Restless Reverence: Missouri Church Has Prayed 24/7 for 12 Years

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Fred Blocher / Kansas City Star / MCT

The International House of Prayer in South Kansas City, Mo. buzzes at all hours with worshippers.

Appropriately called the International House of Prayer, this center of worship never closes. And they’ve been serving up an endless helping of hope and prayer for more than a decade.

Just like the restaurant with which it shares an acronym, IHOP provides sustenance round-the-clock – but of the spiritual variety. The Los Angeles Times profiles the all-day, every-day worship ceremony at the church located in a shopping mall in Kansas City, Mo. The sanctuary itself is housed in the shell of a former supermarket – the warehouse-style space allows the church to see a constant stream of worshippers who pray to battle the demons that they say have overtaken society.

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The church calls it “spiritual warfare.” Despite the rather paradoxical term, churchgoers hope to put an end to the evils in the world. And since these evils grip our world every minute of every day, their prayer must continue on the same schedule in resistance.

Fred Blocher / Kansas City Star / MCT

The International House of Prayer set up shop on Sept. 19, 1999 and have missed nary a moment of exultation since. To keep up their relentless commitment to prayer, the church’s organizers schedule 25 bands each week in two-hour shifts.  Band members continue playing until the next band has taken the stage and is ready to take over. And IHOP staffers, many of whom spend at least 25 hours each week helping run the prayer ceremony, can elect to live close-by in a church-owned apartment complex.

It’s certainly a huge undertaking, but it’s one that shows no sign of slowing. After all, they’ve kept it up for 12 years – not even an act of God could halt the homage.

Nick Carbone is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @nickcarbone. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

PHOTOS: Inside a Mormon Church