International House of Prayer IHOP – 12 Testimonies of Truth

What are real people who have experienced IHOP for themselves saying now?  RUN!   There are literally hundreds of testimonies just like these, and I will continue to share them periodically.  For now, I pulled the twelve that touched my heart the most.

I will not share names or pertinent information unless the people have given me permission to do so, but here are twelve testimonies of encounters with IHOP.

One mother wrote:  “My daughter attended summer camp at IHOP KC and she came home emaciated and sick and ended up being hospitalized for two days. Not only did that cost us a fortune, but my daughter is in therapy trying to overcome the demons she saw Mike Bickle casting out of people. She told her leader that she wanted to go home but they wouldn’t allow her to have her cell phone back to call me and they punished her by making her do extra journaling assignments. When she told them she was feeling sick, they accused her of trying to get out of her assignments. She told her father and I that they announced they were calling a mandatory fast and the leaders got to eat but her group didn’t eat for a day and a half.”

A former IHOP staff member wrote:  “At first I thought IHOP was the answer to my prayers because it felt so incredible and I felt so close to the Lord.  But things began to change when I started questioning some of the practices and teachings.  I was pulled into a private room with several members of the leadership team, including Mike Bickle and reprimanded for my doubt.  I was then told to increase my time in the prayer room and strongly encouraged toward a mandatory fast despite the fact that I was pregnant at the time.”

A former IHOP leadership team member stated:  “I met with Mike Bickle and two other people on the leadership team because I was feeling uncomfortable in my spirit with some of the things I was seeing and hearing about.  I was told that because I was in mere infancy in the Lord that I was to trust their wisdom implicitly and that it was Satan planting seeds of doubt in my mind.  They told me that questioning the authority God had placed in my life would only open myself up to demonic impressions.”

A young woman who attended a summer camp at IHOP KC wrote this:  “I’ve never seen demons before but they were everywhere and people were acting like it was normal to cast them out.  I was raised differently and it wasn’t normal for me. I went to my group leader and told her that I wanted to go home.  I was crying and scared and she rebuked my spirit of fear and told me I would be able to leave when the camp was over.  I cried all night and the next day my leader said she had consulted with the leadership team and they felt that I needed fast that whole day and  to journal about my fear and confront the demons in my mind.  I begged to be able to call my mom and go home but they wouldn’t let me.”

In a New York Times article, the reporter stated:  “Some former students have complained that the sensory overload and isolation had left them unable to think for themselves, and that some leaders had urged them to avoid contact with skeptical parents.”

A note from a former IHOP University Student:  “I spent two years at IHOP, first just attending prayer sessions and then actually enrolling in the university.  I thought it was really cool at first.  I felt really close to God especially when we were singing and worshipping in the prayer room.  It was almost a euphoric kind of feeling. But then I started to have doubts about all the prophesy stuff and I didn’t agree with how they were teaching people to prophesy like it was a learned craft instead of a gift from God.  I started to study my Bible and realized a lot of the stuff being taught by high up leaders wasn’t right and it started to scare me.  I now know that the euphoric feeling I had wasn’t God, it came from something dark. I hope other people get out because it’s a scary place.”

Stephanie Gerard, age 27, said that she was asked to leave the Bible school two years ago after she started challenging her teachers’ fascination with mystical “signs and wonders,” and that after months of praying and fasting, “I sounded like a clone.”

An IHOP intern wrote:  “I thought it was the best place on earth until it hit me one day that I wasn’t meditating on the word of God like the Bible says to, I was using the Bible to meditate and empty my mind and reach different spiritual levels.  A friend of mine called what I was doing transcendental meditation and showed me how dangerous it is when you tap into the spiritual realm to go deeper like that. It isn’t God you find even though at first it feels really good, it turns really bad.  I was lucky to get out and I pray every day for the people I know that are still trapped.”

One mother wrote:  “I lost my son to the IHOP movement and haven’t spoken to him in two years. When he went there as an intern I noticed a change in his behavior right away.  He was arrogant toward me and my son was never that way.  Even in his rebellious youth he was never disrespectful or arrogant toward me.  I drove four hours to the IHOP campus and asked to see my son, but they told me that he didn’t want to see me.  I tried to see him for over an hour before I left devastated.  A few hours later my son called me and told me that he had sought higher counsel and they informed him not to speak to me or anyone else in the family.  His leadership team told him that his family would not understand him and would only cause him to doubt.  My heart is broken and my life has been devastated.  I tried to talk to the leadership at IHOP, but they would not return my calls.  I wrote letters to Mike Bickle and never received a response.  I spoke to the local police and was told that my son is there willingly and there is nothing they can do.  IHOP is a cult and I pray every man, woman and child runs from it.”

