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I had taken Thursday off of work to attend some Rodney Howard-Brown (RHB) meetings in my area. [For those of you who might not know RHB, he is a pentecostal style preacher/evangelist who goes around taking renewal to many different places. I think he's been doing it for years before the Toronto Blessing (TB) broke out. In fact, many people trace the TB to RHB because Randy Clark (who God used to start the TB) says the turning point in his life/ministry came when he attended some RHB meetings in Nashville. RHB's style is very different than the body-style ministry associated with the Toronto Blessing, but God seems to be pouring the same power/anointing into both styles and is touching many and refreshing/empowering His church and calling them back to a place of commitment in Him.]
Well, the meetings seemed to start slow for me. I went Tuesday night and Wednesday morning with great expectations - wanting a powerful and life-changing touch from the Lord. I came home from both meetings feeling disappointed and frustrated. I almost did not go Wed night. The meeting started at 7:00 PM. At 8:30 the Lord told me to get in my car and go to the meeting. I did so, arriving about 9:00 PM. They'd just finished taking the offering and RHB was beginning to preach. He did not preach for more than a few minutes when God's power began to fall all over the room. I was not personally touched right away, but I felt relief that many people were being touched instead of just a few who RHB calls out for prayer. I was sitting next to a pastor acquaintance and the people on both sides of us got really drunk in the spirit -- no one prayed for them laid hands on them, God just visited them and wrapped His arms of love around them. They were filled with His joy. Sitting so close, and having observed them before God fell on them, it was so easy to tell that this was genuine. The pastor and I were delighted to see God touching and refreshing the people on both sides of us. We also pointed out to the Lord that He was more than welcome to come and touch us too.
For a long time, not much happened to me personally, except that I was delighted to see God's power falling freeing on so many who were hungry for His touch. Some people were getting so excited when God touched them that they were doing all sorts of wild things. A group of teenagers ran to the front, rolled across the front, then got up and ran around the room. People where laughing, shaking, etc. It was pretty wild. I am sure that given half a chance, my natural mind would have got offended. But I could sense the Lord's presence in the room and I could see His delight written over the people right next to me. How can you be offended when God is refreshing people and setting them free and empowering them?
Rodney could not preach above the chaos, but he did keep telling us to get our eyes off of the people and their reactions. He kept encouraging us to look to Jesus, not to the people around us. Then RHB gave an altar call and many came up to accept Jesus -- over 200 people. Realize that RHB had preached the gospel clearly in the two previous meetings and I am sure He would have preached that night except that the Lord seemed anxious to skip the sermon and get right to the business of touching His children. So the gospel was not really preached that night. Yet, RHB did a quickie summary and then gave an alter call.... and 200 people either accepted Jesus for the 1st time or came back to Him after a long back-slide. In other words, when the presence of God comes close, people turn to Him.
After the alter call, RHB had us join hands and asked God to come touch and fill every hungry heart. That was when I really got "got". His presence came over me. His sweetness was so near that I simply melted. The pastor acquaintance was also overcome with the Lord's goodness. At some point, I became so saturated that I could not remain standing and I sort of melted into my seat. The folks around me were still standing, so I sort of laid down across 3 of the chairs. I was so filled with His peace and His love. It was a quiet thing, not a joy thing, not any types of outward experiences. A lady in the row in front of me fell to the floor on top of her friends feet and started laughing. I could literally see the Lord all over her. Then I closed my eyes and was lost in His goodness again. I guess I was mildly aware of them dismissing the meeting, but it did not seem very important to me because it was so wonderful to just be lost in the Lord's presence and know His love and His acceptance and His peace. At some point I must have rolled off of the chairs and onto the floor, because I ended up on the floor between my row of chairs and the row in front of me.
Like I said, I was mildly aware of what was going on around me, but it just did not seem very important to me compared to what the Lord was doing in me. I do remember feeling a connection or bond to that lady laying on the floor in the row in front of me. I was so glad that God was blessing her. She had a lot of friends around her and they were praying for her. It was neat how they were taking care of her.
