KICKING AGAINST THE GOADS
Like thousands of others, I continue to be baffled by IHOPKC’s ongoing response to the unfolding crisis. Allowing for the ELT’s legitimate initial shock and disbelief in October, followed by a brief, but reasonable period of acclimation to the disturbing nature of the allegations at hand, any objective measurement of decisions, actions and announcements since then — as evidenced by the last 75+ days — is nothing short of astonishing. A very incomplete list of head-scratching, jaw-dropping executive actions follow:
The point of this review is not to be comprehensive, nor even necessarily to rehash the past, but to provide enough context to understand why the initial, credible allegations against Mike Bickle are no longer the only scandal. The handling of the scandal is now almost equally scandalous. The gap between IHOPKC’s institutional rhetoric, defiant behavior and policy-based approach as compared to a humble, broken, Biblio-centric, principled and transparent approach is staggering and unconscionable (see Duluth Vineyard response for contrast).
- Denial (or creative rewording) of the true timeline regarding concerns and allegations
- Early statements from official leaders were bungled, vague, obfuscatory and misleading
- Best practice in credible reports of clergy abuse were not, and STILL have not been, followed, including the refusal to include the alleged victims and their attorney in dialogue for the selection of a mutually agreeable independent third party investigation firm
- The Executive Leadership Team (ELT) signs Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs)
- Much verbal ado has been made of caring for the alleged victims, and other possible victims, and the wider community, while consistently making choices that favored the unstoppable machine of prayer, to the point of not even pausing for Biblical expressions of lamentation that “sexual immorality and impurity” could “even be named among you.” (Eph. 5:3)
- To remedy the hemorrhaging of public trust due to public outcry over early statements, widely known IHOPKC faces and personalities opted to move away from the camera lens. In their place, the “international family of affection” was given a slick, unknown “official spokesperson” who specializes in crisis PR and narrative management
- This specialist claimed a commitment to facts, transparency and truth, yet failed to preemptively disclose such things as his own prior interactions with Mike related to the allegations, nor being part of turning away Francis Chan and Sam Storms when they went to visit Mike (having travelled to Kansas City from across the country specifically for that purpose).
- Mike Bickle releases a carefully worded concession, not confession. His language mostly references himself, not the victims(s), while remaining vague on admissions of guilt or godly remorse.
- A fully functioning, unnamed board was presented to the public as if they had been governmentally operative for years, though 5-6 of the nine had only been appointed within days/weeks of their announcement. Only one board member was actually named. The rest of the board has still not been publicly announced, though at least a couple of the board members have since resigned.
- On Dec. 11, the ELT, led by Greaves, announced that they had “handed over” leadership to this new board, which was also led by Greaves (though that fact was not announced).
- Eleven days later, Greaves resigns from both the ELT and the board
- At the same time, “new information” was announced, though not specified, as just cause for “immediately, formally and permanently” separating from founder Mike Bickle, which is itself confusing language if this separation actually occurred three years ago.
- Within two weeks, Sliker and Sorge also resign from the ELT.
- Certain members of the board did not learn of these resignations until they were publicly announced. Reasons given included vague statements about the best interests of IHOPKC and miscellaneous health concerns. The Official Spokesperson announced their departure in flattering terms with no negative causal associations, leaving both staff and the wider public baffled and suspicious
- Reports indicate that Greaves has continued to be present in both ELT and board meetings, though it is not clear if this is for transitional or functional purposes. It is also not clear whether Greaves, Sliker and Sorge remain on staff.
- At no time has any leader, spokesperson or board member said, “I’m sorry. This or this was wrong. Please forgive us” about anything in this process. Instead, the modus operandi has been to release a litany of defensive counterpoints and other claims that could be characterized as technically true, but entirely misleading. Other than Greaves publicly voicing his frustration that he could never get a statement correct (i.e. the public didn’t buy it), no representative of IHOPKC has admitted any mistakes or culpability in the handling of this crisis. To the contrary, their “consciences are clear.”
