Moscow: Monday's Conference

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-- © GodSpeak International 1998 --
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Monday's Conference

The conference officially started with registration at 9:00 a.m. Worship team practice started at the same time. But those on the ministry team did not have any responsibilities until noon, when the general orientation began. However, many of us were intercessors and we decided to get together at 10:00 a.m. to pray/intercede for the conference.

We did pray, first individually and then together as a little group. We sensed that the Lord was going to pour out a spirit of unity and that He was going to break dividing walls. We also sensed that He was going to come in incredible power. We prayed in a hallway just outside of where the worship team was practicing. After a while, they stopped practicing and gathered in a little circle to pray together. Randy was also in that circle, starting to pray/intercede for the meeting with the team. Those of us who'd been interceding for the meetings felt like we were supposed to join the worship team in prayer. So we went up on the stage and formed an outer circle around the team, each placing our hand on the back or shoulder of one of the worship team members. This way each person on the worship team had someone laying hands on them. At first the intercessors sort of alternated between praying quietly for those who we were laying our hands on and joining in with the intercession of the worship team.

The Lord started falling on the worship team as we prayed together. Many began to shake under the power -- Todd (a keyboard player) was thrown across the stage and was down/out for a long time.

Then we had communion using two dinner rolls and a little box of some type of juice. The elements were passed around the circle and there were still some left after everyone had partaken together. Randy said we needed to consume all the communion elements, so we passed them around again.

We saved a little for Todd, who was still out. (When Todd finally got up, he had a powerful anointing on him and was able to minister in power and also to intercede with power/anointing -- not sure he planned to do either of these since he is a keyboardist with the worship team.)

One o'clock rolled around. We had a brief orientation and then were dismissed for lunch.

The afternoon session was a worship on healing, teaching the vineyard 5-step prayer model. Near the end of the teaching time, they invited those on the ministry team who had any words of knowledge to come up to stage. The Lord gave me a word about people with a sharp pain in the small of their back, in a specific and precise location. I went up and Robert (who is the Senior Associate Pastor from Randy's Church) wanted to know what my word was and then found me an interpreter. Randy was giving a list of words of knowledge that the Lord had given him. There were a few other people ahead of me in line to give words, including Steve Phillips. When Steve came up to the microphone to give the words the Lord had given him, he also had a list of several. One of the words Steve gave was what the Lord had given me. (A nice confirmation, but it would make my word sort of redundant. So I decided to step out of line and go help pray for some of the people who'd already been called up to the stage.)

Not much seemed to happen for the first person I prayed for -- the pain did not go down and there was not any heat or tingling or any indication that the Lord was doing anything. I was really surprised because I fully expected Him to come with incredible power and heal just about anyone who was prayed for. However, the Lord reminded me not to judge what He was doing by appearances. He reminded me how there was no overt indication of Him doing anything when they prayed for my back, yet it started to get better from the time that they prayed for me. In fact, I started to get a strong impression that the Lord was going to do that same type of thing with man. Then he started to say that by faith he knew that he was healed and started to proclaim his healing even though he still had the symptoms (or pain). I told him that in this particular prayer model, we don't say the healing has occurred until there is some actual physical evidence of that healing. I talked a bit about soaking prayer and also a bit about sometimes God starts to heal us from the instant we are prayed for, but it takes a while for the healing to become evident. I also explained that if a person is not healed, that does not indicate that they don't have enough faith or that there is some type of sin in their lives -- you know -- all the standard stuff for post-prayer counseling when you pray for someone who does not appear to have been healed. The man said that he thought that something did happen because he did not have the faith to be healed before we prayed and now he did. I was not able to tell whether the Lord had really imparted faith into this man as we prayed or if this was the type of response that he'd been taught to make from his denominational background. So I asked if I could just bless him and he said "of course." Well, I prayed a 30 second blessing and he went out under the power.

The next lady also had the same back pain I'd had the word of knowledge about. I started doing the 5 step model with her. Meanwhile other folks had been dramatically healed and some were sharing their testimonies over the microphone. God came very gently on the lady and she began to cry. At first I thought that maybe I was causing her some pain as I laid my hand on her sore back, so I moved it and asked if it hurt when I touched her there. She said no, it felt "good." So I put my hand back and prayed some more. Her eyelids began to flutter and I could see the Lord's peace on her. He was definitely doing something with her, but did not seem to be doing it where her physical pain was. I asked her the standard questions about is God reminding you of something from the past that was traumatic or if anyone was coming to mind that had wronged her or that she might need to forgive. She said no. I threw up a silent prayer for the Lord to show me what to do next, because I felt sort of stumped -- I knew He was doing something but was not sure what.