"I am taking care of you too, Teresa" The Lord said.
"Oh Lord, I know." I relaxed even more into His goodness.
A little later a man walked up and said, "Oh look, an angel on the floor. Look at the Lord's glory all over her face." I assumed he was talking about the delightful lady in the row next to me.
"No, Teresa," the Lord said, "he is talking about you."
"Me?" I figured I'd simply heard wrong. It must have been another of her friends coming up to bless her.
"Yes, You. In fact, I will send him back to you later to tell you so."
Then His peace and delight flooded over me again. A bit later, it seemed to dissipate. I opened up my eyes and sat up. Some lady with a staff badge on was sitting in the chair next to me and had been praying for me without touching me. Her hand was still stretched towards me when I opened my eyes.
"Hi." she said. "The Lord told me to come over and sit with you and pray for you while He was ministering to you. He said that He did not want you to be alone and wanted to make sure someone was taking care of you."
Yep, I remembered Him saying that to me. I had no idea He'd actually sent someone to sit with me. How wonderful He is! I looked around the auditorium and was surprised to see it was almost empty and all of the chairs had been folded up. The lady and I talked for a few minutes. Then I decided to go home.
As I was walking out, I passed a small group that were praying for each other. I knew some of these people. One of them waved at me... not sure if he meant it as a greeting or a prayer. Anyhow, I was suddenly hit by the power of God and tumbled to the ground, where I landed in a laughing heap. All of the sudden I was really filled with His joy! I stayed down for a few minutes and then I tried to get up, but was too drunk to walk well. An usher came over to help me.
"Oh," he said, "you are up now. I saw you earlier over there," He pointed to the aisle I'd been laying in. "You looked like an angel on the floor. I wish you could have seen your face. His beauty and His glory were written all over it!"
"See!" God teased, "I told you I'd send him back to you to tell you again!"
I am not sure how long we laughed and worshiped the Lord together before I decided I really had to go. The usher decided to walk me to my car. I felt like the Lord really took good care of me. I could still sense the Lord's presence over me when I went to sleep and I had the most delightful night's sleep.
The next day (Thursday), I decided to take a vacation day and go to the morning meeting. It was great. I don't really remember much of the details of the meeting because I was so full of His joy/delight. I think I got drunk in the spirit early in the meeting. When the meeting was over, I went up to greet my new usher-friend (Jack) who'd walked me to my car the night before. He started prayer for me and I collapsed in a laughing heap. Later he took me by the hand and helped me up and told me that there was someone he wanted me to meet.
Jack brought me to this woman I'd noticed earlier with long blond hair and the glow of the Lord. He had been dragging me around my the right hand. Jack passed my right hand to her. I expected to shake hands and instead found that I was being embraced in a bear hug. It felt absolutely wonderful. "Oh," she said, "She's receiving. Keep receiving all that God has for you, keep drinking it in. There is an impartation here. Just keep receiving from the Lord." I am afraid that I was not in a very good place to hold a coherent conversation right then. But I really liked her. Her names was Mears and she was a foreign evangelist who the Lord relocated to California...somewhere down by Modesto, I think...to become a missionary to the United States. I told the Lord that she was really neat and asked Him to really bless her.
When I drove home from the morning meeting, the Lord spoke to me about her. "Bring her a flower tonight."
"Bring her a flower? Lord??" I'd never done anything like that before, given a flower to someone when it was not a special occasion. "She'll think I'm weird."
"Bring her a flower."
"OK, Lord." So I stopped at a shop on the way home to get a single rose, but they did not have any. So I decided I'd pick one up on the way back to the evening meeting. I was still drunk in the spirit (though able to walk and drive fairly normally by the point). I got home and got on the Internet - on irc. I don't even remember who I talked to or what we said, but I was so full of the Lord's joy and delight. From time to time I'd just get up and walk away from my terminal and worship Him. I was really looking forward to the evening meeting, expecting it to be even better than the afternoon had been.