Such an approach is not merely tone deaf, it is quasi-manipulative. It is not just veiled, it blame-shifts. It is not simply a failure of leadership in terms of capacity or wisdom, but in authorizing the crafting of a response mechanism that has proven fundamentally and repetitively dishonest. I’m not even concerned about the ineptitude at this point! Honestly, who has wisdom sufficient for such things? We can and should all feel empathy for the enormity of what they are facing. But that doesn’t justify the cloak-and-dagger, corporate espionage, seal-the-vault and “hide the family jewels” icky, cesspool feeling of what we are now forced to wade through. By virtue of actions and communications that lack any discernible virtue, the wider public has essentially been handed fill-in-the-blank spaces for their imaginations to run wild, loaded with huge, frustrating, troubling question marks. Why are staff given very different versions of events than what is actually transpiring? Why are outside efforts to sweep away the cobwebs being called demonic? Isn’t that just another way of branding this with the ‘Dark Horse’ narrative? What is motivating this objectively disastrous series of actions among a group that, even until very recently, would have been considered bastions of truth-telling, fearless champions of justice, and leaders of impeccable standing (reasonable, wise and godly)? Instead, everything they have done has fueled the very speculations they condemn as gossip.
The net effect of all these actions — let’s not call them missteps any longer — produces an aggregate of doubt far greater than any single, honest mistake in isolated fashion. The sum of the parts begins to look calculated.
And there’s the rub. Therein lies my deeper, most gnawing, unvoiced concern: what could be causing such otherwise excellent people to behave in this way? I dread to even write it. But something about this…this particular set of circumstances, brought about at this time, in this way…has turned everything we thought we knew about IHOPKC on its ear. While the initial seismic event is over, the shockwaves continue, and the damaged infrastructure of our souls is now reeling from an hourly/daily/weekly threat: what else is about to emerge?
Patterns: Purpose, Principles and Power
In our wildest nightmares, none of us ever thought we could be here. Yet here we are. And if you dare to connect known and emerging data points — dots that have and are continuing to connect over the last few months — the connected dots begin to form a line with a truly scary trajectory for where this might be headed. If thousands outside the system can see this, I refuse to believe that the highly gifted, highly intelligent leaders at IHOP somehow don’t.
So again, I am left to contemplate, why isn’t there a softening? Why, still, the stubborn, almost belligerent “We will do it our way, on our terms, and you will like it! And if you don’t, you are an enemy of the prayer room!” among a community that has so famously and skillfully preached — and striven to embody — Sermon on the Mount values, Song of Solomon intimacy, Davidic repentance and tender-hearted submission to the chastening of the Lord, for decades? Something doesn’t add up. Something about this has caused all of that to break. Historic values (and calls) for humble submission to the probing of God are nowhere to be seen.
Here we must pause, because admittedly, the hardest thing to know, to truly grasp, is the human heart. We deceive ourselves all the time. Therefore, it is folly, and dangerous, to speculate on another person’s motives. So let me be clear, I am not pointing to any person(s), but to the overall portrait of events that is emerging. If the aggregate of corporate decisions could be weighed for its motives — why are they pursuing this course of action as doggedly as they are — what would we find? Would true innocence resist investigation, even inquiry, to this degree? We have now had enough time, with enough material on record (and more coming still), to allow for at least basic pattern recognition as dots connect to dots.
The pattern is systemic corruption when it comes to the handling of certain type of sins — sins that exist at the strange intersection of prophecy, power, and impermissible sexual pursuit. The pattern is the prevalence of such sin within a culture of purported purity. The pattern is preconditioning the people who subscribe to the prayer mission to profoundly adopt a Biblical ethic that stays vigilantly skeptical of inquiry or suspicion under the guise of maintaining their own spiritual purity. The pattern is to leverage pressure against those that expose the pattern so that the pattern stays hidden. In short, the pattern is “you have made My house a den of thieves” (Luke 19:46). (Prediction: that’s the likely title of someone’s future documentary about IHOPKC in the next 2-5 years, “Den of Thieves”).
But what has been stolen? Lives, money, innocence, trust. Perhaps further-reaching, the very idea of the prayer movement has been robbed of its potency. In a modern sense, the International House of Prayer in Kansas City largely defined (or at least modeled and molded) an image of devotional purity and relentless faithfulness for the world to see. In my time at IHOP, I advocated for the leadership to more boldly agree with, and act upon, that God-given leadership role among the nations. Beginning in 2018, I argued that the Mission Statement was too weak, at least for internal purposes. Though we were never called to govern, I challenged our executive team to think in terms of leading more deliberately than ever. I advocated that our internal mission statement should be revised to reflect that solemn sense of responsibility: “IHOPKC is a necessary, fundamental, provoking agent—with unavoidable leadership dimensions for which it alone is responsible—for 24/7 prayer, worship and end-time messaging unto global harvest.” My relentless advocacy for this became a bit of a joke among the ELT. Why do I say that? Because, in part, for what I will argue below, I want to neutralize speculation that perhaps I have always been opposed. Not true! Far from it. At least in the Western Church, but also across Asia, IHOPKC has occupied the place of standard-bearer, and I sought to advance that. IHOPKC was the model for what 24/7 looks like. I was honored to serve that vision, because, like many, I was convinced this was a divine endowment and was inspired by the testimony of years of humble stewardship of that great mission.
Was this grandiosity and pride? Perhaps, but innocently. Was the vision always false to the bone? Maybe, but I don’t think so. Was it mixed from the beginning. Almost assuredly. Yet to the degree that the high call was ever true, it raises the stakes for how we conduct our affairs — then and now. Because to the degree that the image we sustained could exist as a genuine mirror of the divine pattern, and simultaneously a corruption of divine values, we have become guilty of stealing (rather, defiling, diminishing, or corrupting) God’s name and reputation….with a prayer movement! The people are beautiful, the prayers are beautiful, the model is beautiful. But to the degree that it has been founded on lies (and/or liars) and therefore has operated with a concrete basement of secret, shameful practices, and perhaps business vectors alloyed to darkness, it has become a reproach. It’s a super-spiritual Christian underworld that looks good on paper (and livestream) but, like a mouse that gets into a house and dies behind the walls, the rotten stench eventually seeps through, and can no longer be denied. If you unknowingly attended a mafia picnic, you might come away deeply impressed by their family values! Just stick around though. Time has a way of revealing deeper stories. Mark 4:21-22 declares that the destiny of truth is to be known. While this should encourage us, it also frustrates us when justice seems delayed. Yet Ecclesiastes 2:11 assures an ultimate discovery process; therefore we should not leverage God’s patience and forbearance to harden our hearts, Romans 2:4, but to surrender quickly. In fact, God is waiting on us more than we are waiting for Him! “Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice” (Isa. 30:18). Isaiah reveals that God’s idea of justice is to patiently give every opportunity for a sinner to turn. Or for a system to turn.
But systems are led by people. They don’t turn themselves.
Money is not inherently evil, but the fact that both the church and the mafia have highly developed economies should give us pause for how we do business. Economic systems operate on fundamentals such as supply-and-demand. The greatest disruption of such systems therefore is not when the demand is threatened, but the supply. By coming forward, Jane Doe threatened the supply. Jane Doe revealed the pattern. As courage begets courage, Jane Doe coming forward gave others the courage to come forward too, and now we see what we cannot unsee, and the entire system is exposed. The dots are no longer randomized, nor hidden. Like a black light at a crime scene, we can now easily see things that have always been here, but the right kind of light had not yet been brought to bear.
There is enough fabric-rending, wailable data on hand to provoke at least some level of corporate grief and soul-searching. So how do the leaders of this humble, God-chasing, Jesus-loving, End Times worship and prayer movement respond? They double down. They clam up. And no matter what reasons are given, it doesn’t add up. Which means we have to step further back from the brushstrokes so we can see the bigger picture. So if my candor or concerns have already offended you, I beg you, please stop here. It only gets worse.
Resistance to the Proddings of God
Saul of Tarsus was a Pharisee. Historically, and throughout the gospels, we see Jesus warn of the leaven of the Pharisees. We see the danger of focusing on the externals, on the legally permissible positions, that utterly miss the heart of what God desires. The Pharisees and Sadducees, the lawyers and scribes, could not recognize or appreciate, much less approve, of the table-turning Jesus. Though He was their Messiah, they would not claim Him, because this also required that they agree with what He was doing, agree with the justness of His cause, and submit to the messy, exposing, necessary, corrective rebuke of His House-Cleaning zeal. You see, the Pharisees were zealous, too, but their zeal was for appearances and influence — that was part of the danger of their “leaven.” Over many centuries, they had finely tuned the Law to mostly govern matters of superficial compliance, rather than as a relentless standard demanding inner transformation and total yieldedness to God. Jesus did not expose the ways the religious leaders obeyed wrongly, as if it were merely a matter of wrong interpretation. No, His actions exposed their fundamental, heart-level resistance to His presence in their midst. They were not confused Law-keepers. They were actually lawless, because one greater than Moses stood among them and they would not heed His voice. They were unwilling to obey God’s controversial, corrective, healing work among them.
