Azusa House of Prayer: Power of Prayer Builds Communities
By Heather Allen | Journalism major
A profile on a local prayer house that offers a community to its attendees through the form of prayer.
Allie Paul, a freshman music major, has been going to the Azusa House of Prayer, located at 605 North Azusa Ave., every Friday night since she came to APU. With the help of a friend, she has adapted to being in the community of the house and focusing on the aspect of prayer.
“I tried not to have too many expectations going into the first prayer session because I didn’t really know too much about it,” said Paul. “I really enjoy the strong sense of community there because everyone there is so loving. It has been a place of healing for me since I’ve been here at APU.”
While they do not consider themselves a church, its focus on 24/7 community prayer is what makes it unique. Its overall vision is to prepare anyone for a lifestyle in discipline and devotion in their faith in a community setting while still letting their attendees worship through dance, praying over one another in groups, singing, and even speaking to God.
Rick MacDonald founded the Azusa House of Prayer, also known as AZHOP, in 2005 to focus on praying for the revival of the city of Azusa, the nation, and other countries. After visiting the original International House of Prayer in Kansas City with his wife, they felt it would be a great way to bring local churches together and have an influence on students, as well as locals, without completely being a church. He believes that the House of Prayer allows everyone who believes in the basic tenants of who Jesus is to pray together no matter what their theological background is.
While it has set starting times for each prayer session, they do not wish to rush the worship and feel that Lord will show them the proper ending time. AZHOP offers up to five prayer sessions per week, focusing on specific areas like youth revival and those persecuted for their faith.
“The House of Prayer allows everyone who believes in the basic tenants of how Jesus came and died to come together and pray no matter what their theological background may be,” said MacDonald. “Worship and prayer are not separate but one of the same.”
The International House of Prayer in Kansas City (IHOP-KC) was founded in May 1999 by Mike Bickle and twenty of his missionaries who wanted to introduce the power of prayer to anyone who did not know God. In September of the same year, the original thirteen hours of worship was extended to a 24/7 schedule.The evangelical missions organization commits itself to giving in to the power of prayer while having a strong impact on the community. IHOP-KC has branched out into countless cities across the United States, including Azusa, and has created prayer houses in numerous nations of the world.
Before she became a prayer and worship leader at Azusa House of Prayer, Brianna Sutton was regularly attending the House of Prayer in her hometown of Saint Louis, MO. This personal tie has always connected Sutton to IHOP’s dream. It is one of the reasons why she decided to attend a missions college in Minnesota and went to Thailand to work with a small House of Prayer there. Because of those experiences, she has learned to meditate on scripture through song and prayer and now oversees the newest Wednesday night prayer set. She also leads other sessions that pray for the end of human trafficking and for the revival of Azusa Pacific University and Citrus college students.
“The purpose of the House of Prayer is to not just be in one location and that 24-hour night and day prayer would be offered in every region of the earth,” said Sutton. “The House of Prayer also hungers to unite churches and ministries to come together to pray and worship and to create an environment where people can go and connect with God.”
Among APU students who regularly attend AZHOP, some are fairly new to the charismatic ways of the Friday night college prayer session. Some students are now leading their own. The Friday night college session at 7 p.m. gives students a chance to worship in any way that God encounters them.
Senior psychology major Kathy Taing has been attending the Azusa House of Prayer since her friend from a missions team introduced her over a year ago. The encouragement from the community of the house helped her learn to understand the excitement of prayer and how powerful it can be. Her dedication to AZHOP has given her the opportunity to co-lead the Wednesday night prayer session. For a more calming and intimate setting, go and check out the brand new prayer session on Wednesday nights to partake in personal prayer .
“God has definitely been my inspiration for deciding to become a leader at AZHOP because I don’t think that I would have offered to be a leader without His strength and guidance,” said Taing.
Senior theater arts and communication studies major Michael Groth discovered AZHOP almost two years ago when a couple of his friends invited him to come and experience the presence of God through the power of prayer.Because of his participation in the Friday college session, he now helps facilitate some of the prayer sets along with many other leaders.
“I love going[to AZHOP] because feel like everyone who attends is hungry for God and I think that’s a great place to be,” said Groth. “It’s not supposed to be a replacement for church, but it’s a place to either be in a community who wants to love Him or to just go by yourself to be with God.”
Groth is also a strong believer in miracles because his two year knee troubles went away when a friend from AZHOP prayed over his leg. He sometimes feels that going out into Azusa and evangelizing to others is what God wants the attendees to do at that particular time
“When you show up, you’re not exactly sure what God has in store because everything is left up to the Holy Spirit,” said Groth. “Sometimes God will call us to go into a time of physical or spiritual healing or even to just pray over one another.”
When Edson Ibanez was a student at APU, he found Azusa House of Prayer and his love for God greatly strengthened. He constantly attended sessions, hosted his own on campus, and became an official leader his senior year. He continues to lead prayer sets, which is a group prayer, as a graduate and compares his passion for worshiping God to a love letter.
“My faith has grown drastically since I have been at the House of Prayer because God has shown me the importance of praying,” said Ibanez. “When you start analyzing the scripture you learn that God calls us to pray and that’s what the house of prayer has taught me to do—not just to pray to God but to pray with God.”
The Azusa House of Prayer offers sessions for those who are willing to take up the challenge of praying for a cause. The Friday night college prayer session is open to anyone who is looking for a place to connect with fellow students through worship and prayer for repentance and revival.
For more information on Azusa House of Prayer, visit their site.