Two months ago my church decided to have a service where the majority of the time would be free for the Holy Spirit to move spontaneously. This was a scary proposition, but it felt like the direction God was leading us.
Admittedly, though, a part of me felt like I was being led like a lamb to slaughter. I could hear the possible complaints: “You really believe God called you, our pastor, to not plan anything? Really? For an hour-and-a-half?”
Either God would move or things would turn south quickly.
The day before the service my wife, Stephanie, began to experience excruciating back pain. Like an 8-9 on the pain scale. I thought about praying for her, then got the sensation that I needed to wait. That decision earned me a night in the doghouse.
The next morning, after a brief devotional, we spent time in groups seeking God’s direction for the rest of the gathering. Afterwards, one of our elders suggested that we all come around two men, and ask the Lord to help them be bolder in praying out loud. So we did.
After ten minutes or so, we prayed for other needs and people. We just kept on standing and praying together. It was awesome! Then, I felt led to let the group know about Stephanie’s back issue, which she was trying to hide from everyone. She’s tough like her dad in that way.
I called her forward, and then asked the two men if they would pray out loud for God to heal Stephanie. I said they didn’t need to pray in a complicated way, just 5-10 seconds, very simply. But, I did ask that they not pray for doctors to heal Steph, just that Jesus would heal her.
They both prayed simple, beautiful, compassionate prayers. Stephanie’s back pain immediately went from an 8-9 to a 1. Later that day it was completely gone. Praise God!
Let me encourage you. God doesn’t just want to use pastors to pray. In fact, I would venture to say God likes using non-pastors more than pastors to do great things for His kingdom (1 Corinthians 1:26-29). But ultimately, God wants to use anyone who will be available for Him.
God knows how you don't think you speak well. God also knows how you don’t like looking foolish. And, to God, those characteristics make for a perfect opportunity. So, are you ready to start seeing God answer many of the childlike, experiencing-God type prayers that you’ve offered up throughout your life?
God says to us, “I know you don't speak well, Moses. I know you’re just a teenager, Jeremiah. I know you’ve repeatedly over-committed and under-delivered, Peter, and I know you feel like you don’t have much to offer. But there are crippled beggars at the gate called beautiful who need what each of y'all do have. Me.”
When we move away from comfort and make ourselves available, we will experience God.