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The church had requested that we park far away and sit in the overflow room so that their own members could get in for sunday morning service. (Apparently they had been crowded out the week before when the out-of-town visitors lined up an hour early to get good seats.) Julie and I arrived about 40 minutes early and took the far away parking. We walked to the Church and went to the overflow room, but every seat in it was already taken. Also, most of the standing room was taken. I went to the bookstore and purchased some CDs then sort of hovered around trying to find someplace to park myself. I finally decided to go to the car and listen to music until ministry time began. They started the worship just as I was leaving, so I stood in the back and worshipped with them. About 15 minutes into the service, I noticed a block of 4 empty seats on the far back row on the rightmost side of the room, so I sat in one of them. I felt a little guilty sitting in the main sanctuary when we'd been asked not to. But there was absolutely no other place to go. My other option was to wait in the car.
When John got up to speak, he seemed to be looking right at me. I suspect it was just my guilty conscience. I toyed with the idea of slipping down to the floor so that he could not see me, but decided against that. At one point he asked how many people in the sanctuary were out of town visitors for the renewal meetings. The entire back three rows raised their hands. That made me feel a lot less guilty about being in the main sanctuary. I guess a lot of others were unable to find seating in the overflow room and took empty seats in the back after the service had started.
As the service progressed, I found myself interceeding for them. Their youth are being pushed out and their youth group has lost over 2/3 of its members. Their church members are having trouble getting into their own church on Sunday mornings. Parking is a logistical nightmare. I asked the Lord to give solve the logistical problems for them and not allow them to loose any more of their members.
The sunday morning service was a regular Church service, not a renewal meeting. There was a little bit of prayer after service, but they did not fold up chairs and that did not leave much room for people who wanted ministry. Also, they tended to do more of the traditional 5-step prayer model and less of the renewal style praying. Near the end of the service, the Lord's presence had come on me very strongly. I hovered near the front for a while, worshipping along with the music. I was in the chair area and noticed that the asiles had become lined with people waiting for ministry. I moved to the overflow room to make more space for the Church members.
Some of the ministry team members were praying for people in the overflow room, but not very much ministry was going on. I decided to just stand up front and worship for a while. I secretly hoped that maybe someone would come pray for me, but I sort of doubted that anyone would. (They used to recommned that you come soak for atleast 4 meetings. I knew I'd be ministering this evening. If I soaked in prayer this morning, it would make my 4th time this trip: Tues night, Wed afternoon and Saturday night were the other times)
Grant walked up to me and asked me if I wanted prayer. He did not have a ministry team badge on. Someone I felt that it would be better not to be prayed for anyone not released to minister that morning. So I told him that I just wanted to stand here and worship. He asked me to join him and some unsaved people for lunch, but I already had other plans with Julie. Grant left and I continued to worship.
A few minutes later, one of the men from the ministry team came over and started praying for me. I remember thanking the Lord for being sweet and sending someone over to pray for me. I ended up getting an opportunity to soak for a 4th meeting after all.
I stayed in the Lord's presense for a while and then went back into the main sanctuary. It was still fairly crowded, so I stood at the back of a group waiting for prayer. John was still up there praying for people, as were some others from the ministry team. I am not sure exactly why I was standing back there. Maybe I figured I'd eventually get some prayer or maybe I just enjoyed being around the anointing so much. Anyhow, I stood there with my eyes closed and worshipped the Lord.
"Teresa, come here, please." I heard my voice and opened my eyes. John was motioning for me to come to him. I had to work my way past several people who were infront of me. John asked me to soak the girl that he had been praying for. As I started to pray for her, I could feel John's hand resting lightly on my shoulder for a minute or two. John did not say anything, but I knew that he was releasing me to minister and asking the Lord to give me an anointing. I hardly paid any attention to what John was doing because the Lord was starting to show me things about this woman. She was another of those broken hearted that He wanted to heal. As I prayed for her, I was reminded that last night the Lord had told me He was anointing me to heal the broken hearted. The woman began to cry as I prayed for her. I continued to soak her and asked the Lord to surround her with His love and acceptance. After a long time, she began to sway and someone came up to act as a catcher. She opened her eyes and asked if she could please sit down. I helped her to a chair and then prayed with her for a little longer. I had a real sense of the Lord's compassion on her. By the time I finished, most of the people had cleared out of the area. I found Julie and we went to lunch.
