I went on a missions trip with my friends church, it was a local Pentecostal church who were doing outreach and ministering to people of the surrounding areas of their sister church overseas.
In the lead up to this trip I was asked by the senior pastor to attend a private session with him to discuss my role while overseas, he wanted to ensure I was clear on what the trip entailed and that I knew what was expected of me. I had reasonably good experiences with this church but everything started to change after attending this ‘information session’.
The senior pastor got straight to the point. He said “you’re not allowed to pray unless directed by members of our leadership group; you cannot say anything negative against the crew or the church while on mission”. I suppose I agreed with the second part, but the first had some very direct implications for my walk with God and my freedom to pray as the spirit lead.. anyway I decided to go, presuming the senior pastor was just having a bad day and didn’t really clarify what he meant be ‘cannot pray’.
During an evening prayer worship service in one of the overseas churches, while sitting quietly (crossed arms, in my ‘I’m not allowed to pray’ style posture) I noticed several of the leadership group praying for a man that appeared to be sick and was standing up, swaying slightly from left to right.
Overtime this man became quite distressed and his eyes appeared to be rolling in his head, his whole body appeared to be flustering rapidly and was clearly unwell. Several of the group leaders commenced to place their hands on him in a typical ‘push hands into head’ Pentecostal posture. After a while they retreated praying for this man and left him in the crowd, clearly they were getting worried about his physical condition and wanted to now stay clear.
Many of the other younger onlookers from our mission group became distressed at what they were seeing and did not know what to do… it was then that I was reminded of the verse ‘greater is he that is in me, that he that is in the world’ and ‘whatever you do ask for it in my name, so my Father will be glorified’.
Without even a second thought, and so ignoring the ‘lingering rules been bestowed upon me by the senior pastor’, I stood up and walked over to minister to this man. If I remember correctly I said quietly something like this ‘In the name of Jesus, may the peace that surpasses all understanding give this man rest’… the man’s posture relaxed, he refocused his eyes on me and then walked out of the building.
I learnt several lessons that day that still stick with me to this day.
1. Never let someone get in the way of the Holy Spirits prompting and Gods purpose for your life and others.
2. Never stop praying; even when someone (not matter how worldly significant) stands in between Christ and you and says ‘you cannot pray’, he is not a man of God.
3. Rely on Gods living word to give you insight into each unique situation and circumstance, the wisdom on man fails to give any ‘process or practice to deal with every situation’