Well, it came time to leave. Jack, my usher friend, was supposed to be saving me a seat near him. I was really looking forward to sitting next to this new friend and maybe even sneaking in a few blessings prayers for each other during the service. I had plenty of time to get there and get parked before the service started.
Then I remembered I was supposed to bring that lady a flower. It would make me a few minutes late, but...
There is a little florist section in the safeway near my house. So I went there. As it turned out, they did sell single roses. I was having one wrapped when suddenly I heard a woman's voice screaming... "Help! Help me!"
I ran outside into the parking lot to see what was happening. Some elderly man was helping a woman off the ground to sit on the curb. She was all cut and scraped up, and her clothes were covered with dirt and scuffs. Her shoes were about 3/4 of a block away from where she was sitting. She was clearly very shaken up. The man and helped her sit on the curb and was looking very uncomfortable, clearly unsure of what to do. I sat down on the curb next to her. Immediately, I felt like the Lord told me to place my hand on her back and leave it there. So I put my right hand gently on her left shoulder blade and left it there for a long time... about 45 minutes. I was filled with compassion and concern for her ... who would not be? I asked her what happened. She said that a car drove by and grabbed her purse, which was handing over her shoulder by the straps. She got tangled in it and ended up getting knocked down and dragged by the car for about a 3/4 of a block. She had began screaming and when people came out, the driver let go of the purse and drove off. She thought it was a big dark car and never got a really good look at any part of the car except for the tires... where she was busy trying to keep her head from rolling under them as she was dragged along the ground. She said, "It all happened so fast that I never really saw anything. If the man drove in front of me right now, I would not recognize him."
Two people claimed to be witnesses, but their stories did not match very well... one said the car was black and the other said the car was red. I saw the car leaving the parking lot, but at the time I did not realize what had happened (I'd just run out of the flower store). So I did not pay much attention to the car and I could not even tell you what color it was. No one got any of the license plate.
Lots of people were gathering around her and all of them wanted to help but none seemed to have a clue what to do. I told them to have someone go into the store and have them call 911 to get some police and paramedics. About 3 people took off to do that. She had a Sybase T-shirt on, which happens to be the company my husband works for. She also had a Sybase employee's badge hanging from her purse which said her name was Elain. I asked her if she worked for Sybase (yea, I know, it was and obvious question) and she said she did. I told her about my husband. She said that she did not know him personally, but she recognized his name. Somehow I became almost a friend in this crowd of strangers because she had a work affiliation with my husband -- thus I was not a total stranger. I was mildly overwhelmed at how the Lord had orchestrated this... He sent me to get the flower so I'd be in the right place at the right time to help her. I was a more logical choice than just about anyone else at the RHB meetings because of the background connection... my husband and her working at the same company. It was neat that God loved her so much that He went out of His way to put me there to help her and comfort her.
The store manager and store security guard (who happened to be inside the store when the lady, Elain, was mugged in the parking lot) came out. They said they'd called the police and started asking her to tell yet again the story of what happened. The security guard wanted to take a report. I suggested he wait until the police (who were on their way) arrived, so she wouldn't have to give all the same information twice. I also asked them if they could bring her a glass of water. I offered to go to the hospital with Elain, but she said that she had a best friend who she'd rather have with her. So I asked the store manager (who kept coming out to check on her) to call her friend. It took the police and paramedics about 45 minutes to arrive, and the friend arrived about 5 minutes after they did.
I had heard that it is sometimes helpful to have human contact after a traumatic experience, so I just stayed with her, keeping my hand gently on her back. I could feel a gentle healing warmth going out of it. I considered praying for healing. She had really bad scrapes and abrasions all up her left arm as well as on other parts of her body. Dirt and grime was embedded in it and clear fluid was oozing out of where the skin had been scraped off. I thought what a powerful testimony it would be if God were to instantly heal this arm... regenerate the skin... right in front of the crowd that gathered around her. I silently asked God if that was what He wanted to do and He said "No, that is not what I am doing right now." I had no idea why there was a gentle heat coming out of my hand since God was not doing a healing thing, but I just left it on her back.
