Well, none of you must be dying to find out what happened at the prayer meeting: Nothing spectacular. It was just like most other Pentecostal prayer meetings I went to minus the war vet freaking out due to his PTSD (he is a great guy and looks so sad all the time, I try to talk to him and greet him often but we have a language barrier, his Finnish is not the best and also he is shut off and I don’t know what to talk about with him).
I felt a little silly about it the next day after hearing God but I went anyway because, well, if I am going to live in a way that I allow God to lead me, I better follow even if nothing comes of it. So I went. As I expected, the praise and worship was boring but I like singing so I sang along and enjoyed it but as always was not able to connect to God. I can never feel God when I am singing along to P&W songs because I am concentrating on singing, not worshipping. So the P&W songs came and God was not in them. We prayed, but God was not in that either. I am not comfortable connecting to God with other people making noise around me. This really bothered me after I moved here leaving behind my Quaker congregation with its nice silent worship. I was starting to think by the time the sermon started that God would not show up for me. Then the music pastor started to talk about receiving the Holy Spirit and how it may not be something that happens all at once so we need to extend out our metaphorical cups and just wait and say: “God I am here, I am waiting.” We wait and if it does not fill we say: “Okay not today, but maybe tomorrow, I am here Lord.” Then we wait patiently and keep praying and extending out cup out. I thought that was an interesting contrast with the typical impatient Pentecostal attitude that you pray and strain like you are about to poop a bowling ball to receive the Holy Spirit RIGHT FREAKING NOW!
After the sermon we prayed some more and some people prayed in tongues, at low volume like whispering, this was a great contrast to most Pentecostal churches where the point is to get God to listen to you by seeing who can yell gibberish loudest through their tears. There was no overwhelming experience for the Skeptigirl of shaking in the Spirit or speaking in tongues but I think I know why I went and the journey continues.
So, if you read this far, time for the fun part. Let me tell you about the usual cast of characters at the prayer meeting, other than my PTSD friend. There was the token drunk guy. The actual drunk guy changes from meeting to meeting but there is always one. Sometimes he is disruptive and has to be escorted out by security but this time he was merely warned and did not get more disruptive than yelling out flowery but repetitive compliments for the praise band about every one of their songs. He sat in the back so we all heard them and the P&W band was amused and complimented. Then there were of course the proper Pentecostal disapproving old ladies who took a look back at him and scowled every time he piped up. He snuck in a twelve pack of beer somehow, and while I never saw him drinking it he was missing six cans by the end of the service. Then there were a few ladies dancing unobtrusively in their places a few people raising their hands and a developmentally disabled guy who was really, really into it.