Thousands of Christians from across the U.S. have been flocking to Kansas City, Mo., where a Bible college class at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) has sparked nightly revival services.
More than 1,600 people have been packing into IHOP's ministry school auditorium to pray, worship and experience what many are describing as spiritual renewal.
At services held last weekend, participants shared testimonies of healing from chronic back pain and migraines, deliverance from shame and self-hatred, and experiencing God's love for the first time. Similar testimonies have been sent from around the world, where the services are being viewed via live Web stream.
Wesley Hall, provost of IHOP's Bible school, said several people have been saved and 80 people baptized since Nov. 11, when students in his 9 a.m. class started breaking into small groups and praying for one another.
"Some were lying on the floor, others were weeping, and some were laughing," said Hall, who led the class with Allen Hood, president of the ministry school. "So I asked the Lord for a release of Pentecost, and it just snowballed. Other teachers brought their classes in, and the Holy Spirit moved for 15 hours, with reports of physical healings and deliverance."
Almost 2,000 people from the Kansas City area heard about the "awakening" and came to the campus to participate. Since then the meetings, held nightly from 6 p.m. until midnight, have been drawing capacity crowds to the ministry school's sanctuary.
College students are also gathering across the country to watch the services online. Testimonies have poured in from such schools as Georgia Tech, Wheaton College, Asbury College and the University of California-Berkeley, where students reportedly are experiencing great joy, deep peace, and emotional and physical healing.
"We will continue these nightly meetings as the Holy Spirit leads us," IHOP founder Mike Bickle co-wrote in a letter with prayer leader Lou Engle, founder of TheCall, which has offices in Kansas City. "We earnestly pray that this awakening will continue, as our nation is in desperate need of another great awakening in this hour."
Hall said the younger generation is very broken and looking for authenticity. "It's the students who used to make fun of the manifestations who are now being hit with the power of God," he said. "Those students don't want to fake anything or create a culture. Rather, they want to experience God."
And while Hall said he is grateful for the renewal, he and Hood are praying for more. He said most of the people being touched by the meetings are Christians.
"We want to see the lost saved and the culture changed," Hall said. "We want this to grow and expand. We want an anointing where no known disease would stand against the people of God. We want to see this on the body of Christ worldwide, the third Great Awakening."
Bickle said IHOP is not the next place of revival, but "one of many places that the Lord is visiting in our nation."
"We believe that many other places are soon to receive a visitation of the Holy Spirit," he told Charisma.
Bickle says the meetings will continue in the run up to IHOP's One Thing conference Dec. 28-31 in Kansas City. Leaders expect some 20,000 students to attend, and seek to mobilize them to evangelize their cities and campuses in partnership with area houses of prayer.
Bickle and Engle said the conference would also address "a new wave of confusion that is systematically seducing many young adults into deception."
"Sincere young people whose hearts were once ablaze for Jesus are being lured into compromise on foundational biblical truths and practices, while at the same time they are increasing in works of compassion and justice," the ministers said.
They believe the renewal meetings are a sign that the Holy Spirit will release His power at the conference.
"We must confront the confusion that is pouring forth from many pulpits as well as from the halls of Washington," they wrote. "It is time to draw a line in the sand. We must hear what the Spirit is saying, and we must act on it. The Spirit will confirm the truth with demonstrations of power."
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