For almost a decade, Misty Edwards has been a worship leader at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Mo. IHOP is a 24-hour prayer center that has not closed its doors since it initially opened in 1999—a place of refuge regardless of the time, weather or season. Founded on a prophecy that has since grown into reality, IHOP heavily encourages prophetic worship to act as a companion to their ongoing prayer. Edwards has gathered fame across the globe with her worship, songwriting and strong voice. However, this hasn’t changed her commitment to her roots. Edwards is passionate about IHOP and about an intimate understanding of Scripture—so much so that her priority remains to lead people into worship there, even when opportunities to tour continually come beckoning.
You’ve been quoted as saying, "I have a great desire to see the knowledge of God flood this generation. I mean the real knowledge of God, not the distant Sunday-school version, but the true encounter with the Uncreated.” Can you elaborate on how you relate this through your songwriting?
I first ask that the knowledge of God would flood my own heart so that I am not just throwing out a bunch of words and rhetoric that mean nothing to me. I try to write out of an honest heart, and if I am not growing in the knowledge of God, then my songs will reflect that. I write songs by looking right at Jesus from my heart and actually singing to a real person who is listening and moving at the sound of my voice. If I am reaching for “true encounter with the Uncreated” in the secret of my heart, then I end up writing songs with that same reach. To know Him is an endless journey of hunger and satisfaction, then more hunger and deeper satisfaction. “Deep calls out to deep” as the Psalmist says (Psalm 42:7, TNIV). It is our glory to search Him out and not think we have Him figured out just because we memorized the top 10 Sunday-school stories. There is so much more to God than that, and I want to uncover Him and discover Him through His Word under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. I pray that the songs I write would bring people not only into an intellectual understanding, but a true heart connect with the God who is bending over the balcony of heaven to listen to them sing words that move Him and impact Him. Even if they are simple songs, I pray that they at least impart hunger for a greater affection, a deeper understanding and a living encounter with this One called Love.
Where did the idea to construct the “prayer room” to resemble the Tabernacle of David come from?
It was prophesied many years before the International House of Prayer started that the Lord would raise up a worldwide youth movement of prophetic singers and musicians that would release power evangelism and be used to mobilize worldwide prayer. It was prophesied that this would be in the spirit of the Tabernacle of David and would operate in the prophetic and intercession. I don’t think anyone knew what that meant all of those years ago, but when the time came to start IHOP we were trying to find the way to sustain enjoyable prayer 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That is not an easy thing to sustain! We looked at the way worship is done in heaven from Rev. 4, where there is intercession and worship combined, and we looked at what David did and saw a similar pattern, so we figured this must be the key. It turns out to be true. Intercession and worship combined have sustained enjoyable prayer, and the fire on the altar has not gone out for nine years! The music has literally never stopped! It’s incredible to me.
Last year you were featured in “The Blah Blah” blog as a "Girl of Christian Indie." How did you feel about being tagged in the Christian indie scene?
Honestly, I haven’t thought much about it. I am not sure what it means to be a "Girl of Christian indie," but it sounds cool. I don’t put a lot of thought into the way I am “tagged” today. I try to stay focused on where I am going. My focus is to go deep in the Word of God; live in the First Commandment, which leads to the Second; stay faithful in the place of prayer; fast more; give more; and live the Sermon-on-the-Mount lifestyle to the highest degree, even in my weakness. I know I am going to die one day, and the only real definition of who I am will come from the lips of Him who searches my heart. So, it’s cool but not relevant to who I really am.
You’re most recent album, Relentless, came with the unplugged accompaniment. What was the inspiration behind releasing both discs together?
I often have devotionals in the prayer room where it is just me at the piano singing. Over the years I have been asked for a CD made like this, so when I was in the studio recording Relentless, someone had the idea to just put me in a room, light the candles, hit record and leave for a few hours. I did a couple of sessions like that, and this is what came out.
Do you have any plans to go on tour in the next year?
I don’t plan on traveling much at all this next year. The Lord has made it clear to me that my primary calling is in the house of prayer here in Kansas City. I want to pour all of my energy into stoking the fire and stirring this flame here. It takes a lot of time and energy to pull off a 24/7 house of prayer, and I want to put the best of my strength into it. I love the place of prayer, and I believe in the impact it has in the earth.
What can we expect from you in 2009?
In 2009, by the grace of God, you will find me leading in the prayer room and writing songs from an overflow of that. I don’t know if I will be in the studio much this year, but I want to focus on songwriting and staying in the pursuit of “Presence worship.”
How can one get involved with IHOP?
There are several ways to get involved with IHOP. We have weekend events, conferences or we also have an internship program that lasts from three to six months, which are excellent. You can also check out the IHOP University. One great way to get involved in whatever city you are in is through our webstream, which allows you to stay connected. We have live streaming 24/7. I highly recommend getting it. It makes you feel like you are in the prayer room and you can pray along with us, which is a great way to sustain in prayer. A lot of people use it in their “houses of prayer” or in their homes. You can find out more by visiting www.ihop.org.