JOPLIN, Mo. —
It may be called the Joplin House of Prayer, but it is really more about a prayer movement. That's what Chris Jones, the leader of JHOP, said
The House of Prayer has been at a variety of locations over the past 12 years but currently has no permanent home. And that's OK, James said. As far as he is concerned, the JHOP prayer warriors will continue to congregate wherever God leads them.
"What God is doing with the House of Prayer and this prayer movement right now is not necessarily to find a permanent place but, rather, touching people's hearts," said Jones, who is also the supervisor at Turnaround Ranch, a Christian outreach to pre-teens and teens.
In the past, JHOP has met at multiple downtown Joplin locations Ñ in a building on Newman Road and at a variety of churches. Currently the group gathers from 7 to 9 p.m. every other Saturday at the Family Worship Center and from 6 p.m. to midnight the first Friday of each month at Bethel Worship Center.
Although the latter time may seem to be a lengthy period for prayer, there is more than just praying taking place. Not all who attend are focused on prayer topics in those six hours.
Adding to the get-together is a live band playing Christian music. Others spend time studying the Bible.
"It is an atmosphere with the presence of the Lord where we can learn and grow," Jones said. "People are opening up their Bibles, and God is talking to them. We are worshipping and showing our love for Jesus."
David Carnine, a youth leader at Family Worship Center who served a six-month internship at the House of Prayer in Kansas City, said prayer and worship can not only connect people to the heart of God, but also link the church together locally and internationally.
That link helps unify the body of Christ, said Carnine, who is a worship leader at the prayer meetings.
The concept of the House of Prayer is simple enough. It involves getting together with brothers and sisters from other churches and cultures and, as Jones said, "engaging in the heart of the Lord while praying for the region and around the world."
Daryl Billings and his wife, Deb, founded the organization under the name of Crossroads International House of Prayer on Sept. 10, 2001, the day before the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
A month after the May 22, 2011, tornado, the name was changed to the Joplin House of Prayer. Billings said the group decided it was time to grow a little and joined with Jim Marcum and the Citywide Christian Fellowship, which Marcum was pastoring.
With Marcum going to the Kansas City House of Prayer and Billings going into a teaching ministry in Carthage last year, Jones took over the leadership role with JHOP, which he had become involved with years earlier.
Jones emphasized that the non-denominational organization would never want to take any members away from the church they attend, but he invites them to join other JHOP members in prayer.
In fact, with many Christians coming together to pray, this can do nothing but strengthen ties between local church, Jones said.
In addition to checking out the JHOP Facebook site, anyone wanting more information may call Jones at 417-529-5415 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org; or call Carnine at 417-438-5586 or email him at email@example.com.
Address correspondence to Rich Brown, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802, or email rich firstname.lastname@example.org.