In Kansas City, Missouri, IHOP doesn't just stand for International House of Pancakes. It's also an acronym for International House of Prayer, a church that started praying on Sept. 19, 1999, and hasn't stopped. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, live music is playing and the church is packed—even at 3am one recent morning, more than 100 people were worshiping as an 11-member rock band played, the Los Angeles Times reports. People visit from as far away as South Korea; recently, 27 US states and Mexico were represented in the parking lot—around midnight.
IHOP is part of the fast-growing perpetual prayer movement, and believes prayer is "spiritual warfare" against demons that have a hold on parts of society. It draws from a movement that outsiders call "Dominionism," which seeks influence over areas seen as devil-infiltrated, including business, media, and government. The idea is controversial, and has led to some concern over the church's influence—it played a central part in Rick Perry's recent prayer meeting—but the founding pastor laughs off such concerns. "Like we're going to take over Bill Gates," he says. "C'mon people, get a grip." (And yes ... the International House of Pancakes has sued, but ultimately backed off.) Click to read more about IHOP's operation, which includes 25 bands who play 2-hour sessions to keep the music going.