:17, 9:2, 18:49, 30:4, 33:3, 47:6, 67:4, 81:1, 89:1, 95:1, 98:1; 1 Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).

spirit of burning. IHOP–KC phrase; this is a cycle of maintaining a passionate desire for Jesus so that you are in a place of emotional pain whenever He is absent; hope and excited expectancy because of the knowledge that He loves to come to the hungry and thirsty heart; real experiential encounters with His beauty and presence causing you to have an even greater desire to be close to Jesus (Mt. 22:37; Lk. 24:13–32).

tabernacle of David. David established a worship ministry in which he set 4,000 musicians and 288 prophetic singers before the ark of the covenant (1 Chr. 15:1, 16:1–6, 23:5, 25:7, 37–42). The “restoration of the tabernacle of David” refers to Jesus establishing His throne in Jerusalem at the second coming and ruling the earth in the context of prayer and worship (Isa. 56:7; Amos 9:11–15).

. A form of government based on God’s direct guidance and His righteous laws.

urgency of the hour. The understanding that time is short before Jesus’ second coming; Jesus’ return is inevitable and will happen very soon. Therefore, this time in human history is like no other. Each person is being invited to “repent, for the Kingdom of God is near” (Mt. 3:2; 4:17; Mk. 1:15; Lk. 13:1–5).

unveiled. Unashamed, corporate and individual interaction between the Bride and the Bridegroom God (Song 1:7; 2 Cor. 3:18).

watchman/watchmen. Refers to the requirement for us to watch over the Body of Christ while having a discerning, biblical understanding of end-time events. Our privileged calling is to intercede for God’s people and to co-partner with God’s unfolding plans in this final hour of human history, hastening the day of Jesus’ coming, our Savior and Bridegroom (Isa. 62:6–7).

watch and pray. This is a requirement that we live as wise sons and daughters, understanding the times and seasons in which we live, interceding accordingly, that we might not misunderstand what He is doing, but remain focused on His will and His affections (Rom. 13:11–14; Col. 4:2). The sons of Issachar (also called the men of Issachar) are examples of this (1 Chr. 12:32; Mt. 26:41; Mk. 14:38; Lk. 21:36).

worship with the Word. One of two prayer formats used at IHOP–KC: a worship team provides an anointed atmosphere for people to meditate on the Word in a focused time of study; the worship team selects a passage to sing through antiphonally as they expound on the themes within each verse, thus “worshiping with the Word.” See also harp and bowl model.

Zechariah 3
. Referring to the exchange between Joshua the high priest and the Angel of the Lord. The removal of the filthy garments in exchange for “a clean turban on his head” refers to the renewal of the mind, a clean and pure thought life, and holiness before the Lord.

24/7. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week; unceasing or continuous.”

[end of article]

It’s one thing to just mis-define a word. But if you give it your own definition and then use it in a new context than it’s original definition required, you can develop a whole allusively vague language that only a select few can understand. I have literally listened to people from IHOP who can sit and carry on an entire conversation using the words I mentioned above and an eavesdropper in a coffee shop would think they were speaking Chinese. It is a poetic language which is intentionally made to be vague so that the definitions can be altered at any time it is necessary and because it’s using a word already introduced, it will feel familiar and through the power of suggestion, the words will be put together and given new definitions will be adopted without question. See how dangerous this is?

Charismatic speakers and leaders who can use emotionally stirring words and speeches, sermons and monologues to move a crowd or lead a movement, you hold the power to persuade people to do just about anything you suggest.

Here’s a few you have heard more frequently from someone that’s not Mike Bickle.

“Yes We Can”
“It’s Time for Change”
“Hope is now”

Every time I asked someone who quoted one of these phrases during the last campaign to please explain to me what they meant, I never got an answer. But read the words. They are rallying words. They are emotionally stimulating and move people to engage. I’m not intending to take this post a political direction. That isn’t the purpose or the subject I’m highlighting. I simply want to illustrate how simple it is to tack a new meaning to a word and create a catchy, yet vague phrase and then sell it to the masses.

So now take some that I mentioned above:

Kiss me with your word
Let your spirit of burning come
I am lovesick for you
Awaken divine desire

Same sense of vague emotional sensationalism…but no real content to the message. You can make it mean anything you want. “Let your spirit of burning come” might sound really intense and spiritual and like a good thing but I want to interject a word of caution here. These are not just things being talked about, they are terms being daily prayed for people…spoken over their lives. Leaders lay hands on a 16 year old and pray for a spirit of burning to come upon them. Now stop and ask yourself: do we really know what spirit that is imparting when it doesn’t line up with the name of any spirit God says to ask for or pray for. Jesus didn’t lay hands on His disciples and pray that a spirit of burning would come upon them. Sometimes you just have to stop and take off the hyper spiritualized glasses we are sometimes told to look through and just evaluate very plainly and logically whether this is something you want to have imparted when there isn’t a Biblical instruction or support to pray such a think over someone.

