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Last night (Thursday) I spoke at a kinship. They were expected it to be small, just 6 people including leadership (myself and the kinship leader). However, someone excpected to be out of town made it and we had two visitors, so there were 9 of us -- which is a very nice sized group for a kinship. First we had some fellowship and then sharing/anouncements. After that some worship -- live worship with a real worship leader. The Lord's presense came on me strongly during the middle of the first song. At first I was just enjoying His presense and then He spoke to me and told me that His presense was on me heavily because He was anointing me for ministering that night. He told me to be at peace because He was here and He would be involved in the meeting tonight. So I really enjoyed being there.
I had not had time to prepare the teaching this week ... chaotic week with hubby coming home from two weeks out of the country and all. So on Wed night I pulled up some notes from a teaching I'd done at another kinship about 2 years ago on hearing God's voice. I really felt God's peace about not going out of my way to prepare for this. I did read the notes over a few times and prayed a bit about what to say.
The teaching started with an assumption that God is always communicating with us even when we don't know how to discern His voice clearly. That lead to a general discussion question about ways that God communicates with us. The group was soon into a lively discussion where everyone but the two guests were partisipating. I had 4 types of communication that I was trying to draw out from the group -- conviction (I shouldn't do this or I should do that), object lessons (God revealing a spiritual principle to us from day to day things), divine coincidence and through scripture. By asking a few short leading questions I was able to draw folks into sharing all 4 types that I was looking for. And in addition, two folks from the group also brought out a couple of other ways that were not on my list. One woman audibly heard God call her by name in her native language (Chinese). Another woman shared how she and her sister were seeking the Lord on something and started praying in tongues. Then the interpertation came and the interperation held the answer on what they were seeking Him for -- so prophetic utterance (both the doing of it and the receiving of it) were added to the list. Having gotten past the introduction/opening question with lots of lively and enjoyable discussion, I happened to glance at my wristwatch. Over 45 minutes had gone by and the meeting was supposed to be ending -- and we'd not even had ministry time.
Since I did not have time to get around to my teaching, they invited me to come back in two weeks and try again. Then we broke up into three groups of 3 to pray for each other. My group was "interesting". One woman who was very mature and full of the Holy Spirit did not speak English very well. She has trouble praying out loud in English and prefers to pray in Chinese. Her name is Chiane. The other lady was a new believer -- having accepted the Lord 6 monthes ago. She likes to pray silently, but does not yet feel comfortable to pray out loud. Her name is Carrie.
So we prayed for Carrie (the new believer) first. I led the prayer and asked God to make her so comfortable in prayer that she does not feel at all concerned or constrained by what others think of her prayer. I also prayed for freedom from expectaions of how she sould pray and a release into God's fullness and blessing. The the other lady prayed in Chinese for her for a few minutes.
After that, we prayed for Chiane, the Chinese lady. She wanted the Lord to open ministry opportunities for her -- both to serve and to share Jesus. I had a strong sense that the Lord wanted to do a physical healing for someone in her family, so I asked her if anyone in her family was sick. It turns out that her husband had a serious digestive disorder (which I'd had a word of knowledge about two weeks ago and was still looking for that person). So I prayed for Chiane and Carrie agreed silently. After I'd prayed for her requests and for her husband, I found myself imparting a healing anointing into her hands. (Well, the Lord was imparting the healing anointing and I was just following His lead.) Then I sensed His presense was on her very strongly and just blessed what He was doing ... sorta like at a renewal meeting but minus any manifestations. He was on her so strongly that His presense flowed down her arms (I had one hand and Carrie had the other) and into Carrie and myself.
It was a sweet presense, very sweet. I enjoyed it for a few moments then happened to glance at Carrie. The Lord was all over her, so I put my hand just above her forhead and just prayed some blessings over her. She responded by raising her hands and bursting into worship. The Lord's presense was on our little group (who was an unlikely group to pray together) so strongly that I just sit back and enjoyed His presense for about 5 minutes and let them soak in Him.