Elain mentioned that this was the second time she'd been mugged, the first several years before in a foreign country. She was concerned because she was going to leave for vacation in a few days and hoped this was not an omen for her vacation. I said that I was a part-time minister and that I'd pray for her safety. She was very greatful to have me do that. (In truth I am only a pastoral intern (a lay trainee position), not a minister. But it seemed to complicated to explain to her at the time, which is why I used the phrase "part-time minister").
It took about 45 minutes for the paramedics to arrive. When they got there, there and were ready to examine her, I removed my hand from her back. It was hot, like it often gets when I'm praying for a healing for someone. One of the paramedics expressed surprise to me that she was not in shock, considering the nature of her injuries. I figured that maybe that was why the Lord told me to keep my hand on her back and why that gentle warmth was there.... maybe a gentle anointing was going out and that was why she was not in shock. They told her that she would need to go to the hospital because the dirt was too ground into her skin for them to treat satisfactorily. That was when the friend arrived. The paramedics put me to "work" assisting them by holding the gauze, etc, as they tried to patch her up enough to get her to the hospital.
The RHB meeting had now started about an hour ago. Elain's friend had arrived and was going to take her to the hospital and arrange for someone to pick up her car from the parking lot and get it back to her house. There did not seem to be anything else to do, so I gave Elain a hug and excused myself. I went back inside and got the flower, and then took off for the meeting.
As I was driving away, I realized that I'd not shared the gospel with Elain at all. God and gone way out of His way to orchestrate putting me together with her and then I'd gone an blown it.
"No Teresa," the Lord said. "You did not blow it. I put you there to demonstrate My love to her in a practical way and you did. I am pleased."
"In fact," He told me, "this is exactly the type of thing My anointing is for... to reach out to those who are sick or hurt and show them My light and My love. What you have done tonight is a prophetic acting out of why I am empowering My church. You did not need to witness directly to her tonight. I will orchestrate other contacts with her where you can share Jesus with her. She will be more receptive to your words because she has already seen My love in action through you." Then He reminded me of Isaiah 61.
I got to the meeting about 1.5 hours after it started. I figured that the Lord would save me a special close parking spot, since I'd just been "on assignment" for Him. But no, He did not. The parking lot was full and so was all the street parking anywhere in the vicinity. I had to park about a 10 minute walk away. When I got into the meeting the worship was just ending and I'd just missed the last song. Jack had saved the seat for me, so at least I had a place to sit. I was anxious to give the rose to Mears, but had to wait a long time for them to get to a place in the service where it would not be disruptive to bring her the rose. She had an aisle seat on one of the center aisles very near the front.
So, when they passed the buckets for the offering (well over an hour later), I was finally able to go give her the rose. I walked up to her and handed her the rose and told her that the Lord wanted her to have this. I also mentioned there was a story behind this rose about helping a lady who'd been mugged. But I was not able to explain it very well in the short time I was there. Anyhow, she gave me a hug and I went back to my seat.
I remembered thinking to myself, "Lord, I did not explain that very well. I'd sure like another chance to explain it to her better."
The service was OK, but from my prospective, it was not particularly powerful that night. Rodney had 3 different people come up for what was supposed to be a short greeting, but what turned into a 45 minute sermon from each of them. Then Rodney got up to preach his sermon. By then, my attention span had exceeded it's limit and it was hard for me to pay attention. It was very late before RHB gave an altar call, after 11:00 PM. Many people responded, which was great. But as soon as the salvation alter call was over, RHB shut down the meeting. There was not any type of ministry time at all.
