Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Power of Prayer

Over the years (I'm nearing the completion of my fifth year here), we have done a lot with prayer in worship and in workshops at my church, Wesley United Methodist ChurchWe have learned about healing prayer, talked about asking the Spirit to be a part of our prayers, and also talked about using blankets, or handkerchiefs, or even teddy bears to be the bearers of our prayers.  Once or twice, we have talked about standing in someone's place when we are unable to pray with them face to face.  

This last Sunday during worship, we had only a few prayer requests shared aloud.  Two were praises with hope for continued prayer and one was for a teenage boy struck by a severe illness called Stevens-Johnson syndrome

When it came time for prayer, I thought, we should pray specifically and intently for this young man.  So I called up the person who shared the concern and asked him to stand in the boy's place.  I also invited up anyone who wanted to lay on hands.  And invited others to lift their hands (or leave their hands down, whatever their preference) as we prayed for this boy.  

I prayed aloud and led us, but could hear others who had come forward uttering their own prayers for healing.  It was powerful and as I prayed, I could feel the stand-in begin to tremble.  I've been experiencing the charismatic side of faith for nearly a decade, so I knew not to worry, assured that the Spirit was at work.  After I finished I looked around the congregation and saw many wiping the tears from their eyes. It was truly powerful.

What was more powerful was what was shared later by the stand-in. He had gone that afternoon to see the boy and had shared what happened during church and that we were praying for peace and complete healing.  Then he prayed with the boy and said that as he did he could feel the Spirit of God pass from him to the boy.  

Since Sunday we have received a couple of updates and praise reports.  1) The boy's eyesight, which was at high risk, has been spared.  2) He was able to come off the breathing tube and was able to speak some.

I am grateful to be part of this type of church, one that prays, one that cares, one that is willing to let the Spirit move.  They have always been faithful and prayerful, but not always ready to be a part of the charismatic side of church.  But it is powerful (and affirming) to see God work in these ways.

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