A pastor wrote:  “I’ve spent many years as a youth pastor and at my latest assignment the church and teens were heavily influenced by IHOP, of which I knew nothing about.  I noticed the longer I was there, a disconnection between the youth and reality.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, until I finally concluded that the IHOP movement cultivates a mindset of withdrawing and creating a worship box mindset.  It goes back to the point that too much of a good thing quickly becomes bad.  At this point in my observation of the youth I have seen more damage from IHOP than good come out of it.”

A letter from an ex-IHOP member:  “I had been attending the FSM (Forerunner School of Ministry) for two years, taking in everything, journaling everything and testing everything against scripture.  I can honestly tell you that there are so many false doctrines at IHOP that it isn’t even funny.  They twist scripture and take them out of context to fit made up doctrines and the worst part is they have vague excuses for everything.  The very worst excuse and most dangerous is this:  ‘The Holy Spirit loves to offend the mind, that’s how you know it’s from God.’  This statement is not biblical and they use it to persuade people to admonish their own doubts and blindly trust what is being fed to them.  IHOP is without a doubt a cult.”

An ex-student of IHOP wrote:  “I began taking everything that was taught back to scripture and praying for God to show me the truth.  When I met with my leadership team to share my findings with them, they proceeded to tell me that I needed healing and deliverance from authority issues and that it wasn’t my fault but I had let the demons in by questioning.  They smoothly threatened me not to tell anyone else about my questions or about this meeting.”

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9 Responses to International House of Prayer IHOP – 12 Testimonies of Truth

  1. Ian says:

    Perhaps my experiences are not pertinent to this thread, and perhaps, if the administrator is committed to his or her position, they will delete my post. I will save it, so I have a record either way.

    I have been a full-time staff member at the only other 24/7 House of Prayer plant in America for the last 9 years. I assisted in the development of the internship programs there and have been a worship leader and teacher there and at local missions bases, churches and House of Prayer plants throughout that time. Although we are a small missions base with fewer than 100 full and part time staff, we currently support 5 international orphanages, engage in local evangelism- having planted three churches in the last year alone, are active in urban ministry in our city to the homeless and prostitutes, have assisted in the development of several cutting edge ministries to girls rescued from human trafficking and a local adoption agency, and run a School of Ministry and 5 internship programs 3 times each year. The teaching is biblical and the teachers are open to theological discussions that challenge their positions- in fact, they invite such discourse and love to have holes punched in subjects like eschatology. It is an intellectual and corporate process in the classroom and a personal and emotional process in the prayer room as students or interns work through their studies in the context of perpetual worship. Let me highlight this point as well- perpetual worship is not the focus of the House of Prayer, but simply the context. The focus is that a generation of scholarly believers whose hearts are alive in love with Jesus would be sent out to accomplish the great commission through works of mercy and evangelism both here and in the nations. This is not wicked and, as with all ministries, imperfect human beings are called to serve God in authority and may not always do things in an excellent way. It is the nature of ministry, and no church or denomination or Christian school or parachurch organization is free from human error. It simply happens, and- mathematically- the more people are involved, the more likely such reports will surface. There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000 staff members at IHOP KC and it’s ministries, and many interns and ministry school students as well. When so many people are involved, it is not uncommon that some will become offended or feel hurt and leave. What sizable church doesn’t have the same complaint?

    I am aware of the subtle and deceptive nuances of “Christian” cults (organizations which falsely claim Christian values while teaching heresies to its adherents and simultaneously preventing skeptical members from leaving the fold through verbal, emotional or physical threats or abuse) , and I can clearly say that IHOP is no cult. As a full time missionary, I have often discussed options for providing for my family outside of missionary support with the senior leadership of IHOP Atlanta. Never once have I been dissuaded from exiting staff or finding part time work when missionary support was low. In fact, my leaders compassionately encouraged me to do so. I have watched many come through for training and then leave, or stay on staff for a number of years before feeling called to something else, and I have never seen a single person pressured to stay or ostracized for choosing a different path. Our doors are open 24/7 and people come and go as they feel led.

    As an internship director I once prayed for a young man who was exploring the internship. He was only 21 and had already been involved in ministry for 4 years. After I prayed for God to give him clarity on the next steps in his life, he said, “Wow, you really could have manipulated that prayer to get me to come to IHOP, but you didn’t. Thanks for praying for me!” At first I was shocked at this because I would never consider manipulating someone through prayer, but the takeaway for me was that some leaders in church settings DO manipulate their members. In my mind, this would be abusive and inappropriate- and I told the young man that I thought so.

