Yoars Truly, by Marcus Yoars

Like it or not, the American Idol syndrome is alive and well in most Western churches today. We see it in the modern worship arena, with many young Christians believing that becoming a worship leader is the next best thing to being a rock star. Somewhere along the way, we’ve reinforced a model that equates spiritual success with stage time.

I’ve seen the same principle at work in the prayer movement, where true Spirit-led intercession is, in certain circles, overshadowed by a belief that the quicker you can lather a crowd into a praying frenzy, the more anointed on the mic you are.

I don’t mean to be cynical, but it says something about the American church when corporate worship and prayer can require as much spiritual discernment as listening to a politician. That’s why my visit to Kansas City’s International House of Prayer (IHOP) for this month’s cover story was a breath of fresh air. I’ve been intimately connected with the prayer movement for almost a decade; and as a worship leader for almost 20 years, I’ve also watched the dynamics change in corporate worship (not just stylistically, but in the emphasis given to what happens musically from the platform). 

But after spending time with IHOP’s leaders and experiencing firsthand the corporate worship and prayer culture established there, I’m reassured that a major influencer for both movements is pursuing higher goals than just great stage shows, larger crowds and more spiritual lather. That’s because at IHOP, the platform is not the point.

Don’t get me wrong: Everything at IHOP stems from what happens in the ministry’s 24/7 prayer room, and logistically, the focal point of that room is a worship team on a platform and a prayer leader on the mic. But you’d be hard pressed to find an IHOP staff member—at least one who’s been there more than six months—clamoring to be onstage, despite most of them having grown up in an American Idol culture.

This is the fruit of leadership that places equal importance on the back-row intercessors as on those onstage. At IHOP, the midnight to 6 a.m. prayer shift isn’t for the B-string players; it’s prime time, with or without the crowds to prove that, because it’s for an audience of One anyway.

Mike Bickle and Misty Edwards, probably IHOP’s two most well-known leaders, credit this to a process of identity transformation. “God gives people an invitation when they come through our doors to get their identity right,” Edwards says, adding that the “police force” against fighting for the limelight is IHOP’s unglamorous, 50-hours-a-week-without-pay lifestyle.

It’s obviously working. Amid a generation of rock star wannabes, IHOP is producing a rare, humble people content to let Jesus get all the spotlight. Particularly from the back row.

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Rev. Samuel Rodriguez was the first Hispanic pastor in history to pray at a presidential inauguration.

    At Trump Inauguration, Charismatic Leaders Pray Boldly in Jesus' Name. Is This Foreshadowing a New Day in America?

    It was an amazing day to let religious freedom ring in America.

  • Pastor Jim Garlow in a file photo shown praying.

    Conservative Christian Leaders Gather in DC, Calling Trump's Election an Answer to Prayer

    "Although the news media is predicting protests, what I'm seeing is that everyone is abuzz ...

  • Donald Trump certainly needs your prayers.

    Why You Must Pray for Donald Trump

    Here are eight ways I plan to intercede for President Trump regularly.

  • When I flew into D.C. yesterday, there were so many Secret Servicemen on the plane I wondered what was going on!

    Jennifer LeClaire Releases Urgent Prophetic Warning Over Washington, D.C.

    When I flew into D.C. yesterday, there were so many Secret Servicemen on the plane I wondered what ...

  • Here's a prophetic word for Washington, D.C.

    Prophecy: The Lord Is Raising Up Daniels in DC

    I believe we're on the precipice of a Third Great Awakening the Lord spoke to my heart about in ...

  • Does any of this reflect what's going on in your marriage?

    9 Characteristics of a Healthy Sexual Relationship for a Believer

    A healthy sexual relationship for a Christian couple takes effort, and it's worth working for.

  • Churches don't address this topic affecting women.

    The Secret Sorrow Women Carry

    This woman breaks the silence about a taboo subject to help restore many women.

  • Bishop Eddie Long died at 63.

    Bishop Eddie Long Dead at 63

    "Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate ...

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit