Several months ago I made a brief investigation into the IHOP Prayer Room and now I think it's absolutely fantastic!
A little bit more information about it:
The Prayer Room is a centre for 24/7 prayer based in Kansas City (which, to my surprise, is not in Kansas). The focus of the Prayer Room, however, is worship. Worship bands are on a rota to play two-hour stints, so there is literally continuous worship happening day and night. There are also specific times of intercession. You can either watch a live video feed from the Prayer Room, or listen to the audio, as I am doing right now.
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The first time I ever tuned in I was a bit underwhelmed by the amount of people that seemed to be in the room. I thought, "surely if IHOP are investing so much into this, there ought to be more people using all those chairs - I can only see about 40." And then I realised that due to the time difference between Kansas City and Shrewsbury, UK, I was watching worship taking place at about 5 am.
And this leads me on to the reasons why I think this is such a great thing:
- Any time of day or night, you can join in with other Christians worshipping Jesus. I know that it's not exactly "being a part of" the event to watch it on your PC screen, but there's something about knowing it's happening right now that engages me. It's better than just sticking a CD on.
- The Prayer Room is a good model of worship. Not that many churches can implement the same kind of 24/7 worship with bands of 14 musicians. But the whole ethos is, in my opinion, really admirable. It's easy to tell that their aim is absolutely not to get through a list of songs, but instead is all about encountering the presence of God. There is no pressure of "getting somewhere", but a real sense of waiting on God and enjoying Him in the moment. The Spirit looks to be in charge here. They use scripture, are spontaneous and creative.
Anyway, I hope you'll go and check it out now.