I was conducting my last service for a church that follows a liturgical model, meaning they follow a prescribed format written in the bulletin.
When I walked down on the floor to do the Pastoral Prayer, I took a number of prayer requests. Then a gentleman raised his hand and said he would like the church to pray for me as I prepared to end my time there and seek God’s next assignment. He wondered if it would be alright if the church gathered around me, laid hands on me and prayed for me and my family. I knew he wasn’t really asking for my approval. He was asking the church members if they would accept the unorthodox challenge to do something unexpected, something not written in the bulletin, that he sensed was the right thing to do in the moment.
I simply said, “Well? Presbyterians?” And waited for them to decide.
Opportunities for breakthroughs happen when you least expect them. They sneak up on you and surprise you. And they ask the question… are you ready to grow?… to go beyond what is comfortable in order to move into new levels of spiritual maturity, service to others, and walking with God, ready to move when God moves in you and through you?
Now, this may not have been a challenge for many churches. And this church, full of wonderful people was a mix of those who favored tradition and expected order, and those who would welcome new ideas and spontaneous happenings that are Spirit-guided.
There was a moment of pregnant pause, and finally, someone said, “Yes.” I don’t know who it was. But that was all that was needed. A yes. And the church got up from their pews and gathered around me and laid hands on me. I gave the microphone to the gentleman who suggested this ritual. He prayed a most wonderful prayer, one that ushered in for me a palpable sense of God’s grace and providence. I felt the energy of the group flow into me like a breath of air when inhaling. I received a strong feeling of love, confidence and hope about the future. There was a sense of being held and supported by the strength of God, which came through the prayers and thoughts of those gathered. It was a wonderful moment for both me and the church. It was a breakthrough moment of letting God’s spirit move freely.
God is always challenging us not to put Spirit in a box. Not the box of printed bulletins, or tradition or habit. God is beyond all formalities, and does not conform to our ideas of convenience. God is always ready to do a new thing in each of us. We must however, learn to trust the guidance of God in the moment. IN THE MOMENT. That demands a listening spirit, and open heart, and a willingness to ‘Go with God.’ When that happens we rise above fear. Then amazing things can occur in your life, because you are not bound by the way things HAVE to be. You will be able to flow with the Spirit.
It took trust and courage for that young man to speak up as he did. It took a bold response and an act of faith for the church to gather in the moment. And we were all blessed.
Prayer – GOD, MAY I ALWAYS REMAIN ALERT TO CIRCUMSTANCES WHEN YOU ARE INVITING ME TO EXPERIENCE A NEW BREAKTHROUGH IN MY SPIRITUAL GROWTH.
Affirmation – I am ready for a breakthrough. I want to grow. I am humble enough and strong enough.
May you have Power for Life Now!