So, I realize, and somewhat feel like the majority of my posts are about prayer lately... Thankfully. I am fairly confident this trend will continue for the entirety of 2012, and I am incredibly thankful and excited that this is the season I find myself in right now... Sure beats the last two years.
Anyway, last night my small group finished the book The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. I highly recommend it to everyone. After a whole lot of chatter, a lot of laughter, the leader threatening to move me and the other leader due to our easily distracted focus, and several announcements that lead to tangents about randomness, we finally got into discussing the last 10 weeks and what we have discovered in our small group. We talked about the things we learned, the things we were amazed by, excited by, the prayers we circled, and of course we spent quite a bit of time praying. This time we each took a turn in the center and whoever felt lead prayed until it was quiet for a bit, then we would say amen and switch to the next person.
If you are not a Christian, have never laid hands on someone and prayed for them or been on the receiving end of a moment such as this, I can only imagine the cultish thoughts running through your mind. However, I assure you, this was only of Christ, and if you do not believe in Him, I would love to talk to you more and answer any questions (even if they are about the seemingly cultish practice of laying hands on people and praying), so please feel free to e-mail me (really for any reason) firstname.lastname@example.org.
While we have circled and prayed a couple times before, this time it was different because we were praying just to pray over each other, not to lift up any particular problem or issue. What came of it was one of the best and most heart felt hours I have experienced in quite a while. All of our shoulders got tired as we laid hands on one another, and the body heat of everyone so close posed a few challenges, but, the peace and calm that settled over us as we came together on behalf of each other was inspiring and encouraging to say the least. To get in a room with 15 or so twenty or thirty something's and lift each other up in prayer, it truly creates a bonding experience, and to be totally honest is pretty humbling at the same time.
One of the other girls and myself kept "stealing" the other one's prayers which was more than amusing to realize at the end that our hearts were of the same accord, and that both of us were feeling burdened to pray LITERALLY over the exact same things with the exact same wording. Several times I could not help but smile, laugh or fight away tears as people prayed specific, meaningful, and bold prayers over each other. I was amazed at the number of things people remembered to pray for that had been brought up weeks upon weeks ago, and I was encouraged by the unfiltered love and care spoken in the circle.
While I could end this blog post there and feel satisfied that I had covered the topic as a whole, I would be incredibly remiss if I did not mention or talk about what I felt and the impact being in the center of the circle had on me. First, and probably most amusing, having around 15 people's hands on you is.. heavy haha.. But, the entire time everyone was praying I found myself keenly aware of each and every hand on my shoulders, arms and holding my hand. Yet, the most profound thing were the words uttered over me, on my behalf, and into my heart. Honestly words cannot describe the complete humility I felt, and how much I was, and maybe am more so now aware of the fact that I did not deserve that, and some of the things people said were incredibly meaningful, and they had no way of knowing that except for the fact that we serve the same amazing God and the same Holy Spirit talks to us. I laughed at a couple of the prayers (such as me finally being able to get a real bed instead of the air mattress I have been sleeping on for four years), and I was touched by the prayers of thanksgiving for my friendship, laughter, joy, and a slew of other things tucked away in my heart. I was so grateful for the petitions that were uttered for several prayers I have had for a while... And, as silly as it may sound, being a touch person, having everyone lay their hands on me while praying truly changes the impact it had/has on me. :)
Lastly, while I am sad to see the small group end next week, I am really excited and hopeful for the things that God is going to do, has set into motion, and the ways in which He is going to use these friends to not only impact my life and the community around us, but just all of the ways He has set into motion His plans because of this small group and the fervent prayers we have uttered over the last 11 weeks. I am so blessed and I am so thankful that a completely random situation lead me to this place.
The two leaders of the small group prayed for a couple months prior to the start of our group for God to bring the "right" people, God did exactly that. Every single person in our small group was there for such a time as this... and the world will never be the same.