In Acts 26, Saul the Pharisee retells the disruptive moment when Jesus appeared to him in a vision. The Lord explained to Saul, “It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
This common expression was found in both Greek and Latin literature of the time, describing the practice by which farmers would prod (or goad) their oxen in the fields. According to Chuck Swindoll, “Goads were typically made from slender pieces of timber, blunt on one end and pointed on the other. Farmers used the pointed end to urge a stubborn ox into motion.” An unbroken beast would kick at the goad because it required an action or a response that was irritating and undesirable, but the more the ox kicked, the more likely the goad would stab into the flesh of its leg, causing even greater pain. In other words, when the master is prodding us to go in a certain direction, it’s best to go in that direction. But our stubborn hearts can make us like dumb beasts before the Lord. We can resist.
IHOPKC is famous for saying, “Jesus is a good leader. We can trust His leadership.” Clearly, we are in the midst of a deep-clean of the House of Prayer. Why aren’t they making public statements to that effect? Why isn’t this what we’re hearing:
“Beloved friends across the Body of Christ, we have failed you! We are pained and perplexed! We are grieved and sorrowful. Ashamed by what we’ve become, what we missed, what we allowed. There is much to be said, but we are not fit to speak at this time. We are shutting everything down for the deepest, most thorough soul-searching in our 25-year history. Nothing is to be hidden! The Lord’s eye is upon us, and we know we are being measured. We have maintained our innocence to the detriment of seeing our guilt. Clearly, God is testing and refining us, and even though it is painful, we are submitting completely to His fire. We announce a course correction, for surely we have veered into dangerous territory. Oh God, search and review our damaged and compromised spiritual history! We can no longer ignore the voices of the many wounded who have come and gone, and who remain. Our only response must now be a full-throated commitment to allowing the Lord to probe and reveal whatever He sees fit until OUR own house is cleansed so that HIS house can be beautiful once again. Brothers and sisters, forgive us! Father, forgive us! And should He deem us unworthy to sustain what He permitted us to pioneer, then let this vision and anointing pass to another more worthy, for the sake of His great name! We declare His verdict good and right, whatever it may be.”
Clearly, nothing even close to this has been communicated. Rather, a thinly veiled “Father, forgive them” (those who question their process) has been employed to quietly redirect repentance away from any core guilt. The goading is being called demonic.
On that note, it is important for all of us to conduct ourselves with tender hearts one to another, and with integrity in our dealings. The greater the tension, disagreement, disillusionment and disappointment among fellow believers, the more important it is to personally exhibit attitudes and actions beyond reproach. I am sure I have failed at this myself. God, forgive me! So in demanding answers, we must not excuse carnal, human goading that goes beyond the pale and becomes truly ugly, even for the supposed sake of justice. It doesn’t work that way. Nor do I approve of derogatory or unethical online tactics. If you are letting your pain or (even justifiable) anger outweigh godly restraint and actions befitting followers of Jesus, please dial it down.
Even so, plainly put, from the first day to the present moment, the present and rotating leaders of IHOP are not following a course of action even remotely resembling institutional meekness. We are all left to agonize over why, why, WHY? Especially since Mike once taught — true then, true now —that even resistance or accusations of sin wrongly brought — wrong in fact or wrong in spirit — still afford individuals and institutions a profound opportunity for the Lord to sift and more deeply refine the motives and character of the wrongly accused. In other words, never waste a good crisis! Never waste personal opposition in its ability to help us become more humble and transparent before the Lord. But that isn’t happening. It is also why the Greeks and Romans used “kicking against the goads” to imply “ruinous resistance.”
And here at last, I come to the thing that has been gnawing at me over the last few days, that has made me more prayerful and sober than ever. I wrote this with dread, then sat on it, and have asked the Lord to lift this off my heart without releasing it. Yet it remains, like a chunk of hot lead in my stomach. I take no joy in this speculation, but I believe, increasingly, the actual fact of the matter is this:
The Lord of Hosts has a controversy with IHOP.
This is not unlike the controversy He had with His chosen people in the days of Hosea.
“Hear the word of the LORD, O children of Israel,
for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land…
there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery;
they break all bounds….therefore the land mourns”
(Hos. 4:1-3; cf. Jer. 25:31; Micah 6:2)
We are Now Beyond Temple Cleansing
Because of that controversy, I believe we have moved into another phase. This is not simply Jesus cleansing the House of Prayer which, though certainly harsh, had a mostly positive, redemptive purpose. No, this is Yahweh, creator of the universe, righteously drawing an apparatus of darkness and injustice into a cycle of proud resistance that in turn escalates the divine response, guaranteeing the full measure of justice will actually be delivered. IHOP has entered a chessmatch with God. Never enter a chessmatch with God! In the very first move, you tip your king, and surrender. But that’s not what they are doing. They are kicking against the goads. They are on a path of ruinous resistance. In other words, right now, IHOP is not a Temple needing cleansing. That opportunity came and went in the first 3-4 weeks. IHOP is now Egypt under Pharaoh, inviting the full measure of judgment. It began with repeated demands for a rigidly technical Matthew 18 process that was actually satisfied many times over in both letter and spirit, but still ignored. Without irony, we must observe that Matthew 18 begins with Jesus describing the appropriate response to anyone who causes a little one to stumble. He says it would be better for that man if a millstone had been hung around his neck. He then describes a redemptive process to try to avoid that outcome and restore that person, or system. But if not, by refusing the restoration process, however painful, the offender essentially ties the noose around their own neck. Mercy is not lacking here, and certainly “mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13), but when pride overwhelms the mercy, “there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment” (Heb. 10:26-27).
Many will strongly disagree that I could even suggest such a thing, so let me be clear. My point is not to indict or condemn the sincerity of those who fill the room — who still fill the room — with songs and prayers. That was our common mission, and it remains beautiful. For many, it remains central to their understanding of their own mission in life. For them, it is a matter of obedience to God. God has no controversy with those who see only the goodness of the Revelation 4-5 heavenly pattern, who pursue the simple lifestyle of worship and intercession. He delights in us, all of us. He led many, if not all of us, to Kansas City, for just such a beautiful mission. If the mission base is the embodiment of that purpose, the Global Prayer Room is certainly its beating heart. Those who have chosen to humbly hold the line and stay in the room from their own simple sense of calling are not those on the indictment board. Even so, it is rapidly becoming clearer and clearer that there was a dark side, much darker than any of us knew, that lay just around the corner, or up in that upper room at night, or there in that office, that was more about money, sex and power, than humility, fasting and prayer. It was about using people for pleasure and profit, perhaps more systematically and intentionally than we would like to admit and would be shocked to know.
In modern times, we talk about the secret shadow government that runs the visible government, i.e. the “Deep State.” There is almost certainly now a long-standing “shadow mission base” and that apparatus is scheduled for dismantling. You don’t have to believe me. You can hate me and call me a traitor to the cause. You can say I left bitter, or that I am grandstanding or clickbaiting, even though I have plenty of evidence to the contrary. All such talk would miss the point. My claim is not that I want to tear the place down. My deep concern is that God does. And if that is true, the best move we can make is to tip our king and surrender. If true, our only hope for the mission base is the deepest kind of repentance. Nineveh-level. The kind that shifts the course of meted judgment and reconnects us to mercy. We need a different kind of fire on the altar, and it needs to consume every other purpose, no matter how noble that purpose once seemed. The response that has been lacking must be the most thorough, bare-it-all, sackcloth-and-ashes kind of sorrow so that wherever sin has abounded, grace can abound all the more. The purity of the people who fill the prayer room has become a friendly, innocent mask for power players to wear in defense of an operation that is not nearly so holy and righteous as we have long believed. Yet because the people are pure, and the prayers are sincere, it is postulated that God could have no deeper controversy because the room is so dear to Him. In this argument, we’ve essentially outwitted God at His own game. See God! We’re doing what You want, what You inspired through the prophetic history, so all the other stuff must be weighed against that, and surely the eternal mission is greater than the messiness of the mess!
