When Texas governor and potential presidential candidate Rick Perry announced that he was holding a prayer rally called The Response, co-hosted by the American Family Association, Right Wing Watch flagged the immense influence of another group, the International House of Prayer (IHOP), in organizing the event. Members of the IHOP leadership hold high-ranking positions in The Response’s leadership team, including Director of The Response Luis Cataldo, National Student Mobilization coordinator Dave Sliker, and program coordinators Jill Cataldo and Randy and Kelsey Bohlender. Mike Bickle, the director of IHOP, is also an official endorser of the event. IHOP is closely tied to a similar prayer rally known as The Call, whose head Lou Engle has used The Call to strongly denounce reproductive rights and homosexuality, support Uganda’s “kill-the-gays” bill among other anti-gay legislation, and engage in “spiritual warfare” against the Supreme Court.
IHOP also propagates an extreme but common view held in many Religious Right circles: that the Jewish people must convert to Christianity in order to bring about the return of Jesus Christ to Earth and the End Times. Many Religious Right groups and activists, including John Hagee, another endorser of The Response, believe that the End Times will only be fulfilled once enough Jews leave their faith and become Christians.
In fact, IHOP made a video that asked people to prayer for Jews to convert to Christianity, because “He will return only when Israel is ready and willing to receive Him as their savior and king. When He returns, the entire nation of Israel will be saved.” Much like the spokesman for The Response who said that he wants members of all faiths to “seek out the living Christ” at Perry’s rally, IHOP urges members to pray for Jews to accept the Gospel:
The nation of Israel – God’s chosen people. Believers are commanded in the Bible to pray for this nation, but why? It’s true that God wants to bring forth a people from every tribe, tongue, and nation, neither Jew nor Gentile to worship before his throne, but when it comes to Israel, is there something more? Yes. God has not finished with Israel. The eternal covenant promises of God to Israel still stand.
It is through Israel that God will establish His kingdom on the Earth in fullness, and through whom, He will bring blessing to every nation. Jesus is returning to the Earth to rule as the Jewish king from Jerusalem on the throne of David.
He will return only when Israel is ready and willing to receive Him as their savior and king. When He returns, the entire nation of Israel will be saved.
The attack against Israel will escalate as we approach the End Times, with an increase in global anti-Semitism, culminating in a united political and military assault against the city of Jerusalem. For this reason, it is critical that the people of God come into agreement with God’s purpose for Israel, and take their stand in the place of prayer.
So, how should we pray? Scripture tells us to pray for two cities: our own city, and for the peace of Jerusalem. We must pray, first and foremost, for spiritual peace, that the Gospel would go forth with power among the Jewish people both globally and in the land.
We must pray for the Lord to raise up anointed, prophetic witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for it will be through the Gentiles, Paul says, that Israel will be provoked to jealousy. We must also join our prayers with those of believers in the land, praying that God would raise up an anointed witness to Yeshua in the land of Israel. We must pray for social peace in the land of Israel, both relationally and economically.
Finally, we must pray for political peace. There can be no true political peace until Jesus rules as king from Jerusalem, but until that time, we must pray for the safety of believers, the safety of the land from every demonic attack, that the Gospel might go forth with power.