    All this to say that, as a leader at IHOP Atlanta, I have never heard of anyone being abused or manipulated, much less being taught heresies. The teachers are sincere, discerning and loving and the missions base staff are caring and knowledgeable. I would offer this as a possible explanation however. IHOP is not a church, per se, but a missions base. The relationships in an internship or even at a college (secular or spiritually oriented) will never be like those of a local church- they are too transient. For those who are not called to join staff, it is just a season for training and equipping- a stepping stone. Long hours of prayer and bible study can feel isolating and expose our hearts a little (sometimes a lot) before God, but this is not wicked, just refining. Meditation has been practiced since the book of Genesis and Psalm 1 is clear that meditation is part of a path to growing in the knowledge of God. We are admonished to meditate on the scriptures throughout the bible. As we sit before the Lord for several hours a week in prayer and meditation on the Scriptures, God works the Word into us and those things that hinder us from loving Him or our neighbor, He prunes away. Coupled with biblical studies, interactions with caring scholars and teachers, in the midst of a community that loves them, I can’t think of a better place for a young adult who is hungry for the truth.

    I’m truly sorry for the experiences mentioned by others, and I don’t doubt that some of them were hurt because of human error or because of imperfect judgment on the part of some staff members in KC. That happens in ministry. But I would also caution anyone that, as Proverbs 18:17 tells us, “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” I would caution anyone from making a judgment about any ministry or particular minister without first examining that ministry or individual for themselves. Relaying anything else is gossip, which we know the bible expressly forbids.

    Grace & peace

    • Zach says:

      I have a cousin who is in the IHOP church and after seeing how strange her and her husband act and seeing live feed from the prayer room I would say that IHOP meets my definition of a cult. The film God Loves Uganda doesn’t paint you in a very good light either.

      • James Lynn says:

        Any reborn Christian, not just someone who claims to be a Christian can easily discern that God Loves Uganda is a sarcastic propaganda against the evangelicals by the members of LGBT community and social gospel. Citing the film and how STRANGE your cousin and her husband act aren’t good enough reasons to say IHOP is cult or ANY other organization is cult.

  2. Naturally it would not be logistically possible for anyone to examine every minister or ministry, neither is it necessary.

    I believe the Bible always gives us the answer:

    “But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.” (Matthew 23:8)

    “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

    “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10:11-16)

    • kenneth kirchhevel says:

      Excellent post Truth in Reality! “Let God be true, and every man a liar” “Study to show thyself approved unto God a workman that needeth not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth”

  3. Beth Cavete says:

    Dear Ian,
    I have never heard of a heretic who declared himself to be one. IHOP is without question teaching heresy. The fact that some are nicer and more sophisticated about it than others does not make their core teachings, which introduce a new and different Jesus and a new and different gospel than that which was handed down by the apostles and prophets, clean from the filthy source (false prophets like Bob Jones and Paul Cain) from which they sprung.

    To repeat, IHOP KC and its partners teach doctrines and practices NOT found in Scripture (but propped up by proof-texted perversions of mainly Old Testament prophecies), but originating in extra-biblical revelation from sexual deviants and rebels who claimed to be Prophets of God. I would be more gentle in my response, but you obviously are completely unaware of the weight of judgment on your life as you “lead” vulnerable young people into deception, mysticism and (in my experience) innoculation against the true gospel of repentance. Consider the that you will answer for your influence on these souls, and how nice and un-manipulative you were will be no defense for offering them another gospel. Gal. 1:8

    I speak from extensive experience with IHOP-KC, and you can read about these false prophets and their substitutions for authentic faith here:
    http://bethcavete.wordpress.com/category/ihop-kc/ten-questions/

  4. magnificent points altogether, you just won a new reader.

  5. Tracey Fifer says:

    I desperately need someone to help me. I am going thru a very nasty custody battle. My exhusband has dragged my daughters into this “church” for the past year. They r very withdrawn. My oldest daughter is having a very hard time.. She goes thru a bit of shock every time she comes to my house. My youngest is still close to me but seems to look to her older sister for answers when making decisions. My final hearing will be in January. My attorney has asked me to try and find someone that can speak on behalf of this “church” and it’s twisted ways… I am terribly worried about my children and I feel completely helpless.. Please please please can someone contact me immediately!!!!

  6. Isai perez says:

    I really love the service, I love the prayes,I love the testimony,I heard a testimony last week in puerto Rico and I cry I cry I cry until my soul got so pure and clean,Praise the Lord for your well wonderful ministry.,

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