In one sense, HoPE began on October 31, 2003 in the basement space used by The Canopy Christian Community; in another sense the groundwork began much earlier than that.
In the fall of 1999, Jim Hall and several others from Edmonton attended a ‘Harp and Bowl’ conference in Kelowna, BC, where Mike Bickle and Noel Alexander were the speakers. The International House of Prayer in Kansas City (IHOP-KC) had just started going 24-7 and there was great interest in and excitement about it. It was at that conference where Jim became exposed to the specifics of the ‘Harp and Bowl model’.
In the fall of 2000, a small group of people began to meet weekly to hold ‘Harp and Bowl’ prayer meetings in Edmonton. A small handful of people gathered each week for nearly two years and in 2001 a team of seven people from this ‘Harp and Bowl’ group raised money for a team to fly to and visit IHOP-KC.
In March 2002, a conference was held in Edmonton called Fragrant Incense with Wes and Stacey Campbell as the speakers. The stated purpose of the conference was to cast the vision for the establishment of a house of prayer in Edmonton. It was a powerful time and people still speak of being impacted by God at that conference.
In January of 2003, Jim planted a church called The Canopy Christian Community. It was there on October 31, 2003 that The Canopy began to hold monthly, 24-hour gatherings of worship and prayer. These monthly meetings soon became called ‘House of Prayer Edmonton’ and continued at The Canopy until September of 2005. By then it was becoming increasingly difficult for a small church plant like The Canopy to continue filling the entire 24 hours. People were growing weary and there was little involvement from people outside The Canopy. The vision of HoPE had always been to be a citywide ministry and it became apparent that a move to a different location was necessary.
In the fall of 2005, HoPE moved locations to the Vanguard College campus in north Edmonton. A large pastors’ prayer meeting in the city was moving to the Vanguard campus and a new prayer room was being built on the roof of the college, with a view across the city.
That year The Canopy hosted another Fragrant Incense conference, with Noel Alexander as the speaker. (Noel was formative in establishing the foundation for IHOP-KC.) That conference ended up laying a spiritual foundation for what would happen early in 2006.
A federal election had been called for January 2006. There was a sense that it was time to call the city to pray for the election by coming together for a week of 24-hour intercession. Many churches in the city responded and the week of prayer was held at Vanguard College for the seven days before the election. It was the first time in the history of Edmonton that there was seven days of 24-hour prayer in a single location. It concluded with a special evening of worship and intercession for the election on the last day with approximately 150 people attending from churches all over the city.
Over the years, the monthly 24-hour worship and prayer gatherings faithfully continued in two-hour blocks. Many good things happened while HoPE met on the Vanguard campus; however, the location proved to be out of the way and challenging for new people to find. In 2008 a door of opportunity opened for HoPE to begin to meet at the Marketplace Chapel in West Edmonton Mall.
In March 2008 a citywide event called ‘The CRY’ was held in Edmonton. The CRY was a Canadian ministry that was inspired by Lou Engle’s American ministry, ‘The Call’. Coming out of the CRY-Edmonton there was the sense by some leaders in the city that it was time for HoPE to move from a monthly format to a weekly format. It was decided that HoPE would begin to hold weekly worship and intercession meetings every Friday night from 7-9 PM, with the third Friday of each month continuing to be a 24-hour format. This began in May 2008.
In July 2009, Jim became HoPE’s first full-time intercessory missionary. In October of that year, HoPE launched the ‘Nine to Noon’ initiative, and the prayer room was staffed with people praying and worshipping from 9 AM to 12 noon each week from Monday – Friday. In October of 2012, HoPE moved from the Marketplace Chapel and began to share facilities with Victory Church on the Rock. This move provided a much larger meeting space for worship teams and workspace for the HoPE staff.
October 31, 2013 marked the 10-year anniversary of HoPE. To celebrate, HoPE partnered with Resurgence Ministries (who had their 5-year anniversary on the same weekend) to co-host Edmonton’s first ‘BURN’ – 50 hours of continual, corporate worship. The Edmonton BURN was a Christian cross-denominational event made up of a diverse expression of believers from throughout the capital region and led by many local worship teams. Hundreds of people from Edmonton, other cities and provinces participated for an hour or all 50 hours (yes, a couple of people stayed the entire time!). What started as a one-time event has now become a yearly and highly anticipated corporate format to celebrate and honor God with our praise and worship.
From September 28 to October 3, 2015 in conjunction with the Edmonton Area Ministerial Association, HoPE once again hosted 24/7 prayer for a federal election. Called 'The Assembly' with over 40 different churches and local ministries who come out to cover one or more of the 2-hour blocks and with a cumulative total of 1,400 people of the six days, this may have been one of the largest/longest prayer meetings in Edmonton's history.
Now in 2017 we are once again expanding our prayer room with the launch of the Canopy Prayer Room. This story has yet to be written…