We stayed at Beit Immanuel in Tel Aviv, very near Joppa where Peter had the vision in which God told him that His Spirit was for all people, not just the Jews. (Acts 9:32-10:48)
Beit Immanuel means “House of God with us,” and is a hostel that also hosts a Discipleship program for young people from all over the world. They work at the hostel and put on worship services every morning and then have training. We were doing our own thing, so I don’t really know what the training was, but it was a really neat experience sharing this place for 2 weeks with believers from all over the world who were hungry for the things of God. I’m writing this 2 years after and so I won’t remember them all, but I remember people from Brazil, Spain, New Zealand, Switzerland, Ukraine, Germany, and of course, Israel.
A couple of our team members had difficulty getting to the country and we spent that first day getting acclimated by learning about the trip, seeking God in prayer, and praying for each other. The day was filled with amazing teachings and prayer times too numerous to try to put down here. One of the exercises that was truly powerful was practicing prophesying to each other. We received a little training which wasn’t much other than to just pray for the person across from us.
We sat in the courtyard behind the hostel where we would have breakfast every morning. There was a massive and most unusual tree growing there. It’s branches all grew roots downward so the tree would just expand and expand. I was told this tree could grow so that it’s trunk system could become the size of a football field, but they cut the new shoots heading down off this one so that the trunk system didn’t grow beyond about 15 feet diameter. The branches covered a huge area and it was a beautiful setting to grow in the Lord.
Four of us from Austin knew each other, and two guys from Georgia knew each other, so everyone split off with someone they did not know. Then we each began to pray for each other. Cathy prayed for me and I was amazed at how clearly she spoke into my life about things that she had no way of knowing. She had just spent a year on Adventures in Mission’s “World Race” – where you’re in a new country each month working your way around the world. I was blown away at what she was able to hear from God about my life.
When it was my turn to pray, I was filled with trepidation. I had prayed for people before, but never with the understanding that I was going to hear words directly from God and speak them out loud to someone who also had that expectation. Scary stuff! I knew that we should all seek the gift of prophecy, but didn’t have much real world experience. Paul said…
“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. 2For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. 3But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. 4He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.” (I Corinthians 14:1-5)
So, I started praying for Cathy not knowing anything about her. I definitely don’t think that every word that came out of my mouth was directly from God. And I had no idea if the things I was praying to/for Cathy were on target or if I was just praying random things. But after a few minutes tears were coming from her eyes! Apparently God was speaking through me as Cathy told me when we were done.
Across the courtyard, Kara prayed for Chris. Chris didn’t say much afterwards so Kara didn’t think she had done very well, but Chris volunteered to write our mission trip website update that day and she (Chris) posted that it was like Kara was praying straight out of her journal. She seemed to know everything about her.
Join us tomorrow.
Photo credit: mjphotos2007