The next day
David to me:
I tried soaking prayer a little while ago and . . . wow. I’m very convinced I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. It was like being touched without having surface area contact me. God setting off the neurons directly rather than by applying pressure. See, left brain! I didn’t try to explain it, but it just came to me 😛 For a short time the sensation got very intense on my stomach, lower chest, and sides. As for “connecting” with God, I guess I did do that. He reached out to me and I responded with praise and concerns and questions and more praise. I think my mind still hasn’t gotten past the idea of a connection being almost tactile, like plugging in a cable or coupling two train cars. And no revelations, new understandings, or images today. I can’t say I’m disappointed, though!
As for speaking in tongues, my mind does go places. When I try and let sounds out, my mind goes to the scene in Lord of the Rings where Gandalf and Saruman are shouting in a made-up, but very dramatic, language, with Saruman trying to cause an avalanche and Gandalf trying to stop him. And then I feel really silly!
My left brain making unwanted connections again. Right now, I think that as I grow and learn that God and I will open up new pathways in my brain that will support deeper connection with the Holy Spirit. Once that’s done, sounds I don’t understand won’t get auto-filtered by my mind.
Regarding the church, they weren’t pushy, though they were practically jumping out of their seats when I said I wanted to be prayed for. Nor did they say that I had to speak in tongues to demonstrate baptism of the Holy Spirit. It was more that they had complete confidence that I would. And the gift bag for first-time visitors contained a loaf of fantastic banana bread. So I think I’ll go back next Sunday.
So I feel pretty good! And it looks like I’ll be in bed by 10, which hasn’t happened in a while.
David to me:
Some interesting reading this morning as a result of googling “soaking prayer.” Lots of people seem scared by it, and lots more sense that soaking advocates have lost sight of God and the Bible. One article that seemed very insightful suggested that some soakers have slipped into worshiping the act and the resulting visions rather than worshiping God. It seems very dangerous.
I suppose the solution is to keep reading my Bible and Experiencing God. Thoughts?
Me to David:
It seems to me that you had a genuine encounter with God during your time of soaking so I would not be afraid to do it again. It is sad how many people feel frightened by new forms of connecting with God. In reality, soaking has been around for a very long time, people just used different words. It very much like the silence and meditation that the early church fathers practiced. The Psalmist describes “lying down in green pastures” as God restores his soul in Psalm 23.
Don’t be afraid. You are on the right track.
By the way, our church is hosting a famous revivalist, Randy Clark, in early November and I recently learned that Sam and Luke are coming up for the conference. Is there any way you could come with them? It is expected to sell out. I will pay your registration fee if you can come. Thursday, November 4 through Saturday November 6.
Pray about it.
I pray that God will become more and more known to you as you open your heart to being known by him, the lover of your soul.
September 29 email from David:
What seems to bother a lot of them is the number of parallels between sensations experienced and Hindu mysticism. My thinking is that a person who is trying to soak without focusing on Christ and without wanting to experience His love falls into a sort of spiritual trap. They gradually lose sight of the central truths of who God is and end up consumed by their need for a spiritual high.
As an aside on how people think, the majority of google hits for “soaking prayer” are pages that copied one of two opinions on soaking, one for and one against. Very few write up their own opinions.The two best comments on it I’ve heard are one from you and one from someone on the web with similar experiences to yours; soaking is about God. Not about you and not about feeling nice.
Sam’s already invited me and I want to go! He’s also invited another mutual friend of mine, who doesn’t know just how much she’s in for. Though I think we forgot to mention that there’s a registration fee.
Me: I’ve got some resources, so tell your friend she can come for free, too. Send me her name so we can get her on the registration list.