Acts 4:31 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit..
We just kicked off the Spring ’17 semester at Elim Bible Institute and College. In addition to the start of classes and regular college activities, the first week of a semester includes a series of special events designed to give students fun and engaging environments that get them going in the new semester. We call it “Welcome Week.”
On Friday evening of Welcome Week, the student council of the freshman class hosted a 2-part event that featured a prayer & worship service followed by a pancake party. It was named “EHOP,” which stands for “Elim House of Prayer/Pancakes.” The pancake party was a fundraiser for an organization that fights human trafficking. Amazingly, an anonymous person paid for all of the pancakes with a large donation (without eating any), which almost doubled the expected funds they were able to raise. The whole EHOP event was wonderful, but the reason I am writing this post is to tell you about something that happened during the prayer service.
The prayer & worship time was held in the auditorium of Elim’s “Tab” building (pictured at the top of the post). There were four students on the platform leading us in a short time of worship with a selection of songs expressing love and devotion to Jesus. After the singing, we broke into small groups to pray for one another. During the small group time, I felt an unusually strong sense of the moving of the Holy Spirit. A student and I spent time praying for each other, and then I decided to get up and take a few pictures of the various small groups spread around the room. At this point, it seemed as though the very air in the room suddenly changed.
As I was walking back to my seat, I felt a sudden heaviness fill the room. It wasn’t a heaviness that was a “downer” of any kind, not that kind of heaviness. It was a heaviness I have come to know as the manifestation of the presence of God when the Spirit of the Lord begins touching people in unusual and intense ways. I could feel the tangible power and presence of God moving over me, and an indescribable sense of peace and love for God flooded my heart and mind. I noticed that a number of students in the same area of the Tab I was in were suddenly being overcome in prayer. There was the sound of intensifying prayers of earnestness and hunger for God, and the sound of students weeping before the Lord.
The presence of God was so heavy that I laid down flat on the floor. The worship team continued with their beautiful love songs to the Lord. While I was lying there, I received a filling of the Holy Spirit like I have not known in a long time. Waves of anointing power swept over me, and the joy and faith exploding out of my heart made me unable to do anything but speak a few feeble words of prayer and worship mixed with broken sobs as I poured out my heart to God. I don’t know how long this went on, perhaps for 10 to 20 minutes. When I finally returned to my seat I noticed that the hour planned for the prayer service was just about up. The students hardly moved. Many of us remained for another 30 minutes as the worship team continued to play.
A student who just started attending Elim this Spring came over and sat down next to me. We talked quietly about the anointing and presence of God in the Christian life. Then he said something about the meeting that I think all who were present would agree with—“I wish the Lord always felt this close!” The sense of the presence of God in the room was just too good to hurry away from. We were all sitting with Jesus together, and it was wonderful. As the student and I continued to talk, I was able to share the story of the first time something like this had ever happened to me when I was a freshman at Elim just like him, and how it scared me at first but changed my life and Christianity forever.
I am thankful for the heritage and vision of Elim and how God has used its people and leaders to shape so many lives, including my own. If you are a praying person, please pray that God will continue to pour out his Spirit on us and help us to train up future leaders and influencers who will choose to put Jesus first, and walk in the fullness of His Spirit all their lives.