By Robert Neill
I will probably be out of prison by the time you read this.
We spent Palm Sunday weekend, Thursday through Sunday, in prison at the Central Mississippi Men’s Unit. As you’re possibly guessed, we were on another one of those Kairos Prison Ministry weekends.
I was leading the music, and my former guitar player and good friend Jesse Heath was the Leader for Kairos No. 16.
But what I wanted to tell you about was the Saturday before we ended up in prison. At the all-day Team meeting, we hold a Prayer Circle, during which (it often takes two hours) every member of the 50-person team prays over, and gets prayed over, by every other member of the Team.
It is a very moving, meaningful time, and if your church or Sunday School class or Share Group hasn’t tried that, then you belong to consider it.
The way we did it on Jesse’s Team is, half of the Team, led by Uncle Bob, stood behind the seated half, and started the Prayer Circle. Since I was first in line standing behind Roy, my keyboard player, I prayed over him, then sat in the vacant chair on his left.
Every other Team member prayed over me before I had a chance to rise and start praying around the circle for them.
As the Team members passed by me, laying hands on my shoulders and often stooping down to voice their prayers by my good ear, I basked in the Love of the moment, feeling lifted up by a Power I knew but can never fully comprehend.
Even though she was not on the Team, I was struck by how many of the veterans also prayed for Betsy, for she has worked in Kairos nearly ten years now, and we are known as a team couple.
Then I got to thinking of, and thanking for, the praying hands.
When you are being prayed over by a bunch of people, for any reason, they will most often put their hands on you. That’s Biblical, and it’s also a healing of sorts.
Jesus did it. I had one lady who has a special Gift stop me afterward to tell me, "I could sense something hurting you, just at the base of your breastbone, but as I prayed for it to be healed, it just disappeared, so I think you’re okay."
Healing still works today: not by people, but by the God we serve, who sometimes heals through people, be they licensed physicians or Gifted Prayer Warriors.
But the praying hands that were laid on me for that hour were so different.
Some were almost rough – Rusty gave a relaxing back rub while he prayed, and I have been accused of the same technique.
"I’ll give you a half-hour to stop that," I murmured.
Some, like the lady who sensed a hurt, were laid on me so softly I could hardly feel them. The temperature was what was so strange, to me anyway.
Some of the hands – men and women – were actually hot. Some were warm. Some were cool. I had no doubt that all were sincere, because I recognized most of the voices, except for a few of the Team rookies.
Why the difference in the temperatures of those hands, I wondered? We’re all supposed to be about 98 degrees, aren’t we? Why did some hands almost burn, and made me sweat?
Of course, my right hand that was crushed in the cotton gin lint cleaner has a noticeable temperature coolness from my left in the wintertime, so much so that Betsy often complains when we snuggle up. Yet I doubted that anyone else on the Team had crushed hands.
One thing I was certain of: God was in all of them. Those praying hands would carry us through the entire Kairos four days at CMCF the next week, and bring us back home for the Easter weekend better for the experience.
What’s even better is that most of those 42 residents of CMCF would be better able to celebrate Easter Morning after going through the Kairos weekend. And we would, too.
Then I got to wondering, as the Team had passed by me praying and I stood to now pray over them one by one, what were my own hands like? Rough but relaxing, like Rusty’s?
Soft and tear-watered, like Gail’s? Hot like Willy’s, or warm like Mike’s, or cool like Al’s? Could God use my hands like he had used theirs to comfort, condition, and heal others? I hope so. I sure do hope so.