I was still learning about the Holy Spirit when a well known minister by the name of Mahesh Chavda came to town. I was asked by a college professor of mine to attend the event as a “catcher.” In other words, it was my job to catch the people who fell over under the power of the Spirit as Chavda prayed for them. This was some of the weird stuff I wanted to see more of, so I stepped right up to the position.
The first person I had to catch that night was a bit of a heavy-set person. I was a little nervous because I didn’t know how well I’d be able to support them if they fell. I braced myself quickly as Mahesh didn’t have to pray for people very long before they fell over—it usually only took him a few seconds, if not just a tap on the forehead. He laid his hand on their forehead and the Holy Spirit came instantly, but rather than fall backwards into my arms, their legs gave out and they fell straight down on my feet.
I didn’t know what to do. Do I pat them on the head or something? I thought. It ended up that I didn’t have much time to do anything. “The Holy Spirit has thickened in here, so we’re going to move faster now,” Mahesh told the auditorium. I basically had to jog to keep up with him. All of the catchers were frantically running around trying to get to the next person.
In the end Mahesh offered to pray for our prayer team. I was beyond elated, but afraid to show it. Ever since I had heard that people fell over under the power of the Spirit, I wanted to feel it for myself. Why does it happen? What happens when it happens? I didn’t know the answer, but I was ready to see if I could find out so I jumped in line with the other members of the ministry team. I watched as my friends fell over. I even witnessed my professor fall over, which was a rarity for him. And now it was my turn.
Mahesh breathed on me as an act of imparting the Holy Spirit and I quickly leaned back into the arms of the people behind me, before returning to a standing position two seconds later as though nothing had ever happened. I had felt something, but it was short lived. I couldn’t discern if I had just reacted psychologically and leaned back simply because everyone else had. Whatever the case was in actuality, I never ended up on the floor.
Some years later I found myself at an event heavy with the Holy Spirit. People were going down all around me. The preacher was shaking water out of his water bottle while the band played and everyone who got hit by the water plummeted to the floor. Later they made a prayer tunnel on the stage to pray for the hundreds that entered it. I joined the line and watched people all around me fall down, many of them having just entered the prayer tunnel. Staff members were picking them up by the arms and legs and dragging them off the stage and lying them on the ground where the Holy Spirit could continue His work. I watched as some of my best friends laid there—one of them receiving a vision she struggled to put into words.
I seemed to be one of the few people who made it to the end of the prayer tunnel without falling over. Why everyone else and not me? I always wondered. And after a few years of reflecting on this question I’ve found that the answer is: “I don’t know.” Though I’ve experienced the presence of God in many ways, I have yet to fall over. In fact, when I’m surrounded by people who can tangibly sense the presence of God all around them and even seem to feel it under their very skin, I feel like a rock. Why is everyone else reacting to the atmosphere and I feel nothing? Again, I don’t know. I’m still learning why, reminding myself that God works in us all very differently.