I had arrived late, so I parked far away. I had to go in the ministry team enterence since they were not opening the main door early enough for the ministry team prayer. I put my stuff down on the 2nd row of the side wing, next to another ministry team woman. It turned out that prayer was starting late, so we sat and talked for a while. She had come early so she could get a parking space. I mentioned that I was parked far away in the factory lots. She offered to give me a ride to my car when she left that evening.
The evening service was very crowded. John Arnott was back and he ran the service. He made an anouncement that only those with badges were allowed to pray for people. He explained that those with pink badges had been through their training and those with green badges were either far enough along in training to be released to pray or were people he knew and enlisted to help pray. (I was so happy that he mentioned the "enlisted" part. For some reason that made me feel very good.) John went on to say that it was not just a matter of skill and anointing. He said that they knew the character of those who they had released to pray and that the character was every bit as important as the anointing. He said he'd be preaching on that this evening.
John preached on two types of anointing. He talked about Samson who was chosen to be anointed before he was born. Samson took his anointing for granted and used it for his own gain instead of to accomplish God's purposes. Since Samson did not value his anointing, he eventually lost it. Then he talked about Elisha, who actively sought after the anointing and valued it very much when it came. John suggested that we be like Elisha and actively seek the Lord for an anointing. He suggested that we get our acts together with the Lord and allow Him to build a godly character in us.
When the ministry time started, there was hardly any room to pray for anyone. I moved to the back of the room and started praying for people there. God was touching them quickly and powerfully. Soon it became too crowded to pray for people in that area, so I moved to the other side of the room. Person after person wanted prayer.
Two people come up to me and demanded prayer. They were cearly very upset. In both cases, I told them that we tried to pray for the people who were worshipping the Lord. I told them to go worship the Lord for a few minutes and then I'd come back to them. In both cases they tried to worship for about a minute then got adgitated and left. I remember breathing a silent prayer to the Lord asking Him about this. Had I hurt or rejected them? Should I have prayed for them in their adgitated state? (I've been taught that it's very hard to minister to people who were worked up, so that's why I'd told them to go worship and hopefully calm down.) I found myself repenting to the Lord for not handling those two people correctly and prayed that someone He would bless them. Oh Lord, please help me to always minister out of Your heart of compassion and never hurt anyone who comes to me for ministry. Please forgive my clumbsiness in this area and help me to do better next time. I am so sorry...
Around 11:30 PM, it was getting harder to pray for people. I'd been praying for one man for about 4 minutes and nothing seemed to be happening. The prayer team lady I'd sat by came up and joined me in prayer. I moved out of the way to let her in. She said that I should pray for him and I said that was running out of anointing so she should do it. She said that she was out of anointing as well. We both prayed for him. She pushed on his chest and he went down. I remember being very surprised to see her push - that's supossed to be a big no-no. But the person on the floor looked like the Lord was touching him. So I did not say anything.
Then she looked at me and asked me if I was ready to go. I said yes and walked with her to her car. We had to take a long dark and uneven path. She twisted her ankle in a pot hole and fell down. I helped her up and we got into the car. She started telling me how she seemed to frequently get into freak accidents where her foot was hurt. All of the sudden, the Lord reminded me of praying for that woman with crippling arthritus in the feet -- that had been an attack on evangelism. I offered to pray for her. I asked the Lord to come increase His healing anoniting. Then I began to bless her feet and she started shaking violently. I was afraid that she might hit her head on the steering wheel, and put my hand between her head and the wheel. But she never hit it. The Lord's presense came on her with incredible power. I blessed and called forth evangelism and the intensity increased even more. It sort of blew me away. But I had a strong witness in my spirit that I was praying what the Lord wanted.
