Who can pray?
I hear two extremes mentioned in Christian circles regarding prayer, prophecy, and ministry.
The first is, “I let anyone lay hands on me – I trust God to keep me safe!” and the second is its opposite, “I don’t let just anybody pray for me!”
My personal take on it looks more like the former but has some elements of the latter.
“Anyone” is a very big group of people. And in any group of people, presently, you will find varying levels of maturity, woundedness, and issues. We are all being transformed – from glory to glory. Most of us need very deep healing because of trauma, wounds, and bad teaching.
To arbitrarily decide, “I don’t let just anybody pray for me” puts a label on people that encourages immaturity and promotes woundedness. Can you imagine going to minister to someone and they say, “You can’t pray for me. I only let certain people do that; you’re not on my list.” That person would be very wounded and hurt. Think of how you would feel! (Oh, but you’re mature and gifted and anointed, they’d be wrong to say that to you! Well, I bet the person you just rejected feels the same way about themselves…)
Not only that, but it makes you look like you feel that you’re a rock star and deserve special treatment. Just sayin’.
At the same time, to decide that “anyone” can minister to you is foolish. There are people out there who should not minister to anyone anywhere. I have personally been ministered to by a creepy guy who seemed to be stalking women during a conference. Fortunately for me (or, perhaps, for this guy), my pastor had caught on to what he was doing and came and joined in the prayer. (Sidebar: I love my pastor!) We know another woman who feels the need to do “spiritual warfare” during prayer – she karate chops “demons” (who by the way are not there) and makes retching noises and writhes on the floor. Um. No.
So what do you do?
I believe there’s a balance between… where you have the grace to allow someone who is immature and perhaps has a few issues to minister to you… and when someone who is TRULY off comes, you have the grace to minister to them.
I’ve had situations where I knew that the person praying for me had issues (with you name it – porn, divorce, money, divisiveness) and I’ve prayed, as they prayed, “Lord – I accept every good thing that you’d like to give me out of this prayer, and I reject any evil thing that satan would try to use out of this situation.” I release the Kingdom and I encourage the person to grow in the Lord. Often the situation turns into two-way ministry.
Why do I do that? Because along the way, some people have fathered me that way… saw me in my brokenness, heard from the Lord, and allowed and encouraged me to grow in Him. Yes – even when I had issues with lust, greed, divisiveness, and was in danger of leaving my husband. If I’d been rejected and told that I could not be a part of what God was doing until I was “perfect”, I wouldn’t have stayed put and done the hard work with the Lord and with these people that it took to become whole.
So what do you do in a situation where you just CAN’T let the person in front of you minister to you? Take a deep breath, smile, and say, “I really feel like I should minister to you.” Call someone else to help you pray (preferably your spouse). Ask the Lord for a word of knowledge that will bring freedom into their life. Don’t judge or condemn – release love and the Kingdom into them. You never know what He might do 🙂
So – there’s my thoughts on it. What do you think? How do you handle this situation?