I felt sort of disappointed. I had sort of expected that since God had used me to minister to that lady and since I'd had to miss all of the worship to do so, that He would have something special for me. I hoped He would touch me in some way. But if He did anything, I was not able to perceive it. I don't know why on earth I thought the Lord should do something special for me since I'd been available/obedient to Him for that lady. But for some reason, I had that expectation and was pretty disappointed that God did not happen to share it. But God spoke to me and reminded me that the purpose of His anointing is empowerment for kingdom business -- not to feel good personally. He asked me if I was willing to be available to serve Him even when I did not get an immediate and tangible reward from Him for it. I decided I was and invited Him to keep using me.
The next day, Friday, I had to work and could not attend the morning meeting. But I did get an unexpected chance to share Jesus with one of my co-workers. I was not planning to do so, but he came to me and asked me questions, just as I was leaving work to go to the afternoon RHB meeting. So I got to share God's reality with him. After that encounter, God spoke to me that this is the type of thing His anointing is for... sharing Jesus and ministering to those who don't know Him.
The afternoon meeting was an evangelist, Paula White, from Florida. She shared many wonderful stories of God empowering people for evangelism and opening up divine coincidences. But she talked much longer than my attention span. Everyone seemed to really love her, but for some reason her speaking style was very hard for me to listen to. She had a tendoncy to shout (really more like scream) into the microphone and I was getting a headache. She also kept telling people to turn to their neighbor and say all sorts of stupid phrases to them. I was sitting in the back of the room, listening to her. She had good things to communicate, but I was having to really struggle to keep from being offended by her method of how she presented it. She'd already gone on much longer than my attention span could handle. I was just "waiting it out" because she'd promised to pray for people at the end. She had a real evangelism anointing and I figured it would be good to have her pray for me.... maybe some of that evangelism anointing would rub off on me.
Note that many of my friends thought she was really a great speaker. But for some reason, her style just did not work for me. About 2 hours into her teaching, she asked for the 3rd time if she could have another 10 minutes. I quietly said "no" under my breath and walked out. I was feeling frustrated as I drove home. I really want to be walking in God's power and doing the things Jesus did. I thought about helping Elain the previous night and wished I had the type of authority to command a physical healing that would regenerate all off the skin that had been scraped off of her arm. Then I started thinking about Rodney's testimony and how he told God to either let him walk in that anointing or to take him home. I'd been mulling over praying that prayer for a few days myself.
Well, all that frustration and longing mounded up within me and I found myself praying a similar prayer. I could not stand it any longer and I wanted God to empower me to further His kingdom. If there were things in me that were in the way of Him doing this, then He needed to change me so He could empower me. If I wasn't capable of changing in these areas, then wouldn't He just take me home now and be done with it? I did not want to play at walking in His anointing any more. I wanted to do the things Jesus did (just like it said in John 14). If He wasn't going to let me do that, then I wanted to stop wasting time down here and just go to be with Him. At one point I even found myself praying the words, "God, I can't stand it any more. If You aren't willing to keep Your promise of John 14:12-14 in my life, then I don't want to play any more. Either make Your word here real in my life or take me home right away."
After the intensity of the moment died down, I began to mull over what I'd prayed. Did I really mean it? Yes, I did. I wondered what was going to happen. Would He annoint me, or would He kill me? I didn't really think I had the nerve to pray and mean that ultimatum. But I had done it. And I really meant it. I wanted to walk in His anointing so badly that I could not stand it any longer.
What God did next surprised me so much. There have been very few times in my life where I have heard His voice this clearly. He said to me, "Teresa, how are you going to force Me to meet your ultimatum? Do you have the power to make Me yeild to your demands? Can you make Me do anything? Who is the master here, and who is the servant?"
"You are the Master, Lord." He had put me in my place and I knew it. I don't know what had gotten into me, thinking that I could give God an ultimatum. Instantly I felt very foolish and sorry. But God's grace and love washed over me.
"I have chosen you to be My sevant. That means I am the boss and I am the one who tells you what to do, not the other way around. But be of good cheer, it is very good to be My servant and My child. The more that you get to know Me, the more you will learn that I am a good God."
