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Thanksgiving Encounter with the Holy Spirit


How it began

As Thanksgiving nears I have recalled something that took place the night before this November holiday more than two decades ago. I’m led to share it in a manner that is more spiritual than churchy. This saga began in March of 1995 when my family began attending what is referred to as a Spirit-filled church. This meant that the leader and members had encounters with the Spirit of the living God that did not take place in every congregation. On a Wednesday night in May, when we were having services in a school cafeteria I arrived late and sat at a table in the back. The pastor was turned in a direction where he did not see me enter. I listened as he gave what he called words of knowledge to different people and I lay my head on the table. A word of knowledge is a spiritual gift that, is mentioned in the Bible in I Corinthians 12:8. For lack of a better word, this may be described by some as being clairvoyant or psychic. You relay things to people that you could not know based on your own mind and the source of your knowledge is the Holy Spirit.

As the pastor spoke to various individuals with a word from heaven I became discouraged. If this were real, I wondered then why did my Creator never have anything to say to me in two months of being in this church? At that point, with my head still on the table I said to myself, "A word, a word, a word. Always a word for someone but never a word for Cheryl." Immediately from the other side of the room, the pastor said, "Sister Cheryl Preston the devil is lying to you right now." I sat straight up and said "Amen," and from that point, I knew the spiritual gifts were real. My spiritual leader did not know physically that I was in the building but addressed the issue I was dealing with because he was connected to the One who knows all. Five months later the pastor was used by the Almighty Creator to confirm something else that was specific to me.

Getting to know Him by His Spirit

During a church harvest fest on October 31, 1996, the pastor announced that the building would now be open Monday through Friday from 5:30 AM-6:30 AM for Intercessory prayer. When I got home, I called my then BFF whom I will refer to as "Cookie" and we agreed we would be a part of this. We began getting up early and going to this gathering every single weekday. There was an average of eight or 10 people who showed up regularly and it was an awesome experience. We were connecting with our Creator in a manner that was above and beyond simply sitting in a pew and listening to a sermon.

The elder who was in charge told us to make sure we were in the right spiritual position so our prayers would not be hindered. We were taught to seek forgiveness of all our indiscretions and be in an attitude of gratitude as we drove and be prayed up prior to entering the sanctuary. It was also emphasized that we should utilize our prayer language AKA speaking in tongues, AKA praying in the spirit. This is important because John 4:24 Amplified Bible (AMP) says:

God is spirit [the Source of life, yet invisible to mankind], and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Keep in mind that this prayer gathering was in the beginning stages of the first four weeks. The church was not quite two years old, there were new members joining every week and not everyone who attended knew the others by name. There was no sign-in sheet so unless your face was seen in the place, no one outside of your family knew you were there. The pastor himself was not an attendee so he did not know what was going on.

Supernatural encounter

We had been attending prayer for about four weeks when something unusual took place during the Wednesday night service prior to Thanksgiving. The pastor was teaching when in the middle of his message he left the pulpit. He continued the sermon but began walking through the congregation. He stopped in front of a female congregant and lightly tapped her forehead. He went over to another woman and put his hand on her shoulder. He next went to Cookie, and then her mother and touched them both on the back of their heads. He came over to me and put his hand on the crown of my head for just a few seconds, then went to a sixth woman and patted her back. After that, he went back to the pulpit and completed his message.

The pastor gave the benediction without explaining his actions, but I knew exactly what had taken place. My spirit was leaping within me and as soon as I got home I called Cookie. I asked if she caught what had happened and she said yes. She then spoke what I knew in my heart. Every woman the pastor had singled out had been attending early morning Intercessory prayer. Our spiritual leader had been led by the Spirit of the Source of Life to confirm to us that He was pleased that we were seeking Him first each day. The Invisible Spirit made a connection to us because our pastor was connected to Him.

The next morning we all were in prayer although it was a holiday. Cookie and I truly had a reason to be thankful on that Thanksgiving morn. This was only the beginning of the supernatural encounters we began to experience on a regular basis, both in and outside of the church building. To believe in a higher power, read about Him and or religiously attend services is one thing but to have Him make contact is something altogether different. Sadly we now live in a day and age where my former spiritual leader's actions would be mistaken for something else. This is unfortunate because there are preachers who prey on women, I am so thankful I have the memory of a night when my heavenly Father utilized one of His servants to confirm the importance of prayer. Although physical contact was made, it was all by His Spirit. Yes and Amen.

© 2019 Cheryl E Preston

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