October 16, 2007

Annointing For Dummies

I feel so inadequate when it comes to praying for other people. And God so often places us in situations for the specific reason of overcoming the things we fear. Thus, I find myself in the most amusing of positions in our church, where it’s expected of me that when someone needs prayer for healing or whatever, I am one of many who are expected to step in and lead.

Gee, thanks God!

It’s not that I don’t LIKE to pray for people. I do, really. I pray with groups of friends, I pray when an ambulance passes me with its lights on, I pray for my kids, my husband, and our families. That’s no problem. But when I have to pray on demand for someone that I probably don’t even know, I get a little bit of stage fright and usually end up praying some dumb useless prayer and trying not to sound “churchy”.

But the worst part of it all is the oil.

Last Sunday at church, the invitation was made to stand for prayers of healing and doggone it, a lady stood up a few seats over from me. Usually I just ignore the nudge and wait for someone else to go pray, but I knew this time I had to do it.

So I did.

I walked over and shakily asked if there was anything specific she needed prayer for. (More like, “Please throw me a bone so that I don’t have to issue a generic prayer cuz I really suck at those!”) Thankfully she gave me something specific and away I went. Just as my 30 second prayer was over, I looked up and realized everyone else was doing the 10 minute prayer.

But I’m all outta words!

I was saved by another woman as she walked up to take over. Now all I had to do was listen and jump in if something struck me.

But joy of all joys, the anointing oil was being passed around. And if there is anything worse than praying on command, it’s knowing what to do with the anointing oil. So I closed my eyes tight, hoping they would give it to the other girl praying with me.

I waited, and waited, trying to look intense in my prayers so as not to be disturbed. But lo and behold, I felt a little tap on my arm and staring me right in the face is a gigantic bottle of Costco olive oil.

I stuck out my finger (the index, not the naughty one) and got a dab of oil. Which is exactly when the panic hit.

Now what do I do with my oily finger?

Do I draw a cross on her forehead, do I dab some between her eyebrows? I mean what is the protocol for anointing? Nobody ever sent me to “Oil Of God 101” so I’m really winging it here. There I stand with a glob of olive oil dangling from my finger and I’m not quite sure what to do with it.

So I faked it.

I started with a dot on her forehead and as if that wasn’t enough I decided halfway through that it should be a cross. I was almost ready to spell her name out in oil on her forehead before I realized I better stop soon because I’m running out of oil and I don’t want my finger to make a dry squeak across her face.

And wonder of wonders, she didn’t laugh. And I didn’t laugh. And best of all she didn’t act like I did anything wrong.

So I’m just going to consider this a successfully artistic anointing and next time I’m sticking to the dot…..or the cross…I guess it depends on how creative I'm feeling that day.


Halfmoon Girl said...

I guess a happy face wouldn't have been appropriate? I am making light of it, but know that this is a biblical practice. I don't have much experience with the whole anointing thing, but glad that you were willing to be used by the Lord. It's not about us anyways, it is about Him.

nsremom said...

oh my goodness I'm dying. that was a hilarious post. I felt your awkward moment, totally!

Nikki said...

Classic!! You made me laugh out loud! Just imagining the dry squeak across her face...hysterical....!

Cindy said...

I wouldn't know exactly what to do, either. I'd be looking for some veggies to saute.

I have actually been anointed with oil, though, and it was very emotional.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't your church have an annointing with oil 101 class? That was hysterical and I am in stitches. I felt every bit of discomfort. I surely wouldn't know what to do. When you attend a baptist church for 11 years, one doesn't learn certain things, and annointing with oil is one of them.

Leanne said...

Gayle, I shared your post with Dave and he laughed out loud! I guess that means your post was REALLY funny!

I've never annointed anyone with oil, and wouldn't have a clue how to do it either.....I've been in some churches where they had a different oil for every different need! HUH? Whatever......you handled it really well, I'm sure, with your signature improvisational grace....

I have myself been annointed with different oils and it was a very sacred experience....but it sure doesn't matter, I don't think, what kind of oil one uses.......unless it's Crisco, methinks!!

It was a hysterical post, friend!


penguinsandladybugs said...

Halfmoon girl said it best....it's not about us anyways...and He used you beautifully. Now, you have inspired me to get my hands on some oil, because the Lord is teaching me new things all the time...and I think the oil is Biblical and cool!

Scott said...

Silly Gayle.
The instructions are on the back of the bottle.
I certainly hope you didn't accidently annoint her in that one way that brings a pox on her and her livestock.
But you'll know soon if you did; it spreads quickly.

Sharon - aka momn4boys said...

The elders at our church were praying over and annointing a young man who was leaving for Iraq. Our pastor put a bit of oil on his forehead and then actually took the oil rubbed it into the palms of his hands like lotion and rubbed it all over his head! He had that army haircut so it was ok. He said something about annointing actually means "covering" so he was covering him with our prayers and Gods protection. It was very moving. I sat bawling peeking at my 16 yr old who thinks he want to go military, wondering if it might be him in 2 yrs.

Oh my..... sorry about the bookish comment.

Rhen (yestheyareallmine) said...

LOL- I am sorry I am laughing but I so understand. I am always hoping no one will call on me. As talkative and opinionated as I am I just know I would stumble over my words and mess it all up. At 5'4" I can easily hide behind hubby unless God one day decides to "call me out". Ahhhh!
It seems as though God used you just the way He needed to. WTG!
PS- I pray whenever I see ambulances, police or firetrucks racing by as well. We have taught our children to pray for them too. You never know what your prayer will do!

EE said...

LOL!!! You crack me up! I wouldn't have known what to do with it either!

Jimmie said...

You had me laughing outloud! Not because I think you're a dork but because you express so well emotions that I've experienced before. Oh my! You are too funny! These things can be so awkward! Let us know how Father answered the prayer. You came like a child, and He's sure to answer!

See you found (and like) that Polarize photo tool! :-) Horray!

ConservaChick said...

I'd have issues with the oil. I'd be freaking out thinking, is this stuff going to make my forehead break out? Maybe God has me in A baptist church for a good reason. I'm just not emotionally ready to have my face rubbed with costco oil. Oh... and I thought I was so spiritualy deep. HA. ~Karlie

Kathy in WA said...

Oh Gayle, I'm so glad you have friends here to point you in the right direction (the back of the bottle) and keep you focused on the job at hand (oily though it may be).

Was this in the middle of a regular service? Do the schedule in extra time for longer prayer? Curious. Our old church had healing services that were separate from a Sunday morning service.

Duckabush Blog

Mighty Warrior said...

Hi G4G, an awesome story well told.
I'm a Baptist Pastor of a very multicultural Church in NewZealand. We have always practiced annionting but even those of us annointing regularly are somewhat amased at the presence of God & how that affects us at the time. Go for it 7 you will see amazing results.

bless you all.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing on a topic that most people would have preferred to pass on.

Anonymous said...

I attend a full gospel penecostal church...it is wonderful..we believe in all the gifts that GOD offers us and make full use of them...we also have an altar call after every service for prayer for healing, baptism of the spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues or any special concern or need a person may have...annointing with oil is just a common practice at our church... i wish all the churches would preach the holy spirit and let him take charge of the church service...in most churches the holy spirit can sneak out the side door and no one would miss him..what a sad thing..Jeremiah 17:14..HEAL ME GOD AND I WILL BE HEALED..SAVE ME AND I WILL BE SAVED..FOR YOU ARE MY PRAISE...AMEN

Samji said...

your post wasn't exactly what i was looking for when i googled "what to do with anointing oil" but it was exactly what i needed. A good opportunity to laugh at myself knowing that I'm not the only one who feels weird with the oil on my hands.

you made my day. I'm glad I'm not the only person with a bottle of anointing oil in their hands and no clue what exactly I am supposed to do with it.

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