"Yes, Lord." I walked away from that encounter feeling very subduled. But I had learned a very important lesson: "God Boss; me servant!"
My hubby came home from work early and wanted to spend some time with me (he's been working long hours lately) so I decided to skip the evening meeting and keep him company. It was a really good decision and we had a lovely time together. Ed mentioned that Elain had sent him email asking him to thank me for helping her when she was mugged at Safeway. He said he forwarded the email to my work. So when I get to work on Tuesday, it will be waiting for me and I will be able to contact her and see how she is doing. Looks like maybe the Lord is already orchestrating another opportunity to get together with her.
They had announced that on Saturday morning, RHB would lay hands on everyone who wanted prayer and pray for them. I really wanted to be there for that. Since I'd stayed home Friday night, my husband was happy to let me go to the Saturday meetings. I woke up that morning with eager anticipation and kept falling into prayer about it. In fact, I kept telling the Lord that I wanted the same thing Randy Clark got when RHB prayed for him.
I got to the meeting a little early. I saw Mears standing near the front and went up to greet her. She said, "Oh good! There you are. I was asking the Lord to give me a chance to speak to you."
She then proceeded to tell me how God always gives her flowers (usually roses but sometimes lilies) when He wants to minister to her. She said that when I placed the flower in her hand, the Lord's presence came on her and ministered to her deeply. So deeply, in fact, that she left the meeting for a while and just sat and cried for 1/2 hour as He ministered to her. She was just glowing with His radiance that morning as she spoke to me. I told her how it was hard for me to give a flower to someone for no special occasion and she said that I'd heard clearly from God and blessed me to be able to continue hearing clearly from Him. It was such an encouragement to hear her side of the story and see that God did not just use that rose to put me at safeway to minister to Elain after she'd been mugged. He also used it to minister to Mears, the woman He told me to get the rose for in the first place. I also got to tell her about how the Lord had used the getting of the rose to put me in a position where I could minister His love to Elain. We both marveled in how He is able to control coincidences and so much as we make ourselves available to Him.
Mears invited me to sit with her that morning, which was her last meeting. It was such a blessing just hanging around her. She is so full of the presence of the Lord and absolutely radiates Him. She is also very prophetic and gave me a couple of verses that really ministered to me. What a delight to be around her! In fact, I hope that I can be a bit like her... she is a lovely example of someone who radiates the presence of the Lord to all around her. I felt a sort of connection in the spirit with her and was delighted at how the Lord had orchestrated our getting together. Mears mentioned to me that she felt the connection in the spirit too and said that God had more for the two of us together sometime in the not too distant future. I can hardly wait to see what He does!
Well, the morning service was great. I knew they'd promised they'd pray for everyone who wanted prayer that morning, so I had absolutely no anxiety. There was a lot of stuff RHB did in that meeting that morning, and did not get around to starting to pray for people until about 3 hours after the meeting began. Once they started praying for people, we had to sit and wait in our sections for a while so that they could manage the crowds. They apologized that some of us would have to wait so long, but it did not bother me at all. I think the main thing that had bothered me throughout the meetings was that I am used to an environment where prayer is available for everyone who wants it. That simply had not been the case for the previous 7 meetings and it bothered me that all these people (including myself) wanted prayer and could not get any. Now they were praying for everyone and I felt much better. I knew that everyone who wanted prayer would get it and that realization made me feel SO good. I thought of a few of my friends who'd gotten frustrated and had not come back for Saturday morning. (RHB's ministry model is very different than what we are used to in the vineyard, and some of us have been in culture shock during his meetings. We know that God is moving through RHB, but the ministry model he uses has elements that make us uncomfortable and stretches us out of our comfort zone. But then, God has been stretching a lot of people through the renewal -- some probably find the vineyard style uncomfortable and find it much easier receive from RHB's ministry model. But it is the same Holy Spirit ministering to His church, regardless of which model He uses.) Anyhow, I felt sort of bad for my friends who had not come Saturday morning. But they knew prayer was available Saturday AM and they made the choice not to attend, so I decided to just leave them in God's hands and not worry attend it.
