I had a very strange experience at church today.
Lars has an evening shift, so I'd decided to go to the afternoon service at the Pentecostal church I've visited a few times, so that I could spend the morning with him (my church only has one service, which is at 10am). I hadn't been to that church for awhile, and enjoyed being back (even if we didn't sing any songs I knew ;-) ) and felt challenged by the sermon which focused on making Jesus the centre of our lives.
I had not expected what was to come next though. After the sermon there is a time for worship during which it's possible to go up front to have somebody pray for you. I'd been contemplating going up to ask for prayer over my leg, which has been bothering me more and more lately (enough that I've booked an appointment with my doctor - we'll see what - if anything - comes of that), but didn't really feel comfortable doing it, as I didn't know how to phrase the prayer request without telling the entire history of my illness. So I stayed seated.
As the worship session was quieting down, the Pastor stood up to give the closing prayer and said, "I have a message for some of you. I want to pray with you a prayer of healing" (cue my jaw dropping). "I know some of you are troubled by pains different places in your body, and I believe that the Holy Spirit will begin His work in you today, and that He will heal you. So those of you who are experiencing pains, put your hand on the part of your body that hurts, and pray this prayer together with me."
I sat down, I couldn't stand up any longer, I was bawling (why does one cry when moved? Doesn't seem to make sense. But I digress). I couldn't believe that within 5 minutes of me wishing I was brave enough to go up and ask for healing, the Pastor stood up, and made it unnecessary. Seriously, I was a mess. I'm not used to God talking to me like that. That was... that was something else!
So what now? I don't actually know, to tell you the truth. Well, I know that I haven't been healed here and now. I still can't move my foot any more than I could this morning. But the message was that the Holy Spirit would start His work today. Of course I believe that God can heal me just like that (imagine me snapping my fingers), but for whatever reason, that wasn't the impression I got of what the Pastor thought would happen today. Secondly, the prayer was for removal of pain specifically. Even if my foot never gets any better than it is now, if I'm rid of the getting on crippling pains I experience after having been standing or walking for too long (and 'too long' is becoming shorter and shorter time) - that's a miracle in and of itself.
And if nothing happens? Well... I guess then the message wasn't for me. I'd be disappointed, but I'll live. Even Paul didn't have all his prayers answered ;-)