Stop! Just stop. This is kicking against the goads.
It also misses the point that everyone in that room would gladly give themselves to weeping and lamentation, or silence, or closing the doors, if the leadership themselves called for it. The reason the room persists with stubborn intercession is because the leaders persist in stubborn denial of the need for deeper reform of the mission and ministry of prayer. Please bear in mind, I am not a “judgment” preacher. In fact, the official messaging of IHOPKC on judgment frequently frustrated me because I felt it tended to diminish important New Covenant realities. So comparing IHOPKC to Pharaoh is an uncomfortable position for me to take, much less to speculate that God may be triangulating for hardness of heart to further reveal itself. I realize it is controversial. The fearful question is whether it could be true.
The Danger of Corporate Hardheartedness
In delivering His people, God had a clear strategy. He announced it in advance: “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart” (Exo. 4:21). Why? Because there was something deeper in that great empire, in their occultic culture of slavery, that God intended to fully dismantle for the sake of His people. By hardening Pharaoh, a more thorough and redemptive purge of spiritual contamination was guaranteed (Exo. 12:12-13). Thus, if Pharaoh had repented after Plagues 1 or 2 or 4, the devastation of Egypt would have been limited. With great tenderness, I submit that this is perhaps the terrifying moment we are now in. Over and over, we see God’s determination to escalate with Pharaoh because He intended to bring the whole nation to its knees. (Note: In context, the Hebrew word for “hardening” of the heart represents the continuation of a prior position. Pharaoh self-hardened his own heart during the snakes, Exo. 7:13; blood, 7:22; gnats, 8:15; flies, 8:32 livestock, 9:7; God hardened Pharaoh during the boils, 9:12; Pharaoh + God hardened with hail and fire, 9:35, 10:1; then God again hardened for locusts, 10:20; darkness, 10:27; firstborn, 11:12. The language of who did the hardening likely points to a seamless initiatory and responsive interplay between the human and the divine for all the plagues).
By the end, all of Egypt was left in ruins: agriculture, military, economy, religion, families, generations. None of us can afford to externalize this kind of severe mercy! God’s hardening actions proved and revealed that hardness was already there, which is why God acted as harshly as He did. Each cycle gave Pharaoh time to repent, yet by refusing, proved God right and just in the extreme, while simultaneously granting further occasion and deeper cause for Him to continue bringing the entire system of pride to its knees. Leaders, do not let IHOP fall for such cause as hardness of heart!
To the songbirds, Annas and faithful intercessors, I honor you. Inside or outside, I honor you. Please don’t take my corporate rebuke as a personal indictment. I honor your heart, and even the room itself. But the machine of prayer has become toxic and damaging. Too many families leave ruined. Once our eyes are opened, the darkness can no longer be ignored. It is therefore right for the Lord to bring severe correction, which — please hear me — if true, is actually part of His validation of your call to a life of prayer. He cares enough to create a purged and pure foundation, primarily for the glory of His son, but also for you — the songbirds, Annas and faithful intercessors — to kneel upon. So while some might take issue with such a strong position, or strongly worded statement, my language is meant to arrest our attention for the sake of redemption and repentance. Please remember, those of us who are now “outside” were once “inside.” We care deeply. We are not enemies. Leaders of IHOPKC, please choose a different path. Please soften. Please open up. Please lead the world in repentance, even as you have led in intercession. Be that “necessary, fundamental, provoking agent—with unavoidable leadership dimensions” for realigning earth to heaven in humility and repentance.
Dear God, let us not be found treasuring or defending such hardness of heart. Give us grace for what we lack: humility, tenderness, tears. Break us, that we might be broken, but let us not be crushed. And yet, whatever shadows refuse Your light, tear down every barrier for the sake of Your great name. Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar (Rom. 3:4). Save and deliver the men, women and children out of the snare of the fowler. If there is darkness in Your global, Isaiah 56:7 International House of Prayer, then let that darkness be brought fully into the light, no matter how shameful or terrible such knowledge might be.
Help us, Holy Spirit. Help us. Minister in righteousness to all your people in this hour with truth, mercy, hope, and healing. Let bitterness on the one side and hardness of heart on the other be removed from all of us. Let us simply seek Your face.