The 24/7 Prayer Movement
By Paul Strand
KANSAS CITY, Missouri - Groups of Christians praying and worshipping 24 hours a day, seven days a week sure sounds spiritual. But exactly why would God lead them to do such a thing?
Mike Bickle heads up a ministry where 24/7 prayer's already happening, and he says it's absolutely necessary if Christians ever want to see Jesus return.
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"God is not sending His Son to the earth in a vacuum. He's sending His Son to the earth in answer to the cry: the persistent, global cry of His covenant people on the earth," Bickle said.
Bickle says Revelation 22:17 prophesies of a day when God's people in their identity as the Bride of Christ will work in unison with the Holy Spirit, beckoning Christ the Bridegroom.
"So the Church worldwide will be in synch with the Holy Spirt, crying out 'Come, Lord Jesus, break in! Break in!' And He's going to come at the Second Coming, and before that He's going to release a break-in of revival," Bickle said.
Bickle, just 27-years-old in 1983, had no idea he'd have a role in raising this non-stop cry to Christ. But then an elder prophet named Bob Jones told Bickle: "The Lord is going to raise up a young adult prayer and worship movement in Kansas City. He would bring thousands of young adults that were singers and musicians to Kansas City."
In 1983, there was no thought of that actually happening. But then over the years Bickle and his co-pastors began to open up short-term schools of ministry and worship. Those schools began luring thousands of young people, who also signed up to join the prayer movement. By 1999 there were so many of them, they made unending prayer by large groups a reality.
Imagine this: non-stop worship and prayer have been going up to the heavens everyday and every night at the International House of Prayer for seven solid years.
But what's exciting to Bickle and his co-laborers is that now the movement is taking off worldwide, with 100 to 200 groups feeling the call to do what IHOP is doing.
"The numbers are increasing so rapidly in the last decade, I believe it's a sign of the times," Bickle said.
And one of the biggest signs will be a major move of God in the Holy Land, something that same prophet told Bickle in 1983 he'd have a role in.
Oddly enough, he said Bickle would be to Israel spiritually what Harry Truman was to Israel politically -- by prodding and pushing the U.N. into giving the Jewish people a sovereign nation in 1948.
"He said as Harry S. Truman was an intercessor for Israel in a political way, so the Lord's going to use you in a spiritual way to mobilize intercessors from around the world for Israel," Bickle explained.
And he added, as a sign, God would sovereignly move Bickle and his people to near Harry Truman's childhood home.
"And about a couple of years later, we had the property right next to Harry S. Truman given to us in such a grand way," Bickle said. "It was amazing. And we just looked in wonder and said, 'Could this really be true? Here we are next to Harry S. Truman.'"
So Bickle is very interested to see that 24/7 prayer has now started up in several places in Jerusalem, such as Succat Hallel.
"Over two years we've had 24/7 worship and prayer from this location overlooking Mount Zion," said Rick Ridings, Succat Hallel 24/7 prayer founder.
Could this be a direct fulfillment of biblical prophecy like Isaiah 62:6-7?
Ridings said, "I appointed watchmen on your walls O Jerusalem who will never hold their peace, but they will cry out day and night until I make Jerusalem a praise in the midst of the earth."
Ridings is personally excited because he's seeing a vision the Lord gave him a few years back being fulfilled right now before his eyes, a vision that involved four arms of worship lifting up from the north, south, west and east corners of the Old City of Jerusalem.
"And as they were worshipping and praying, I saw as it were like lion paw feet of the throne of God coming down, one foot of the throne on each of those four hands that were raised to Him," Ridings said. "And then it was like a flood of glory, of liquid gold coming over this city."
Without any coordinating, in recent months 24/7 prayer and worship groups have moved into place in the north, south, west and east of the old city.
"So there definitely is something where God is surrounding this city with prayer and with worship in order to prepare the way for His throne, for His kingdom, His government to be established more fully here," Ridings said.
Ridings believes as the 24/7 prayer houses of Jerusalem link up with others such as the IHOP in Kansas City, it's all part of an unprecedented move of God.
"There's never been prayer worldwide like there is today," Ridings said.
And much of it the Bride crying out "Come, Lord Jesus, come."
Bickle said, "The Spirit and the Church will be interceding together just before the Lord returns -- that is one of the great signs in the Book of Revelations of the Second Coming of Christ.'"
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As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.
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