I had a strong impression that her right leg was shorter than her left and that was what was causing the pain in her back. "Oh God," I though, "that's that Pentecostal leg lengthening thing..." I really don't like to pray that way and rarely do it. But nothing else came to me, so I set her on a chair and held up her legs and the right one was a little shorter. I made sure she was sitting back and straight in the chair and examined her legs again -- the right heal remained an inch shorter than the left -- not a big difference but a definite difference. I had my interpreter look to make sure it was not my imagination. She agreed that there was a difference. Then I simply held her legs (at about the ankles) in the flat of my hands and asked the Lord to place straighten anything that needed it and to make her legs the same length. The leg seemed to move slightly. My first impression was that she'd simply adjusted the way she sat in the chair, so I looked up at her face. She was overcome with the spirit and her eyes were closed and her eyelids fluttering and she had a big smile on her face. So I put the legs down and picked them up again -- they still appeared to be the same length. I showed my interpreter. She agreed that they were the same length, but since there had only been an inch difference when we started, we were not positive that this was not simply due to the way she'd been sitting rather than a problem - but the lady was so lost in the spirit that we could not really continue the conversation. It was like she was slain in the spirit as she sat in the chair. It was clear that the Lord was doing something with her. So we left her and moved on to pray for the next person.

It was like that with everyone I prayed for that session -- God seemed to be doing something, but not the dramatic instant healings I'd expected that He would do when I prayed for healing. Some people felt warmth or tingling. Symptoms diminished but did not go totally away. However, the Lord was definitely doing some powerful things in some of the other people, and there were several testimonies of dramatic and instantaneous healings.

The mob on the stage eventually got prayed for. The Lord drew my attention to one lady with a very disparate look on her face who was standing in a crowd on the area between the front row seats and the stage. I went down to pray for her. A couple of people grabbed me in route, so it took a bit of time to work over to where she was standing. When I got there, I asked her what was the matter. She said she'd been dropped as a baby and was deformed. I put my hand on her spine -- it was more deformed than I'd ever seen before in my life and there was a great big huge hump sticking straight back out of her right shoulder blade about 6 inches tall. My first thought was "Oh my -- I don't have enough faith to pray for this one!" But I prayed anyhow and sure enough -- nothing seemed to happen. I noticed that Randy was praying for someone a few feet from where we were, so I took her over to Randy. As soon as he'd finished with the person he was praying for, I asked Randy to pray for her and he did.

I wandered off to pray for someone else. A little later, I noticed the woman I'd taken to Randy making her way past me out of that area. She looked the same as before I took her to Randy, but I was too busy to take a good look. [Later that night we had a debriefing. At one point several conversations were going on at once. So I leaned over to Randy and asked him about that lady I'd brought to him. I said, "That one was too hard for me, so I brought her to you." Randy looked me right in the eyes and simply said, "that one was too hard for me too." I remembered being very impressed with Randy's simplicity and directness and it somehow freed me from needed to "see results" in order to pray for healings. It was a simple reminder that the healing, as well as the anointing comes from the Lord; and our job is simply to pray. The rest is up to God.]

After the workshop, we had a dinner break and I invited Luda (my interpreter) to join me for dinner.

The evening service started with worship, and that worship was incredible. We had been a little concerned about having folks from different denominations (who had a lot of suspicion/mistrust for each other) in the conference, but when the worship started they all joined in. They were truly worshiping the Lord and they were literally together and in one accord -- just like in the book of acts. Denominational barriers and personal mistrusts were laid aside and God's presence was so thick during the worship that you could have cut it with a knife. The worship there was one of the most incredible things I've ever experienced.

Worship was welling up within my own spirit and I felt bounded together in love with my Russian brothers and sisters. I had to keep reminding myself that this was Russia, and not some incredible conference back home in the states. The Russian believers certainly knew how to celebrate, praise and worship the Lord. He seemed delighted with the worship and the manifest sense of His presence in the room increased as the worship progressed. I could see how God truly "inhabits the praises of His people."

