Investigative Report Debunks Mike Bickle’s Often-Told ‘4:18 Prophecy’ As False

The Roys Report/May 16, 2024

The Kansas City Star has debunked an often-told “4:18 prophecy” that Mike Bickle, disgraced founder of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City (IHOPKC), used to legitimize his ministry.

For decades, Bickle told a story with a remarkable alignment of details that mesmerized audiences at IHOPKC and beyond. The story involved well-known Kansas City prophet Paul Cain and the timing of when his mother, Anna Cain, died. This supposedly corresponded with a Scripture passage—Luke 4:18—but the details do not line up.

The revelation comes as IHOPKC grapples with its future amidst a growing scandal. Since last November, multiple women have come forward accusing Bickle of years of grooming and sexual abuse. Bickle’s longtime friend Paul Cain, who died in 2019, has since been revealed as a lifelong sexual predator.

According to how Bickle recounted the famous story in an April 16, 2021, sermon, Anna Cain, age 104, had been in a coma for two months in a Dallas hospital.

One day in April 1990, when Bickle came to visit her bedside alongside Paul Cain, suddenly she awoke from her coma to prophesy to her son, saying, “Paul, God is giving to you and to the world, Luke 4:18.” Anna Cain then reportedly lost consciousness and died shortly afterward.

Bickle’s sermon notes from April 2021 state: “She died on April 18 (4/18) at 4:18pm after giving (Paul Cain) the scripture on Luke 4:18!” Bickle called it “divine poetry” exclaiming in his sermon, “Everything lined up!”

This repetition of the numbers “4” and “18” became a means of spiritualizing the story. Particularly, sources state it placed IHOPKC in the midst of the biblical narrative of Luke chapter 4, involving Jesus’ prayer in the wilderness, fasting, and the power of the Holy Spirit evident in his ministry.

However, the Star reported Wednesday that Anna Cain’s gravestone confirms she died on April 19, 1990. Her death certificate, also reviewed by the media outlet, revealed her time of death listed as 9:50 p.m. A story long part of IHOPKC’s “prophetic history” was shown to be false.

Tammy Woods, who recently came forward to recount how Bickle sexually abused her when she was a minor, recalls the “sensational” story being repeated often by Bickle and his associates—and being used for fundraising purposes.

“The room would literally gasp when it was told,” she told The Roys Report (TRR). “It just had to be God, and who doesn’t want to sow into what God is doing in the earth? Financial partners were cultivated in part by the recounting of (this) mesmerizing story.”

Similarly, Austin Roberts, a staff member at IHOPKC from 2006 to 2012, told TRR he was “shocked” that “the 4:18 story” was a fabrication. “Just when I think I can’t be surprised, another exposure in the IHOP storyline occurs and it triggers a range of emotions all over again.”

Roberts noted this story was part of IHOPKC’s core curriculum for interns and staff, included in a 13-hour audio series titled “Encountering Jesus.”

On Sunday, May 5, Isaac Bennett, preaching at IHOPKC’s Forerunner Church, recounted other stories and prophecies from that same series, as TRR previously reported.

Bennett recounted in his sermon how prophet Bob Jones told Bickle in the early 1980s that “a youth movement of prophetic singers and musicians” would be raised up, which had “come to pass” with IHOPKC.

In response to TRR’s inquiry, a spokesperson for IHOPKC stated Bickle’s “duties and privileges” at the ministry were revoked on October 26, 2023, and in December the separation was made “permanent.”

The statement from IHOPKC continued: “As a result of revelations and accusations against Mike, we are examining all elements of the ministry culture and foundations he influenced. This includes each element of the Prophetic History.”

TRR reached out to Bickle for comment but did not receive a response.

Prophetic History – Sift or Scrap It?

As an IHOPKC staff member 12 years ago, Roberts told TRR that he sought to become an “expert” on the ministry’s so-called prophetic history.

He said he noticed discrepancies in the stories and brought his questions to leaders, who brushed them off. “My questions turned to concerns as I didn’t get any sufficient explanations but instead realized people were uncomfortable and irritated with my inquiries,” said Roberts.

On its website, IHOPKC continues to refer to its prophetic history, which originated with Bickle, as linked to the prayer ministry’s unique identity and end-times theology.

“Over the last 25 plus years, the Lord has graciously given us about 25 powerful prophetic experiences that provide insight into what will happen in the days ahead,” the website states. “They include times when various believers saw the Lord, heard God’s audible voice, saw an angel, or had prophetic dreams that were dramatically confirmed.”

The ministry affirms the text of Scripture as the “highest standard.” But it adds that “the Lord sometimes gives us prophetic experiences to highlight aspects of our specific ministry assignment . . .”

Roberts said this elevation of the prophetic is why he doesn’t believe IHOPKC “will, or even can, evaluate the prophetic history—because it’s the ultimate conflict of interest.”

“Donors, staff, and students all think their involvement is an investment in a divine mandate,” said Roberts. “Once the stories are shown to be filled with falsehoods, the ‘divine’ part is removed, and all you are left with is the mandate of Mike Bickle.”

Responding to TRR’s inquiry, IHOPKC referenced that unspecified third-party advisors will help evaluate the ministry’s prophetic history, which will “take time and expertise.”

“With help from trusted elders in the body of Christ we will determine which prophecies to hold fast and which to discard,” said an IHOPKC spokesperson.

However, Woods said the “prophetic history” should be dismissed as a whole.

“It has been proven repeatedly to be founded upon falsehood, deception, manipulation, abuse, and exploitation,” she told TRR. “Exactly what is there to sift through for the sake of salvaging?”

IHOPKC has recently denied plans to close its current nonprofit structure, despite leaked audio from a leaders’ meeting that indicated a leaner, rebranded prayer ministry would be launched.

The ministry has confirmed that training school IHOP University will close following graduation on May 18.

As to Bickle, sources indicate other alleged victims have yet to come forward. Former IHOPKC leader Elizabeth Herder said in a recent podcast that “close to 20” women have been identified who were allegedly abused or groomed by Bickle.

Woods urged IHOPKC to model transparency and accountability moving forward.

“There should be a resounding cry for justice, light and truth from any and all church leadership.”

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.


Educational DVDs and Videos