I think most of us have seen this phenomenon in many of the charismatic type churches. You go into the assembly and at the end of the service there is an altar call and people walk up to the front to be prayed for. The most common behavior of those who pray for these individuals is to lay their hands on their head or shoulders. Sometimes the people who pray for these souls have the noblest intentions and can get quite animated while believing for an answer from God. Could these intentions and behaviors really have the best interests at heart for those they pray for? I have only one Scripture to address this problem I see in modern day Churches. It’s found in 1 Timothy 5:22,
Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure. 1 Timothy 5:22 KJV
If we are commanded by Timothy to refrain from the laying on of hands suddenly on another person, why do so many do it in the Church? I believe that there are many Pastors and leaders who have the truest intentions of praying for a change in another person’s life. I’m sure there are others that may like to lay hands on another person to make a show. Regardless, what damage if any is there on laying hands on someone suddenly.
In 1984 I was introduced to the God of the Christians and was taken one day to a small Pentecostal Church downtown in our city. I had quite a night the day before I went to the Church. When I came into the assembly, I heard the Pastor speak a few words to the congregation and in an instant, I said to myself, “He’s a phony baloney.” I saw right through him.
After the service, this Pastor and three other men came down to where I was sitting and all of them laid hands on me and prayed for me.
Looking back these are the negative things I experienced from their laying hands on me suddenly.
1) Any element of wisdom or understanding I had went out the window. I immediately thought these men were the greatest. I thought butter didn’t melt in the Pastor’s mouth, he was a wonderful guy!
2) I started becoming manic and thought that these people really loved me. I had found love! Something I had not had a lot of in the first twenty-one years of my life.
3) I felt that I had to tell everyone and their dog about God and Jesus.
After three and a half months later, I wound up at the doorstep of a local insane asylum and thus began my journey with a mental illness. Not one person from that Church came to visit me, not one. I called the Pastor and asked him what happened, and he told me to not go back but go ahead. I called him a second time and he addressed me by the name Pamela. I was right, phony as the day is long. The congregation had issues with this man and in a very short time, he was gone from there.
I stayed in the hospital for two and a half months and was released sometime in the summer of 1984. A Catholic Priest, a chaplain at the hospital, befriended me and after a few months, he made sexual advances towards me. I never succumbed to his advances because I wasn’t a homosexual. I attracted a few more homosexual men who wanted to have their way with me.
What happened to me? Why was I attracting homosexuals? I’m not sure of all the answers, but one thing I know, those four men who prayed for me and laid their hands on me suddenly, had issues of their own and whatever was influencing them was now influencing me because of the laying on of their hands.
You don’t have to touch anyone to pray for them. Just stand beside them and pray. There are men in Christianity, Pastors, and leaders, who struggle with porn addiction and I’m not condemning them. What happens when a man views very graphic content on the Internet and lusts after what he sees? How is it that the next day he is laying hands on men and women who may be requesting help for the very same issue the leader is struggling with? Not only is this behavior dangerous and hypocritical, but it can cause real harm for some of those they are praying for.
When people lay hands suddenly on another person, there can be a transference of influence on that person. No, they may not pick up a demon, but they can definitely be influenced by that demon. If this demon is not dealt with, it can wreak havoc on a husband and wife to the point where they divorce, and the family becomes another statistic.
When I was admitted to the mental institution one year, there was a young man who boasted that he was having sex with women in his dreams. He said they come to him while he is asleep and have wonderful sex with him. That night, I was visited by one of those demons in my sleep. I told the young man that I had been visited by one of his ‘girlfriends’. When I described her to him, he piped up and said, “Yeah, I know her!”
One day he tried very, very hard to lay his hands on me. I got angry with him and told him to stop. I shudder to think what would have happened to me if I had allowed him to lay hands on me – suddenly.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the Queen, the President, a Pastor, Rabbi, or Imam, demons and the devil are no respecter of persons. If someone dabbles in sin, it can open up a doorway for demonic attachment and influence. What is the result? The person who receives the laying on of hands is usually in worse shape after being prayed for.
My final story:
These experiences were from years ago, however, I had one experience from the last year. I was angry with a person my wife knew who had cut her off for no apparent reason. I decided I was going to go to her Church and confront her about the behavior she was showing my wife and I. When I arrived there, she was nowhere to be seen. Everyone there warmed up to me and before things were over, they all gathered around me and laid hands on me suddenly and prayed for me. I became manic later that day and was calling myself a revivalist and was going to bring revival to that dreary assembly. I came to my senses a few days later and dealt with the spirit of religion that had attached to me.
Based on my experience of having people laying hands on me suddenly, I realize that this is a very damaging behavior. We are commanded by Timothy to refrain from laying hands on others suddenly. It is not ‘spiritual’ to do this, in fact, in light of what I have experienced, it actually could be demonic and evil. If you want to pray for someone, pray for them. Don’t lay hands on them, that behavior has the propensity to destroy them. Please keep your hands to yourself. You know in what areas you are struggling. Do you want to pass that on to another unwary person?
I believe that laying hands on someone suddenly is one of the reasons we have such a mess in the body of Christ. It’s like nosocomial infections in hospitals. You go into the hospital with one issue and come out with three. The same could be said for those who seek prayer in a Church. They come in with one spiritual issue and come out with three or more. Volumes of books could be written on this topic and maybe one day I will write one.
Good intentions never got anyone anywhere. It’s time to refrain from the laying on of hands and start praying for people.
God Bless you.