When meetings took me to Kansas City, I extended my stay a couple of days. I can’t come to KC and not go to IHOP (www.ihop.org)! It had been years since I had personally visited the Mother Ship, the ministry that had to radically altered my walk with God and the course of my life’s direction, and I was eager to plug in and fuel up.
The Global Prayer Room (the one we see on the live webcast, and called the GPR by locals) was orderly and beautiful. Comfy chairs. Quiet congregation. Fantastic music and singing. Passionate prayer.
My response was not what I expected. I felt out of place and disconnected. I persevered for a couple hours, and then with some relief escaped to meet Kirk and Dee Bennett, IHOP leaders who have walked with us over the years.
Over dinner I explained to them GOHOP’s journey, and when I was done, Kirk picked up his phone. “You have got to see Hope City,” he said. “Let me get you there.”
The next morning I was picked up, whisked off to a sketchy neighborhood, and dropped off at a low lying, run down building with bars on the windows. Founded by IHOP, Hope City (www.hopecitykc.org) is an inner city house of prayer that runs a prayer room, but also serves free lunches every day, provides laundry and shower facilities, and groceries each week to their impoverished neighbors.
Their prayer space was a striking contrast to the GPR. Ramshackle room. Aged sound equipment. One of the singers was a young mum, and sang with her baby on her lap. Another was heavily tattooed, and intermingled rapping with the singing and prayer.
In the back of the room, scruffy men snored softly. An elderly woman with apparent dementia rocked happily back and forth to the music. The main prayer leader was a wise and wizened African American grandma, whose heart was broken for the younger generation. Children in grubby clothes scrambled over the seats.
Ah, this was more like it! I settled in, finally feeling at home.