A quick word study reveals that scripture uses the word burning in a quite different way than the definition IHOP gives to it. The following ways are just the main themes that repeated themselves throughout the Bible:

Burning coal
Burning fire on an altar
Burning a city
Burning with anger
Burning sulfur
Burning fire in hell
Burning incense
Burning bush
Burning zeal
Burning like an oven
Burning stick
Burning with jealousy

The majority of uses in scripture of the word burning were either in regards to God burning with righteous anger or jealousy or the burning of judgement and destruction. Yes, I’ve certainly prayed that God would help me to make choices which guarded my heart from the things that would hinder my walk with Him, my sensitivity to be able to hear from Him, etc. But that is not the same thing as praying for an impartation of a spirit called Burning. Do you see the difference?

I could take these apart word by word but I think this is a start to begin to highlight the differences between the commonly used definition of a word based upon a dictionary and the way a spiritual sub-culture redefines those same words to put their own propaganda on them. It’s all about selling a different message. If we don’t guard carefully the things we buy into because we think we know what something means then we can fall prey to some very dangerous ideas and ways of thinking.

Remember that deception is deceptive and those that think they can’t be deceived already are.

Feel free to post comments of some words with twisted meanings you have come across as well. I’m mostly familiar with IHOP’s terminology but if you have experienced something similar whether from IHOP or another organization, feel free to share. Blessings to you!

One of IHOP’s professed teachings on prayer is the introduction of “contemplative prayer”.

Below are quotes from Mike Bickle on contemplative prayer:

· “Every one in the Body Of Christ is called to live lives of contemplative prayer…”

· “Everybody is called to live in the contemplative lifestyle. Everyone! Everyone! Everyone! That’s one of the great strongholds we have to overcome (resistance to contemplative prayer).

· “…contemplative prayer, you gotta get over that hurdle! Barnes & Noble is prophesying it! Hurtle one we gotta understand it’s for everybody! Everybody is called to the fullness (contemplative prayer). We’re all going to go into this thing!” –audio message Contemplative Prayer pt1 by Mike Bickle

Many have asked me: So what is this contemplative prayer thing? What does that mean? Well, I have provided a brief definition below as well as links for you to do your own research into this dangerous new age teaching that has leaked its way into the body. This practice has become part of the “new” doctrine being presented by IHOP and other ministries. Contemplative prayer (also known by the term ‘centering prayer’) is simply a re-packaged heresy taught by the Roman Catholic church as far back as the 17th century. It was distilled into a prayer model and rose in popularity in the 1970’s. (Click here for web source)

One source explains it this way:

“Contemplative prayer, also known as “centering prayer,” is a meditative practice where the practitioner focuses on a word and repeats that word over and over for the duration of the exercise. According to Catholic priest Thomas Keating, this is how it is done: “Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within. Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God’s presence and action within. When you become aware of thoughts, return ever so gently to the sacred word. At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.

Although this might sound like an innocent exercise, this type of “prayer” has no scriptural support whatsoever. In fact, it is just the opposite of how prayer is defined in the Bible. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6, NLT). “At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. The truth is, you can go directly to the Father and ask him, and he will grant your request because you use my name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy” (John 16:23-24, NLT). These verses, and others, clearly portray prayer as being comprehensible communication with God, not an esoteric, mystical meditation.” (Click here for source)

Anyone with an understanding of how the Bible teaches us to pray and a basic knowledge of the new age movement can clearly detect where this teaching is heretical at its core. So how has this been re-packaged and re-used in churches and congregations today? Simple. By inserting God’s name and the use of scripture to bring the believer into a “higher form of consciousness in prayer”. Um, hello. Red flags going off here for anyone else?

Some have argued that this is innocent and doesn’t really mean the same thing that new age teaches. Well I argue that with this analogy: if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quack’s like a duck, it’s a duck!

So, re-cycling, re-packaging and re-naming a doctrine something more “listener friendly” doesn’t take it from its skewed meaning and make it suddenly okay. There is no scriptural foundation for this heretical teaching. If this were the highest form of prayer that humanity could enter into, wouldn’t it have been what Jesus taught when he walked the earth??

Time and time again, I’ve heard Mike and other leaders/teachers at IHOP take scripture out of context to support the new teaching they were introducing. One such twisting in relationship to contemplative prayer is Matthew 6:6 which says “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Well clearly, Jesus is talking about not praying to be seen but to remember that communication with the Father is about a one-on-one dialog. This verse however has been twisted at IHOP to refer to contemplative prayer by stating that this “inner room” you are to go into to pray is actually yourself. They say that this verse supports the teaching of contemplative prayer because you are to retreat into your own spirit to pray.

If the above wasn’t convincing enough, click HERE to read IHOP’s detailed explanation of the different methods of contemplative prayer that they teach. This is directly from IHOP’s website.

This is just one of many new-age/mystical practices that has found its way into the body by simply re-naming the components so as to deceive those hearing it. Uncover its roots and you’ll see it in it’s original packaging. It’s like doing a cosmetic touch-up on a house that has been condemned and boarded up. When the paint starts cracking and the wallpaper comes down, you begin to see what it was before. Let us not stray away from the simplicity of devotion to our Lord (2 Cor 11:3)

For further research, here are a few other sources. I do not necessarily endorse these particular sites or ministries so please read for yourself with discernment and an open ear to the voice of God. Some sites below are PRO-contemplative prayer and will teach it with a different spin. Others are anti-contemplative prayer. But I thought you might be interested in seeing it from both perspectives.


In the physical world we live in,
where the foundation of something is not secure,
invading problems have a port of entry.

For example, cracks in a building’s foundation
compromise the integrity of a building.
Cracks unsettle the structure and can weaken interior walls.
Bugs, termites and other intruders make their way
into a home that isn’t well protected, stable and strong.

In the same way, when the spiritual foundations in our lives,
homes or ministries are compromised, there are open cracks
for the enemy to enter and bring in an entourage
of confusion, deception, lies, delusions and much more.

I’ve been asked many times about what I’ve seen and experienced
in the time I was on staff as an intern at the International House
of Prayer (IHOP) here in Kansas City.
One of the major cracks in IHOP’s faulty foundation
is their return in many ways to the New Age roots of Catholicism.
The saints, patriarchs and characters of scripture
are the ones idolized, emulated and worshiped.

Everyone is encouraged to be a “Mary” at the feet of Jesus
or an “Anna” in the temple or a “David” (ie: worshiper).
The focus is not on being like Jesus.
It’s about being like a particular Bible character.
Jesus is not the primary focus…becoming like a person is.
Catholics worship Mary
IHOP-ers worship the pillar figures that have become a staple
part of their doctrine.

Another example of this is seen in IHOP’s
erroneous interpretation of the book of Song of Solomon.

The book of Song of Solomon is held above the rest of scripture as the primary way G-d relates to His people. This makes G-d out to be a sexual, lovesick, love-struck, hormone-driven teenager who is so “captivated” and “awestruck” that He longs after humanity and is running around Heaven going crazy without her.

The relationship G-d has to Israel is likened to that of a marriage in a few places in scripture…but it’s with the nation of Israel as a whole…it’s not an individual romance between God and a person. The book of Song of Solomon is written about the natural marriage relationship between husband and wife as written by Solomon about his own marriage. It is not the blueprint of Christianity or the primary starry-eyed, lustful way that IHOP paints G-d’s view of His people.

On 9/24/07, an ex-ihoper shares on a blog forum that as part of the required reading curriculum at IHOP’s Forerunner School of Ministry, students have to read a book called “The The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus” written by a Franciscan Priest named Brennan Manning.  Chapter six expounds on the belief of the author that “God is sexually aroused by His people.”  This led students to confessing that reading this book caused them to have sexual thoughts…which they forced themselves to excuse away by telling themselves “well, God feels this way so it’s ok”.  When Allen Hood (the school’s president) was confronted about the book, he refused to pull it from the shelves or from the required reading material of the class.  His response was simply to “chew on the meat and spit out the bones”.  This is the kind of dangerous thinking that causes many in cults such as IHOP to have a passive mind.  They come under a learned helplessness and lose all ability to filter and discern between truth and error.

This theology which is a staple teaching of IHOP also forces men to relate to G-d in a feminine way with G-d being his lover. G-d never intended for men to sacrifice their masculinity in order to worship Him. He does not place men into feminine roles. I’ve heard Mike say things like “when we say ‘kiss me with the kisses of your mouth’ we simply mean ‘kiss me with the kisses of your word’.
No where in scripture is this interpretation supported or taught as a way of G-d relating to the heart of His creation. That verse does not say “kiss me with the kisses of your word.” This is IHOP’s translation of this verse which they tacked on to make it mean what they want it to mean.

It’s a deeply sobering and serious thing to take a verse, passage or book in the Bible and re-draw the lines of meaning and interpretation to propagate your own theology and teach your spin on scripture. G-d is pretty clear in His word about how He desires it to be interpreted. He warns against his Word not being added to or taken from. To mis-interpret scripture is to mis-interpret and mis-represent
the heart of the One who wrote it.

(see also this website article titled “Mike Bickle’s Romantic Jesus”)