After about 1/2 hour, they had the section I was sitting in stand up and follow an usher into a hallway with ceramic tile floors, where they lined us up single file for prayer. I guess RHB was in some other room. They line people up and explain briefly what to expect and then invite them to start worshiping and opening their hearts up to receive. Then a whole large group of catchers come and line up behind the people a little before RHB gets to that part of the room. I was sort of impressed with how they managed such a large crowd and yet the Lord's spirit was so present. About 5 minutes before RHB hit our part of the room, the Lord's sweetness enveloped me. It was so wonderful. I almost wished that RHB would take a long time to get to our part of the room because I really wanted to just linger in the Lord's tangible sweetness. I knew that the catcher standing behind me was praying for me softly in tongues. The Lord's presence was so wonderful. I wanted it to never end.
Now, I sort of knew what to expect. Some of my friends had been to one of RHB's "camp meetings" in Florida. They said that RHB just comes up to you, touches you quickly on the forehead and says something like "more" or "be filled" and then moves on to the next person. I knew that many had been touched powerfully when he prayed for them this way. But I was not thinking about all this as I stood there lost in the Lord's presence. I do remember reminding the Lord that I wanted a power/anointing to minister to others, sort of like He'd given Randy Clark when RHB prayed for him. The Lord sort of smiled at me and told me that He would impart into me exactly what He wanted to impart into me. Suddenly it seemed like a very good idea to just relax into His sweetness and trust Him to do what He wanted to instead of trying to tell Him what to do.
About then, the Lord's power seemed to really increase around me. It was in incredible mix... His sweetness was so tangible and yet there was such a strong sense of His power -- in fact an overwhelming sense of His power. He is a good and a mighty God. At that point I could care less if anyone laid hand on me and prayed for me. God was so present in the room and I just wanted to be closer to Him.
Then someone (I knew it had to be RHB) grabbed my head firmly with both of his hands. Everything that I am about to describe happened so quickly that I barely had time to process it as it occurred. There was such a power that went out as he took my head with his hands that I was startled by the power and let out a surprised yell. That was the last thing in the world I expected to do. RHB did not push me in any way, shape or form. But I was literally thrown backwards as the power hit me. But RHB was holding my head firmly and somehow that prevented me from going back very far. I sort of bounced off the catcher and remained standing for a few seconds. It was as though 1000 volts of electricity was pulsing through my body. I began shaking and convulsing under the power. Yet the Lord's sweet presence was also there, so I did not feel afraid at all. RHB said something when he grabbed my head and prayed for me, but I don't remember what it was. I suspect it was probably something like, "be filled!"
This all happened very rapidly. And yet it seemed to take forever. An odd thought ran through my mind... I had expected RHB to just touch my forehead and move on. I was surprised with how long he kept his hands on my head. I am not sure what God was doing, but I was definitely aware of His presence and I could feel His power surging through me. I realized that God is a whole lot more powerful that I'd imagined and that He is much bigger than I can comprehend. Yet He is SO GOOD!
At some point, I simply could not remain standing any longer and collapsed in a heap. I guess RHB must have let go of my head on my way down, but I was not really aware of him or of the catcher or anything. I was very aware of God and of His goodness and of His power. Somehow God got much bigger in that encounter with Him. But the encounter with God was not over when RHB took his hands off of me. God continued to meet me on the floor. He would speak to me and also I would feel His power continuing to surge through me.
At one point, I remembered that one of my friends (who was serving as a catcher for these RHB meetings) had told me to be sure to get up and get back in line a few times. I also remembered how Randy Clark shares in his testimony that he got up and got back in line several times. But I was unable to move. I was laying on the floor and His power kept surging through me.
