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When We Pray, It Boils

Stand still in that which shows and discovers, and then does strength immediately come. And stand still in the light, and submit to it, and the other will be hushed and gone. And then contentment comes. – from George Fox’s Epistle X

At our Fall Gathering this past weekend, the Friends of Jesus Fellowship had a pretty amazing experience of prayer. The quality of it was different from anything I had ever experienced before. It was as if we were sitting together in a frying pan, and the spiritual temperature was steadily rising. Simmering. Boiling.

The only way I knew how to describe it afterwards was to say, It felt like the lid was about to come off. The room was literally shaking with the prayers of those present, our bodies and voices trembling under the power of the Spirit.

As a Quaker, this intensity of feeling makes me suspicious. It’s hard to know sometimes whether our emotions are being stirred up for human reasons, or divine ones. Yet, from everything I witnessed, I believe that our time of fervent prayer bore the marks of the Holy Spirit. There was real healing taking place as hidden hurts and heartbreaks came to light.

It has taken me a while to begin processing what I saw and felt this weekend. It was an awesome thing to watch the Spirit of God reach down into our depths and dredge up mercy out of the darkness. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But also beautiful. Cleansing and healing.

I am so grateful for Christ’s presence in our midst this weekend. I am blessed to be part of this community where we approach God together, and receive a clear response. It’s a pure gift, and I’m thankful.

  • It showed how we need to transcend our cultural limitations in order to experience the fullness of God. Middle class WASP Quaker culture, with its fear of emotion, can be a barrier – a big barrier – to us experiencing the power the early Friends experienced. An advantage we had at the Gathering is most of those present were not born and raised as Quakers, and a number had only limited experience among Quakers. Most had experience in other religious cultures, including a number in charismatic culture which at its best does foster the kind of “boiling” we experienced last weekend.

    • Thanks, Bill. I’m still wrapping my head around it, but I’m grateful for the direction we seem to be headed in. I feel hopeful that we have the spiritual groundedness to be energized by intense experiences like these yet still stay rooted in the daily, practical work of discipleship.

      • hanke

        Thank you Micah for sharing this. God bless.
        Hanke Zandleven Yearly Meeting Netherlands.

        • Thank you for the comment, Hanke! Christ’s peace to all Friends in the Netherlands! 🙂