Disappointed: I joined a charismatic group about a year ago and am amazed to see numbers of people slain in the spirit when they are being prayed over. I desire the same but am always disappointed that I don't get slain. The latest seminar I attended was a week ago, and still I didn't get slain in the Spirit.
Dear Disappointed: I fully understand. I too have hungered to fall down under the power of the Holy Spirit as others do, and I have wrestled with this issue over the years. It is finally resolved in my heart and mind. Let me offer a few thoughts the Lord has shared with me.
We Don't All Have the Same Experiences
First, it is not necessary that I have the same physical manifestations to the power of God that others have. The Spirit came and rested on Jesus, and He didn't fall down (Luke 3:22). So since this is not a required step or action of spiritual maturity, there is no reason for me to have to experience it in my life. However, I still might enjoy being slain in the Spirit, so is there anything I can do to prepare myself to receive it?
I believe that right-brain people experience this manifestation more often than left-brain people. I am a left brainer, so normally I wouldn't fall down when being prayed for. I may desire the experience, but obviously, I am not going to fake it and just fall over, nor am I suggesting that right brainers are faking it.
What Right Brainers Do
Finally I realized that right brainers posture themselves in a different way inwardly than I do as a left brainer. As they are being prayed for, their thoughts are focused in the right side of their brains, meaning they are seeing what is happening. They are "seeing" the hands being laid upon them as the hands of Jesus. They are seeing power streaming from those hands into their bodies (Hab. 3:4). They are seeing their bodies absorbing this power and energy of the Holy Spirit, and feeling weakened as the power of God interacts with the energy within their own bodies. They are hungry to believe all this, receive it, and experience it, so they have expectant faith and are tuned to inner sensations. As they feel a lightness, they don't resist but simply allow themselves to fall into the arms of a catcher.
Now, obviously, not all right brainers experience it exactly this way, but these are the general principles.
What Left Brainers Do
So how is that different from what I do as a left brainer? Well, first of all I am not normally using vision. I am not seeing anything positive with the eyes of my heart. With my natural eyes, I am watching the person coming down the line praying for people and them falling, and I am thinking, "I hope this happens to me," and picturing and believing that I probably will remain standing, since I never fall. This is a totally different inner posture than that of the right brainer. This inner analysis, doubt, questioning and lack of tuning to believing pictures and inner sensations essentially bar me from receiving this experience.
What I Could Do as a Left Brainer
So I have discovered that if I will just posture myself as right brainers do, and see what they are seeing, and believe what they are believing, and not resist. But if I feel a bit faint and allow myself to fall into the arms of a catcher, then I too can receive what they receive, and I can do it with integrity and not be faking it. So that is what I have done from time to time, when it has been appropriate and I have desired it.
No Judgmentalism, Please!
I don't hunger for this experience as right brainers do. Nor do I judge it or come against it. Being slain in the Spirit is fine and meaningful for many, but perhaps not as meaningful to me personally, and that is fine. God has made us all different. If we measure ourselves against one another, we are fools, the Bible says (2 Cor. 10:12). So I celebrate their encounters with God without judging myself by demanding that I need to have an identical encounter.
The Bible neither prescribes this experience as a sign of spirituality, nor does it speak against it. So I adopt this same perspective.
Mark Virkler is founder and president of Christian Leadership University and co-founder of Communion With God Ministries. The co-author of more than 50 books with his wife, Patti, Mark has received a Master of Theology from Miami Christian University and a Ph.D. from Carolina Christian University.