- The Holy Spirit is gentle. Jesus boldly drove the moneychangers out of the temple with a whip. But when He prayed for sick people, there is no record of Him head-banging or leg-dropping anyone. He rebuked evil spirits authoritatively, but He never hit, slapped, choked, mounted or kicked a person. He was meek, which means He knew how to control His strength, and He never threw His weight around.
When He commissioned His followers to heal the sick, Jesus told them to “lay” hands on them (Mark 16:18). Since gentleness is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (along with kindness—see Gal. 5:22-23), any ministry we do should be tempered with mercy and concern.
- If we minister in the flesh, we will reap flesh. Several years ago I was standing near the stage in a large meeting when a visiting evangelist said he wanted to pray for all the ministers in the room. Immediately some ushers yanked me up to the platform and the man of God raced over to “pray” for me. Before I knew it, I was assaulted in the name of the Lord.
Whack! The guy hit me so hard that I fell down and held my face in my hands to hide my grimace. The skin on my neck was stinging. When I finally went back to my seat, a friend ran over to congratulate me, saying, “Wow, I saw you go down under the power!” I had to grit my teeth and ask the Lord to help me forgive the preacher who inflicted pain instead of a holy impartation.
Why do we think that more bodies on the floor equals “more anointing” —especially when the evangelist shoves people to the ground or slaps them silly? To build a ministry on such foolish theatrics is to trust in the arm of the flesh.
- Somebody’s going to get hurt. We reported last week that a Tennessee man sued his charismatic church because its pastoral staff did not provide the proper “catchers” when he fell down during a prayer meeting last year. Matthew Lincoln of Knoxville said he struck the hard floor of the sanctuary with his head and aggravated a disc problem in his back, resulting in the need for surgery.
I don’t know the specifics of the situation in Knoxville, Tenn., and it may be that this church has done everything possible to provide a caring atmosphere in their meetings. Plus, the man suing the church does not say anyone hit him or knocked him over. But serious accidents are bound to happen if we don’t stress the importance of ministering with gentleness and wisdom.
Prayer that Hurts
Charisma Magazine editor Lee Grady writes an online column called Fire In My Bones. He has recently been doing a series on the healing oriented revival in Lakeland Florida. His recent offering is titled Bam! Pow! When Prayer Ministry Gets Violent and offers these three cautions about excesses in charismatic oriented prayer ministry: