A very dear friend of mine approached me at church one night after I had finished up with the Alpha Sprouts. Alpha Dude was “fellowshipping” (that’s church talk for wasting time yakking it up) with some folks before heading home. That’s when my Christian brother approached me with, what appeared to be, a heavy heart. (We like to tell people that we are twins, even though he’s tall and slim and I’m….uh….not).
Have you ever had the Holy Spirit speak to you? I don’t mean that you hear voices in your head or think you are weirding out or anything, but sometimes I just know stuff. Stuff that I otherwise would not normally know. It’s a kind of a gift, I think. I can’t control it, I can’t read people’s minds or anything, but it just seems that God will give me what knowledge I need at the particular time I need it to do His will. I didn’t know it yet that night, but my friend had a heavy question on his heart and I was about to have his answer for him.
As I said, something was troubling him and he said he wanted my input on something that was really bugging him. He had just gotten back from working on the ministry team for a men’s retreat (we call it a Discipleship Walk) and he experienced something during that weekend that had him somewhat confused. I had worked the same retreat a couple of times in the past so I was pretty familiar with how things go there.
During these retreats (they do the same thing for the women too, just on a different weekend) there are a total of ten different talks, each given by a different team member, which build on each other leading up to an awesome connecting-with-God type experience by the end of the weekend. Each talk is about 20 minutes. During each talk, one or two team members will meet in the prayer room to pray for the speaker giving the talk, and pray for the guys (the Disciples) listening to it as well. My friend was in the prayer room with another fellow during one of the talks, and prayed the entire time for God’s blessings on the speaker and on the Disciples.
After the talk, the speaker came to the prayer room. My friend shared with him that while he was praying for this man, he had felt a peace and a gentleness of God. He described this overwhelmingly wonderful feeling of peace and love and joy, and feelings of God’s Grace. The other guy however, said he didn’t experience that at all and spoke of a demonic presence and feelings of evil and darkness and spent his time praying against the enemy’s attacks.
So my friend’s question was this: How can two guys, in the same room, praying for the same speaker, experience two completely different and opposite feelings? Which one is right? Was one of them doing something wrong or praying incorrectly?
Before he finished telling me his story, and before he could ask – I had his answer. He even asked me why I was smiling when he finished his questions.
I told him I was glad he asked me because the Holy Spirit had given me his answer.
What I said to my brother is simply this:
Why do you think that Jesus sent out the Disciples in pairs? He told them not to venture out alone, but to work together.
You see, the reason my brother was able to pray about feelings of peace and joy and love and grace, is because someone else was praying against the evil and dark forces that were out to destroy the good work God was doing.
“The other guy had your back. You were able to experience ‘the peace of God that transcends all understanding’, because someone else had your back. He fought against the enemy, so that you could pray for God’s grace and blessings. Soldiers travel in pairs, and when they stop to rest, they sit down and lean against each other, back to back, and watch out for each other. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do for each other anyway?"
His eyes opened wide, and he smiled as though a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders. “Dude! That is so obvious! I don’t know why I couldn't see that before! That makes so much sense! Thank you!” His excitement returned and seemed to have a renewed energy as he walked away.
This is one of the men that I am proud to call my friends. I had never known this kind friendship until I moved here and joined this church.
While working a Discipleship Walk about a year ago, on the first night there, we normally have a brief meet and greet share time with the new disciples. One of the new disciples pointed to a team member he had just met, and announced to the room full of men that this guy claimed that there are at least three guys in the room that he could call at 3 A.M. and they would come right away to help him, if he asked them to. To test this, the new disciple asked which of the men on the team would actually come to the aid of that man if he called them at 3 o’clock in the morning.
About fifteen of us stood up immediately.
My friends and I, we hold each other accountable, and we share with each other and we pray with and for each other. And we each know that any one of those men, at any given time, and without hesitation, will gladly tell any one of the others
“Dude, I’ve got your back.”