After about 5 minutes or so the shaking calmed down. She opened her eyes and said, my foot doesn't hurt any more. She said that as I prayed the Lord began showing her that all of these "accidents" did infact occur shortly after she started evangelistic endeavors. She felt that the prayer was right on. We prayed some more, asking God to assign His angel to protect her and to keep her from dashing her foot against a rock. I broke any curses that might be on her feet and again blessed them. The Holy Spirit came on her powerfully again.
It was about midnight when she came to enough to drop me at my car. I drove back to the meeting and parked right outside of the door. I felt like it was time to receive prayer instead of time to dish it out. So I took my ministry team sticker off and went back in.
I looked around and there were still alot of people waiting for prayer. I went over and stood near a group of them and started worshipping the Lord. It turned out that John was praying in that area. He seemed to be moving away from where I was standing, not towards me. Eventually I moved to the other side of the group. John saw me almost immediately and asked me if I'd been receiving. "Not yet, I was praying for people. But now I want to recieve." He took me by the hand and led me to where there was a little more room, then he started praying for me. After a minute, he said "Praise You, Lord Jesus." I immediately remembered that the Lord had been speaking to me about worshipping Him. I stopped thinking about receiving prayer and started worshipping the Lord. I went down instantly.
I lay there soaking in the Lord's presense. I started to feel power surge through my body and asked Him for more. The Lord touched me for a while and it was very good. But people were crowding around the immediate area to be closer to John. I was stepped on frequently and it became distracting. One lady stood on my hair and when my head started shaking, a hunk of it pulled out. That hurt and distracted me so that it was impossible to receive any more from the Lord. I got her to move her foot and sat up.
I was not sure what to do, so I followed John around and watched him pray. It can be alot of fun to watch John pray. Every now and then I'd help him catch and sometimes he'd ask me to soak someone. From time to time I'd pray for people who had been down and were distracted when someone stepped on them.
Eventually (maybe an hour or so later), I asked John to pray for me again. He grabbed my hand and said "Bless Teresa Lord. Fill her back up." Then he let go of my hand and walked off to pray for others. I remember being a little disappointed that it was so short. So I just stood there before the Lord asking Him to fill me and bless me. He did.
After a while a young boy (maybe 12 or 13 years old) came by and prayed for me. The Lord touched me powerfully and I went down. I started laughting and stayed down for a while. As soon as I got back up, he offered to pray for me again and the same thing happened. I remember thinking what a blessing the youth was and praying that the Lord would make him even more mighty in the Lord. When I got back up, I felt so full and spiritually healthy. I wandered back over to where John was praying.
I noticed one woman who John started to pray for and then left her to go to someone else without ever actually praying for her. She stood there for a long while worshipping the Lord. Somewhere during that time, John grabbed Carols hand and left the room. The girl eventually opened her eyes and looked around disappointed. I asked her if she had received any prayer and she said no. So I offered to pray for her. The Lord fell on her rapidly and heavily. He seemed to touch her powerfully and she stayed down for a while. A few others asked me to pray for them, so I did. I could feel that light pressure on the top of my head again. I felt overflowing with the Lord's fullness. That made it so easy to minister to others. It seemed appropriate to end my last evening both being filled and giving it away to others.
John came back into the room. He was standing near Carol, who was praying for someone. I went up to him, thanked him and said goodbye. I also gave him a couple of entries from my journal about when He and Carol had been in San Francisco.
I walked out of the building realizing this would be the last time that I'd be there for a very long time. I realized that I should be sad or meloncholy, but I felt neither. Instead I felt full of the Lord's goodness and excited to see what He would do through me when I got home.
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