During my Prayer and Prophetic Conference tweets, I entered conversation with one of my twitter followers, a gentleman named Ryan. He admitted that he had used to belong to the International House of Prayer, and so I asked if he would be willing to share his experiences by answering some questions.
Below are the questions I asked him, followed by his answers.
1) When did you first encounter or hear about the International House of Prayer?
At the bible college I attended in Dallas called "Christ for the Nations Institute" they had a prayer room that was an extension of IHOP and many of the IHOP leaders came to speak at the school to the students frequently and every year they would have a prayer conference with IHOP leaders.
2) What inspired you to pursue it?
I wanted to have a dynamic relationship with Christ. I wanted to hear his voice and have the kind of relationship that they described where you can see Christ face to face and hear his actual voice. I wanted to experience Christ. I wanted to feel the spirit. I wanted a living faith that I could touch and feel.
3) What were your initial experiences there?
I found it very frustrating as they were promising me that if i pressed in to prayer, then these gift would be given to me. I found that prayer was a work, and these gifts seemed like a wage from that work. If only I prayed longer, harder, more sincere, with more faith always more more more...and yet I still felt none of the gifts they promised.
4) What were your experiences as time progressed? How were you involved?
I began to lead worship in the prayer room and since I worked overnight security, on my nights off I would be in the prayer room all night to lead worship and to "keep the candle burning of prayer" for the prayer room. All night I would be there and pray and lead worship, still, I never felt any of the gifts that were promised.
5) What did they teach you while you were there? Anything out of the ordinary, compared to other churches?
they taught me that by faith I could literally ascend into heaven and we had this teaching from Bob Sorge that I will never forget where he was trying to teach us that by faith we could slide into the godhead and cuddle between God the Father and the Son, like a child getting between two parents. We could stop natural disasters, wars, heal anyone in the world at any time, provided we had enough faith. We could have rapturious visions and trances. We practiced cataphatic prayer, centering prayer, breath prayer, Lectio Divina any and all aspects of Roman Catholic Monastic Mysticism. We were the super Christians, the "revealed Sons of God" that all creation had been groaning for. God was waiting for us to rise up.
6) Did you ever feel any kind of "pressure" regarding your time there?
Yes, if you were not praying enough, then something was wrong with you. Guilt was a major motivating factor in my experience. There were all these wonderful things promised to you, and God cannot lie, so if they don't happen, then it is your fault. You didn't pray long enough, press in enough, believe enough, have enough faith so forth and so on. Much of my time was spent in tears as none of these things promised were happening to me. I felt that Jesus just didn't love me enough to bless me in the way he promised. I guess the leaders have never had that experience of crying and crying out to God what is wrong with me that you don't love me like you love others? Why do you not want me Jesus? Why do you not love me? I want to hear you yet you are not speaking to me.but again and again, if only i pressed in more and longer and harder etc. I would have these things...and hour after hour nothing. If it was not for grace, this could have destroyed my faith as I very easily and at times thought this whole christian thing was a lie. However, the grace of christ kept me in the fact that christ has risen and we have the only historically verifiable faith in the world. I could not leave.
7) When was the first time you began to feel things were not right?
The more I read the scriptures, the more I studied hermeneutics and learned how to study my scriptures, the more I applied the rules of hermeneutics to the scriptures, the more they taught me that what I was learning from them was wrong. I began to see how out of context these verses were and that they simply could not mean what they were telling me they meant. When I tried to show them using proper hermeneutics either I was told I was "quenching the spirit" or that I did not have a "revelation" on these verses like they did. or I needed to understand the special spiritual meaning of the verse.
8) What convinced you to abandon the International House of Prayer and its movement?
I realized that what they were doing was anti-scriptural. As I began to study church history I realized the pool that they were fishing from was Roman Catholic Monastic Mysticism, not biblical protestant (never mind reformed) Christianity. I realized that what they were teaching was closer to the New Age Movement than Biblical Christianity.I realized that Christ had already blessed me with every spiritual blessing and that I was complete in Christ. did not have to work to earn his love or to be closer in him. he died for me when I was a dead man. I can't by my works earn a greater closeness, he loved me and gave me himself, the holy spirit and every spiritual gift while I was still a sinner. He wanted me to rest in him, not work to earn more of him. I had Christ, and I finally realized it. So I left.
9) What did you experience leaving the International House of Prayer?
Besides always being referred to as "a spirit quencher" I was seen as a less than. However, I felt a burden lifted off of me. I had Christ and it didn't matter how I felt, I had Christ by faith and all his benefits by union with him. I no longer felt like I had to work to earn his love or his closeness. I truly had rest in him. Prayer was now a joy for me, not a work.
10) Do you have anything to say to those currently involved with IHOP-KC or its related movements and ministries?
I love you and so does Christ, however, you are in a movement that is not just in error, but dangerously so. the well where this water comes from is stained with false prophets, heretics, mystics and schismatics. If you have faith in Christ, you have everything in him. I know you have experienced things i cannot understand. I also know that Satan comes as an angel of light. Please do not let your experience be your guide to scripture, let the scriptures be your guide to your experience. Please study your scriptures they way they were designed to be studied with proper hermeneutics with a proper guide in Church history and leave this movement. prayer is vital and important yes, piety is vital and important yes, holiness is vital and important yes, but they do not teach true prayer, true piety or true holiness. test what I say apart from your experience and test it by the word. I know that you will find these words true.