IHOP Renewal: The Next Great Awakening?

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Thousands of people have been packing into special services at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Mo. They're lured by the presence of God that has been falling upon the place over and over again since Nov. 11. Many have been healed, some physically, but plenty more emotionally and spiritually.

Now the question hanging over this visitation of the Holy Spirit: is this the start of something really big? Could this be the next Great Awakening?

Pastor Alan Koch from nearby Lee's Summit, Mo., hopes so. He remembers what he heard at a global charismatic conference Kansas City hosted back in the 1970s.

"One of the prophecies that came out was that there were going to be spokes that were going to be going out to the nations, but the focus of that, the center was Kansas City," he recalled.

When this move of God hit IHOP, the leaders immediately invited John and Carol Arnott of the 15-year-long Toronto Renewal and Bill and Benni Johnson of Redding, California's miracle-packed Bethel Church to come check out what the Lord's doing in Kansas City.

At a jammed IHOP renewal service, Benni Johnson recalled a prophetic word given around 1909 by William Seymour, leader of the 1906 Azusa Street Revival: "He said 'In another hundred years, there's going to be another great outpouring. It's going to be a Great Outpouring."

"You do the math," Johnson said. "We're in that season now."

Angelic Encounter

Johnson also shared a story told by a Welsh student at Bethel's School of Supernatural Ministry. A woman from Wales described a wild encounter she had with an angel at the chapel where the great 1904 Welsh Revival began.

"She turned around and she saw a huge, huge angel. She said the foot of the angel was as large as the chapel. It was that big," Johnson recalled. "And she actually had the nerve to talk to this angel, and said, 'Are you the angel of this next Great Awakening?' And he said, 'No, I'm the angel of the 1904 Awakening. But there is another one coming. And it is bigger and it is greater.'"

Rivers of Revival Come Together

Carol Arnott shared the prophecy one of her most trusted Christian friends gave her about a year ago.

"Carol, the three rivers, Kansas City, Redding and Toronto, must come together. The three rivers must come together for what God wants to do in this next move," Arnott remembered.

Johnson had something else prophetic to tell IHOP. "I woke up a year ago," she said, "Woke up with this word: 'Pray for IHOP, I'm about to do something.'"

"I felt that there was something strategic that was going to be happening," Johnson explained. "This is perfect timing in God's kingdom. And I'm so excited to see what God is doing here and in so many other places."

As Johnson and Arnott shared, IHOP founder Mike Bickle said he had no knowledge of such prophecies when he invited the Arnotts and Johnsons to come support the Kansas City renewal as it began. A sense of awe filled the stage as the leaders of the three ministries realized God had already been weaving the three together prophetically long before they thought to come together in Kansas City.

Among The Young

IHOP is cheering such stories and prophecies. It also considers it a major sign that this awakening began in its Bible school among young people, and that it's spreading rapidly to other college campuses via IHOP's webcast. That's because over the years many awakenings have begun at colleges and with the young.

"He is getting the heart of the next generation," IHOP-U's president Allen Hood said of the Lord. "When He wants to begin an awakening, He begins to get the heart of the college-age students."

IHOP-U's provost, Wes Hall said it's significant God has been doing deep spiritual surgery among the young people, excising sins and hurts and brokenness.

"The Lord is setting them free from these heavy yokes so that they can be free to minister God's love out of a real experience that His love is real, and His freedom is real. It's not just a concept that the blood of Jesus makes you clean," Hall explained.

His Goodness

Bethel's Bill Johnson said it's just a start for what God wants to show the world.

"There's a realm and a measure of blessing that the Lord wants to release into the Earth that has never been seen before. Hosea chapter 3 says that in the latter days there will be a fear of God because of His goodness...because of His goodness," he explained.

"There's something about His goodness that's going to strike us to the core, and bring a yieldedness that we've never been able to get any other way. He's about to overwhelm and overtake," Johnson said.

Toronto's John Arnott added a serious warning. One of the quickest ways to squelch revival is to be offended at the controversial signs and behavior that often accompany it.

He recalled how critics blasted Toronto's renewal and the wild behaviors sometimes exhibited even as hundreds of thousands of people were getting saved and revived.

"It just baffled me," Arnott said. "I'm looking around saying, 'What's not to like?' So somebody fell down or somebody shouted. Come on! It's so much deeper than that. It's the life of God in the heart of His people setting them on fire with passion for Jesus.'"

Signs That Can Offend

Some IHOP staffers and students confess they were offended when they first saw some of their fellow IHOPers falling and laughing and shaking wildly under the influence of the Spirit.

Longtime Christian Crystal Camacho described her reaction the first day of the awakening.

"I am cynical, because people are rolling and laughing," she said. "And I'm kind of like 'Is this what revival looks like? If so, I'm offended.'"

But God brought the IHOP staffer and student up short the next day as she was praying for someone else to be freed from a judgmental, religious spirit.

"And I was like 'God I pray that you set her free from religion,' but I hear the Lord say, 'Crystal, how can you pray for someone's freedom and yet you are in the same bondage?,'" she asked.

Then Camacho surrendered herself to God, asked for prayer from others at the renewal and was soon knocked out in the Spirit. She came up shaking in the Lord for hours and it's been happening frequently ever since.

"From 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. I could not stop shaking under the presence of the Lord, and I was filled with joy!" she exclaimed. "And it's non-stop. Like even when I'm sleeping, I'll wake up with just bursts of laughter."

A Hub for Worldwide Revival?

This willingness to surrender to God, no matter the cost. seems to be a serious sign many at IHOP and involved in the renewal are ready to be used on a wider stage. And IHOP's in an extremely strategic position to become a hub for worldwide revival.

The ministry has been sending prayer and worship up to God 24-hours a day for 10 solid years now, and it has more than 70 people in its media department to feed that worship across the Earth over TV and the Web.

That ability to broadcast made last year's Lakeland revival the first one to go global almost immediately.

"When God pours out His Spirit today, we saw from Lakeland, that it'll go around the world just like that," Hood said, snapping his fingers. "What's exciting about that is that with one outpouring, the global bride of Christ can get awakened and set on fire."

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.