Sometimes God answers prayers in the strangest of ways and times. I had a prayer answered this past week. It was a prayer that my understanding of scripture was correct and that my discernment regarding a local Charismatic organization was correct. The story below explains this story.
Last week, the area where I live was filled with pollen. I don’t know if it is a seasonal thing or a result of the very dry conditions the area has suffered lately. Whatever the cause, I have been unable to breathe without it feeling like a swamp in my head for a little over a week. It would be important to note also that I am very allergic to antihistamine medications so other than upping my Vitamin C intake through natural juices and fruits, I have few options for relief.
Two days into my seasonal problem, my oldest son, a tremendous basketball player, asked that I take him and his brother to the local gym to play basketball. I agreed and knew ahead of time that I would just be sitting and watching on this day. Once there, the gym was pretty much empty except for a few kids and about three other adults. My sons and I went to the empty end of the court to shoot before a group of five and six-year-old children rushed our end of the court. I told my eleven year old son that if he wanted to play an actual game, he would probably need to go and start shooting with the older gentlemen on the other end of the court. I knew he could hold his own with them.
After shooting for a few minutes, I noticed from the sidelines that one of the gentlemen there looked very familiar to me. I soon placed his face and knew that I knew him as a song-leader from the local Charismatic youth center The Ramp. I immediately wondered how his CD sales were going. He seemed to be there with a friend and despite my knowledge of his beliefs, I allowed my sons to begin playing a game of basketball with them when they were asked to team up.
As the games went on I could not have asked for a group of guys to be kinder to my sons. My sons are able to hold their own on the court, but it was refreshing to see them allowed to play with older people without swear words and bad attitudes flooding their minds. I really appreciated that.
After about an hour, the two guys from the local worship center decided to call it a day. Before they left, they gathered everyone together, myself included, and asked if they could pray “for us.” I thought “with us,” but figured why not. The song leader began to pray while his partner with him began to mumble something aloud while the song leader prayed. I immediately silently prayed that God guard my heart and the hearts of my sons. Because of the mentioned mumbling, I found it very hard to focus on what the song leader was praying. I was able to make out what sounded like demands being made to God and, of course it wouldn’t be a Charismatic prayer session without demands for “financial breakthrough” being made. I also noticed a huge hole as Christ, nor His holy name never made an appearance in this prayer.
“Amen.” So be it, the prayer ended. I returned to my chair feeling horrible due to illness and sad as I thought how wonderful it would have been if rather than standing up and demanding God listen to them, these young men would have taken the time to preach the gospel rather than make demands of their god. I suppose you practice what you have been taught to do. This story does not end here though.
As I returned to my chair, the song leader walked up to me. ”Do you have lots of problems with your back sir?” The song leader asked. I immediately felt like I was on that show not long ago where the guy would help people allegedly speak to their dead relatives. You know the one. The one where the “wizard” would just start by saying “I am thinking of someone whose name being with J.” He would go from there doing guess-work until he said enough that someone related with something he was saying. I felt like that show was happening in my face.
I thought about the boys question for a moment and did a quick inventory of my back. No, my back does not hurt now. No my back hasn’t really bothered me since an unfortunate jet ski accident about five years ago. My back felt fine.
“No, my back is fine.” As I gave that reply I saw the shock in the young man’s face.
He replied, “Oh, well, something was telling me your back was hurting.” I wish I would have thought to ask what was telling him that. It seems to me a pretty important question.
The song leaders side kick then joined the conversation and asked if I had any illness they could pray for. I didn’t want to lie, so I told him, “Yeah, I have horrible allergies right now. I saw on the Weather Channel where our area is under a very high pollen alert and it is killing me.”
After telling me about when he was 13 and suffering with allergies he prayed to God that his allergies be taken away and they were, the side kick asked, “Well, do you care if I pray for you.” I hesitated for a moment and then thought to all the prayers I have offered to God asking him for confirmation of the discernment the Lord’s word gives me regarding the spirits involved with The Ramp and I realized that this could be the answer to that prayer.
I agreed to allow him to pray for me and he asked, “May I put my hand on your shoulder?” Sure, go ahead and invade my personal space too I thought but all I said was “Yes.”
I immediately prayed in my heart, “Dear God, I have faith that you can take away my allergies in your own time. Father, if your time is now and through this young man, may your will be done and may I feel shame for my misunderstanding of your Holy Word. Thank you for your Son.”
With my head bowed low and my eyes closed, the song leader’s side kick began to pray and I focused all of my attention on his prayer. ”LORD, I REBUKE THESE ALLERGIES!!!,” the young man exclaimed. ”I command these allergies to leave this man and that he have relief.” That was about it. He said a few other things that I have heard on his church’s internet broadcast before, but nothing new.
Inside, a part of me hoped this was right and that my allergies would go away. I was expecting it to be like I see on their shows where I fall in the floor or I seize up, but nothing.
“Thanks,” I said. I desired to speak to him about Christ since he wasted his opportunity to do so with me or my sons, but before I could really speak, the pair was walking away. I sniffed, thinking that perhaps I would be able to breathe clearly, but alas, the allergies remained, refusing to be rebuked by a young man commanding God (I shudder to even type that) to do so. In my mind I thought of the little green snot guys from the Mucinex commercials and imagined them quoting Acts 19:15: “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?”
As I type this, I remain stuffy from allergies but God sent some relief in the form of His rain the past couple of days which has lessened the pollen in the air. I don’t think my allergies have been rebuked.
I hope to meet this pair again in the near future and I plan to talk to them and show them their error through scripture. If I could speak to them now, I would say that rather than doing guess-work about what physical ailments I might have, focus in on the one ailment that you know all men and women have. Focus in on the fact that we are all sinners. Rather than trying to ease birth pains of the human body, apply a real balm, the Balm of Gilead. Share the gospel and help save souls, not relieve allergies. These young men stepped down from a royal priesthood and put themselves on the level of someone who does acupuncture to relieve allergies.
1 John 4:1 says: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
God provided me with an opportunity to test the spirits in a very physical way last week. I am thankful for such.