No one wanted the worship to stop -- we all wanted it to go on forever. We started with some fast and joyful songs, then moved into some slower and high worship songs and then moved from there into some victory and celebration songs. The place was just alive with victory and expectation as we ended the last song. There was this long spontaneous clap offering to the Lord. When that finally ended, the Russians began clapping together that double clap that means "encore, encore" in the states -- they just wanted to keep worshiping. We'd already been worshiping for an hour, and had corporately entered into His throne room; but it was not enough. We just all wanted to continue worshiping and to have the Lord continue to manifest His presence among us. There simply are not words to describe what it was like.

But we had a very full agenda and had to go on with the meeting. Randy's preaching was very rich and full of humor and the Lord gave him (and therefore also his team) incredible favor with the people. They were laughing and enjoying his testimony. I'd heard it before, but it was even better through an interpreter because the interpreter would mimic his gestures. This sort of made Randy even more animated. There was a real spark of life in the meeting because of the awesomeness of the praise and worship we'd experienced together. God's presence was still thick in the room during the teaching and it was a very "fun" time.

At one point Randy demonstrated how Rodney Howard-Browne prayed for him and he plopped down on the floor mimicking how someone goes down when they're slain in the spirit. Then the interpreter (Michael -- pronounced Mee-gill) also plopped down as he translated.

So both were laying flat on their backs as Randy continued to share. They stayed down for about 5 minutes. Well, this was definitely outside the realm of "church as normal" for these folks to see the speaker and his interpreter laying flat on their back on the stage as they spoke. It would have been truly funny in the natural, but the Lord decided to release some of His joy on the crowd about the same time. It was truly incredible! Folks were laughing so hard that I thought they'd fall out of their chairs at this funny yet humble American preacher. I think that was the point where the Lord gave them a heart for Randy and they could trust Randy and receive his words.

Then the ministry time started. It was "slightly organized" chaos. We tried to get folks into lines on the carpet so that if they fell they would not land on each other. We also tried to get them to go into a second ministry room. But the Russian cultural idea of lining up is to stand in a big mob and press in for position... We got them on the lines, but then others would wander in take up the free space we wanted in case anyone "went down". It was much more chaotic than I was used to. But the Lord showed up anyhow because He wanted to bless and release and empower His people.

The woman who'd been my interpreter at the healing worship was my interpreter for the ministry time. The first several people I prayed for went down in the spirit almost instantly. Their eyelids would flutter as though the Holy Spirit was on them or you could see the peace of the Lord on them. Most of them would try to get up after only a few minutes -- apparently a cultural thing. But some would stay down. And the catchers had no clue about lining people up neatly. There were bodies laying every which direction and frequently we were sort of safe floor space to pray for folks.

I found that God touched many who I prayed for, but with many of them it was that quite gentle thing. About half went down and the other half remained standing. Of those who remained standing, it seemed to me like the Lord was strongly on about half of them and nothing seemed to happen for the others -- i.e., in my estimate, nothing seemed to be happening for about 1 out of 4 people I prayed for. The Lord was not showing me much in the spirit about what He was doing as I prayed for folks. All I could sense was His great love for them. I remember feeling really disappointed because I expected the Lord to fall with incredible power -- yet this seemed like I was operating in less anointing than I was used to. I remember glancing around the room and saw that some of the others seemed to be operating at a much higher level of anointing than I was. Some would barely touch a person's forehead and the power of God would fall and they'd go down laughing. I remember looking over at Jamie and saw a mob of older women around him. He was praying and God was coming so quickly that he had two catchers and they could barely keep up with him.

I remember backing off and silently asking the Lord if there was anything wrong that I had to get right with Him -- something to repent of or someone I had to forgive or what. Why was I operating at a lower level of power and anointing than I was used to? Why wasn't he showing me what He was doing or giving me more prophetic words or words of knowledge? I was used to more than what was happening. Why would He send me half way around the world, miraculously heal me so I could minister and then not anoint me very much? I was wondering if perhaps I should back off and stop praying for people since there was not as much of an anointing as I was used to. Maybe God wanted me doing something else instead. I waited on the Lord for a few minutes to see if He'd talk to me about the thoughts that were running through my head.

