I've been thinking a lot about faith, and how I have very very little.
For example, I am leading prayer for a healing ministry, but do I have faith that God heals? UMMMMMM
At the end of our prayer nights all the prayer ministers pair up at the altar and offer individual blessings for whoever wants to receive one. Last night a woman came towards us and you could see right away that she was anxious, quivering, on edge. She told us she'd been suffering panic attacks and she just wanted them to go away.
I have a special heart, obviously, for the people who come to prayer needing relief from anxiety, and I just FELT for this woman. As I laid a hand on her shoulder I had an overwhelming sense of God wanting to relax her muscles, soften her whole frame, drop her shoulders. But before I could pray this over her, my prayer partner said, "All right, why don't you take a deep prophetic breath."
She did, and before she could exhale she was leaning backwards into his arms, limp, slumped over, the reality of what I'd sensed God wanted to do for her. We laid her out on the floor, stepped over her, and waited for the next person in line.
I have been thinking about this nonstop.
My main thought is: I did not believe that would happen.
Even though I sensed this great physical relaxation was what God wanted to give her, I did not think a great physical relaxation would happen. Maybe a spot of inner peace, maybe some good words that would strike her heart, maybe a sense of being loved by her Father, probably some encouragement or extra strength to keep on bearing what she was bearing. A physical manifestation of relief, a healing, even momentary temporary relief from the stress of being vigilant about one's own body, nah. I didn't think that would happen. I don't expect it to happen. I didn't even have to think about it - I sensed a physical relaxation and immediately translated it to an inner relaxation because of duh. She wouldn't ACTUALLY feel physical relief.
But she DID. I saw it. I HELPED.
I think this is striking me because while I've never had a panic attack, I have been someone suffering from panic and anxiety and in those times I can barely sit still let alone relax into the arms of God the Father and fall asleep in the middle of a prayer meeting. I watched that woman fall back into my prayer partner's arms and for me, it was nearly like watching someone get up from a wheelchair.
I have so much DOUBT! I am almost all doubt, friends. I doubt my abilities, my authority, my experience as a prayer minister. I doubt the other person's relationship with God, their own experiences, their openness to the spirit. Most of all I doubt God. I believe in healings! But for other people. In other places. Not where I am.
And I doubt God WANTS to heal! He doesn't, after all, heal everyone, does he. It's too risky to believe he'll heal this time.
But you know, my doubt extends far beyond actual factual healings. Most of the time it just looks like me not expecting God to show up. And when I DO expect God to show up, I've determined what that showing up looks like. It looks like the person receiving the blessing feeling a bit more peaceful afterwards. It looks like a lot of people coming to our prayer nights and going home feeling strengthened. It looks like the team working well together, reports of a healing here and there, becoming better pray-ers.
It does not look like someone asking for panic attacks to go away, and then tension leaving her body in such a dramatic way that she just falls over.
WHY NOT? Why am I not looking for that? And hoping for that and praying into it? WHY AM I LIMITING GOD?
This is what I keep asking myself over and over. Why am I limiting the God of the universe? Why do I not EXPECT that the Almighty will not come with majesty and power? Why am I not desiring this with all of my being? Why have I been satisfied with less? Does he not ask us to ask for more and more and more?
What I am feeling about last night is that my prayer partner, a man of great faith, had the same sense I did, but he also had the expectation I was missing. God wanted to bring this woman relief and my prayer partner believed it would happen. I told myself it must look a different way. My belief that it wouldn't happen was so automatic I didn't even think of it as unbelief. I'm accustomed to unbelief.
Lord, change me! Transform me! Help my unbelief! Increase my faith!