As I sat there saturated by His presense, I began to think that this was His way of meeting me since neither of the women in my little group seemed capable of leading prayer for me (one for not speaking much English and the other who would not pray out loud). But the Lord told me that He was going to use them to pray for me. In my mind's eye, I saw Carrie laying hands on me and silently praying and the other woman rattling something off in Chinese so that I could not understand what she was praying. I wondered if I would receive much from that prayer since I'd have not clue of what they were praying over me. But I felt the Lord would bless it anyhow, so I told Him I'd be happy to receive from their prayers whatever He wanted to do.
After 5 minutes or so of soaking in His presense, both Chiane and Carrie opened their eyes and asked me what I wanted prayer for. I shared about how hubby was not saved yet and I wanted him to come to know Jesus -- SOON! Chiane asked me how many children I had. I shared how I was unable to have children but that someone had given me a prophesy that I'd be pregnent within a year. So they said they'd pray for that too. Then Chiane started to pray for me. She prayed in English, not Chinese. Many of her verbal non-fluencies went away and anyone ease-dropping on the prayer would have thought that she was totally fulent in English. She asked God to bring Ed to know Jesus and proceeded to pray many things relating to this that had been recently prophesied over me but that I had not told her about. She also prayed for me to have a child. It was a lovely and excellent prayer and I could feel the Lord's presense over me as she prayed. I remembered mentioning to the Lord that she did not seem to have any difficulty with English at all when she prayed. God just sorta chuckled at me. The He reminded me that He told me He would use these two to minister to me in prayer. He certainly had succeeded. Chiane stopped praying and I stayed there for a few extra seconds, eyes closed and hands uplifted, just soaking in His presense, which as so sweet.
Then something happened which really surprised me -- in fact I think it surprised all three of us. But it was definately the Lord. Carrie, the one who would not pray out loud, started to pray for me. She began by blessing what God was doing in my life and then she launched into a prophetic prayer, praying almost word for word a prophesy that Bill (one of my pastors) had written down and given to me almost two years ago at a leaders' retreat. My mouth dropped open. I'd never shown that prophesy to anyone, though I'd read and reread it so many times that I had memorized it. I don't know if Carrie had any idea that she was praying a highly prophetic prayer, but she just kept on praying. This new believer, who had never before prayed out loud for anyone, proceeded to pray for me for a solid 10 minutes. She intermingled blessings and prophetic prayers and it was incredible. God was using these two women to speak to me and to confirm to me things that He'd been telling me before and promises He'd made to me. Awesome. God really exceeded my expectations for this prayer time. We were in there praying for about 45 minutes. When we finished and came out of the little room we were in, the group of three guys was also just ending and coming out of their little room. The other group was still praying for each other in the main room.
I remembered thinking to myself that this is a really neat kinship. The folks partisipate well in group discussion and pray well for eath other. Then people started coming up to me and talking to me. I found out that they'd never had a group discussion like this before. The leaders had tried to a few times in the past, but most of the folks never really seemed to partisipate. And while they prayed regularly for each other, their prayer times did not usually go quite this long. So it seems that the Lord had shown up and done something really special -- and I had no idea that He was doing anything out of the ordinary as He was doing it.
I sure do want to learn to lead/faciliate in such a way that He has freedom to move and do whatever He wants to do. He seemed to be doing something to open the people in the group up that night. And since I'd not spent much time preparing the teaching, I certainly was not disappointed that I never did get a chance to share my teaching. (Talk about divine providence and a divine sense of humor!)
It was an awesome experience and I am excited that I'm going back again in two weeks! I can hardly wait to see what God does next! This is the way it should be -- His presense on us and in our everyday sitations. The Lord bringing His signature and His beauty to the non-spectauclar things that we do and turning them to His glory. That is a big part of what walking out the renewal anointing should look like!
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