I did not really hear anything, but a phrase from Randy's sermon began to run through my mind over and over. Randy had been describing how Steve Phillips (who is considered a very gifted and elegant speaker) had a period where the Lord rendered him fairly incoherent. For a period of a few weeks, every time that Steve would get up to share a testimony or speak, he simply would not be able to get out more than one or two syllables. Randy had gone on to say that God had "struck weak" many of His leaders in the areas of their obvious strength. He gave another example of a worship leader who ended up so drunk that he could not even play his keyboard. Randy had asked why would God do this -- humiliate his servants. He went on to propose the phrase that was not running over and over through my mind... "God struck them in their areas of strength and made them weak to test their hearts, to see if they would be worthy vessels of the power and authority He wanted to use them in." About then I though, "Yea Lord, but that could not be what you're doing to me. This is just little 'ole me -- I'm not someone who is going to be a big name speaker or travel around the world or anything like that..."

Then the thought occurred to me that perhaps God was testing me after all... perhaps He wanted to see if I'd have a humble and obedient heart if He kept me operating at a low level of anointing/empowerment the whole conference. Would I keep praying for people? Would I make myself available to Him to be used how ever He wanted to, even if it did not match up with my expectations at all.

Now those of you who have never done much ministry prayer probably don't have a clue what my struggle was about. Back when I first started praying for people, I remember wondering whether or not God would show up when I prayed. Then there was the excitement when He really did start showing up. Then there came a confidence that He would continue to show up when I prayed. Then there came a clarity where I could see in the spirit so effortlessly and know what God was doing and therefore how to pray. Then there were words of knowledge and sometimes a release of prophetic in the ministry. Now I was back at stage one -- not having a clear picture of what God was doing and wondering whether or not He'd show up when I prayed for a given individual... I felt like I was a raw beginner instead of an experienced ministry team member. This was even harder for me because my expectations were SO high... I expected this to be the most powerful ministry I'd seen. And at least half the people on the prayer team were experiencing what I'd expected to experience. That made me feel so inadequate to minister... and I began to wonder if the people I was praying for would be getting a raw deal. Perhaps someone with more anointing should be praying for them. Perhaps I was getting in the way rather than being useful to what God wanted to do. Perhaps I should let someone else do it.

"Teresa," the Lord spoke to me, "There is no one else to do it. The ministry team is very small and there are so many who are here crying out to Me for a touch. The harvest is ripe and the workers are few. Will you continue ministering for me even if it seems to you that I'm not giving you very much anointing to minister with? Will you continue to serve me even if you feel disappointed with how I use you?"

What could I possibly say to Him? "Of course Lord."

So I went on to pray for the next person. After a few minutes of soaking, the Lord's peace came on the person and down they went. Certainly not the fireworks I expected and hoped for. But I kept praying. I would say that about 1 out of every 4 folks I prayed for not much seemed to happen and about 1 out of every four the Lord seemed to touch deeply and the other half just seemed to have a very gentle touch. But I kept praying.

I remember two of my favorite experiences from that night. There was an older man who another team member had been soaking in prayer. Not much seemed to be happening and this team member finally moved on to someone else. The man's wife came and put her hands around his shoulders and prayed for him. They stood there; him looking both skeptical and disappointed, and her so full of compassion for her husband. I felt led to go over and minister to them. I had them hold hands and prayed for them together. Within a few seconds, the wife had gone down and the husband was still standing there with his arms crossed. I soaked him a while longer and then bent over to pray for the wife. The joy of the Lord hit her and she exploded into laughter. He immediately bent over her and tried to pick her up. He got her to stand, but she was laughing so hard that she could only stagger and not walk. I touched both of their foreheads and asked the Lord to bless them. She collapsed in a heap. He tried to get her up again, but she was so limp that he had no success. And her face was full of radiant joy and she could not seem to stop laughing. God was clearly all over her and he did not quite know what to make of it. The skeptical look washed off his face and I think that God was beginning to convince him that this must be the Lord because his wife would never act like that.

Luda (my interpreter) and I went back into the meeting room -- the ministry was being done in a separate room because there simply was not space in the meeting room. Something had gone wrong and the worship music was not being piped into the ministry room the first evening. As we entered the main room and could hear the worship coming from the ministry team, something in my spirit sparked and I felt much better. Then the Lord fixed my eyes on one lady in her early twenties who was standing in a line in an aisle near the stage, waiting for prayer. I went over to her and asked her if she'd like some prayer. She said "yes."

We moved over to the corner by the stage so we could have a bit more room. I asked her what she wanted prayer for -- Luda interpreted. She needed a physical healing and also wanted God to impart into her an anointing so she could pray for the sick and see them get well. God was all over her from the instant that we started to pray. I did not even get a chance to complete the prayer for physical healing before she was down on the floor, laughing and shaking. My hands felt like electricity was going through them. I followed her down and laid my hand on her stomach and continued praying for her. I could just see the Lord releasing all sort of burdens and heaviness off of her. Then I found myself praying that the Lord would impart His healing anointing into her so that she could lay hands on the sick and see them recover. About then her hands began getting hot.

I would have loved to have stayed and prayed with her much longer, but Robert came by and said that they were closing the building in a few minutes and to stop praying now and get her up. So we helped her up, and she was sort of like that man's wife -- limp and staggering. But she seemed able to remain on her feet.

She threw her arms around my neck and gave me a big kiss on the cheek. And she kept saying "Thank you! Thank you!"

I told her that it was Jesus, not me that touched her.

"Yes," she said. She knew Jesus would touch her as soon as He sent someone to pray for her. She had been waiting for someone to pray for her all night. There were many in front of her in line and if I'd not come up and pulled her out of line, she would not have received any prayer and God would not have touched her like that. Her eyes were sparkling and she was still radiant with His joy.

Then I remembered the verse the Lord had quoted me a little earlier "The harvest is ripe but the laborers are few." (I know that the context of that verse is evangelism, but I also know that in this particular instance, He was referring to the team He was using to bless/release/empower His Russian people. And I was a part of that team, one of those 'few' laborers for this conference).

When we got back to the hotel lobby, a couple of the ministry team members were surrounded by a small group of people and were praying for them. One of the group was Luba, Steve's interpreter. She turned to me and asked me if she could pray for me. I let her and ended up going down on the hotel floor -- fortunately someone moved in to catch me -- and stayed there laughing for about 5 or 10 minutes. Then I got up and prayed for Luba and she soon became a laughing heap on the floor. We prayed for a few others and the Lord seemed to be playing with us and we were all having fun. Then I heard Steve explaining to a lady that he could not pray for her right now because he was too tired, but he would be happy to pray for her the next morning. So I offered to pray for the lady. I cannot remember what her request was, but it took a bit of soaking prayer. At first it looked, to the casual observer, like nothing was happening. But I had a strong sense of the Lord's presence on her and kept praying for her and soaking her. Then all of the sudden something broke and the Lord's presence on her went explosive. She ended up going down on the hotel lobby floor (yes, I had a catcher for her). She stayed down for a little while and when she got up, she ran over to me and gave me a hug and a great big kiss on the cheek. It was so much fun praying for these people. I've never seen people so grateful for simple prayer before as these Russian brothers and sisters were.

Then one of the hotel workers, an elderly lady sitting in the lounge, motioned me over. An interpreter came with me. She asked why people were falling on the floor and laughing. I told her a little about the conference and how Jesus was meeting His people and healing and empowering them. She told me that she used to go to an orthodox church when she was little. But when she became about 5 or 6, it became illegal to go to Church. She related how traumatic it had been for her to watch the soldiers destroy the church building she used to meet in. She spent the rest of her life growing up in an atheistic state. She considered herself a Christian because she had been baptized as a small child. She did not appear to have a personal relationship with Jesus and as we tried to share the gospel with her, she just did not seem to comprehend what we were telling about. To her, the key to being a Christian was being baptized as a baby and she was not really interested in a personal relationship with God. I was not sure if I was not getting across because of cross-cultural communication issues or if it was merely that the woman was unresponsive to the gospel. The interpreter seemed to think the message was clear and that the woman was just unresponsive. There there did seem to be much else we could do with her, so I asked her if I could pray a blessing over her. She said that would be very nice.

So I prayed a quick blessing on her and asked that God would reveal more of Himself and His love to her. She seemed genuinely touched by the simple prayer and asked if we'd still be at the hotel when she next worked -- three days later. She said she'd like to see me again and would look for me. I obtained a Russian track to give her for our next meeting, but somehow we never made the follow up contact.

But one of my heart throbs of this trip was to share the gospel. And by divine coincidence, I was given an opportunity to do so when I least expected it. Of course, it would have been more exciting if she'd accepted Jesus. But I am reminded that "success in witnessing is sharing the gospel through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God."

-- © GodSpeak International 1998 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <> --

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