"Lord," I asked. "Am I supposed to get up and go get in line again? I don't think I could move right now. Please show me what You want me to do."
"Don't worry Teresa," the Lord replied. "I will take care of you and arrange things for you. You don't really need to be prayed for again, but since you want it, I will let you. In fact, I will have the line form around you as you are out under my power so that don't have to go get in line. Instead the line will come to you. Now don't worry about details. Just look to Me and let Me do My work in you."
Do you know how easy it is to get lost in the Lord under those circumstances? I could feel His presence and His power surging through me. I invited Him to come into every area of my life and to rework anything that needed to change so I could be more usable for Him. He also convicted me of a few attitudes and I found myself repenting before Him. It is impossible to describe everything that happened during that time, but God was certainly doing His good work inside of me. It was not a joy thing (no laughing), but His goodness and His power were all over me.
After a while, the Lord said to me, "I am about to release you so that you can stand up. A prayer line has formed around you and the catchers are about to line up behind it. So stand up now."
The intensity and the power waned and I opened my eyes. The girl to my left was still on the ground. Other than that, everyone else who'd been prayed for was gone and a whole new group of people were standing there, waiting to be prayed for. I stood up and smiled at the man standing on my right.
Less than 2 minutes later, the catchers came and lined up behind us. I closed my eyes and worshiped for a minute or two. Then the Lord spoke to me and said, "turn around, Teresa, and look at your catcher. I have a nice surprise for you." I turned around and guess who was standing behind me... Len, my catcher friend, the one who'd told me to go get in line more than once. For some reason that was really funny, and I started cracking up laughing. Len smiled at me and prayed a blessing over me. Then I put my attention back on the Lord.
I could hear a bunch of loud laughing coming from around the corner and figured that RHB must be getting near. I just closed my eyes and invited the Lord to come and touch me however He wanted to. I could feel His presence all around me again. It was different than that wonderful sweetness I'd felt last time, but was very good none the less. His fragrance seemed to be all around me and I just wanted to breathe in that fragrance. I wanted every part of my being to be saturated with Him. I have often had light sensations of being touched on the forehead when I am lost in prayer. Often if I'd open my eyes, it would turn out that no one was there. So I have sort of gotten used to that. I had that light sensation on my forehead again as I stood there lost in His presence. I could feel myself melting into the floor and I stared to go down. Part of my mind thought, "Too bad I wasn't able to stay standing until RHB got by to pray for me." But another part of me did not care. Just then (in route down) I happened to flick open my eyes. RHB was just moving away from me to the next person and silently laying his hands on that man's forehead. Rodney had a big grin on his face. I guess I'd been prayed for after all. It was so different this time. It was very sweet and wonderful, but not at all like the lightening and electricity of the previous time.
"This is more like what most people receive when they are prayed for," the Lord said to me. "It is My blessing and it is very good. Just allow Me to delight and refresh your spirit in Me right now."
Then I could feel refreshment welding up within me from my very core. I was overwhelmed with a sense of God's goodness and God's love. A deep peace and joy seemed to mingle together. I could feel His life pouring into my belly. In fact, it felt like a hand was placed lightly over my abdomen and I could feel a light pressure and a sweet warmth. I opened my eyes and no one was anywhere near me. I closed them again and just basked in the sweetness of that refreshment. It was such a nice experience. I alternated between basking in His peace and quietly laughing in His delight as I lay there.
Eventually it began to wan. I sat up and looked around. Most of the people around me had gotten up again, but there were still others out under His power. I sat there for a few minutes just enjoying myself and looking around. Then I tried to stand up. That was when I noticed I was mildly drunk. I still had a strong sense of His presence surrounding me, and it is SO GOOD to be in close proximity to Him.
What a wonderful God He is! His touch is so good. I want His touch and His Lordship in every area of my life. And I bet you want it in your life too! How could anyone come near to His goodness and not respond by offering themselves totally and unreservedly to Him? He is a good God!
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