I remember the first time I experienced the power of a worship flag being used outside a corporate worship service. It was ten years ago. I was lying on the floor of the Alabaster Prayer House at Bethel Church in Redding, California. Beautiful music filled the room. People sat, reclined and quietly walked around the room. The air was filled with the power of intercessory prayer and worship. When I was a student at Multnomah University almost 50 years ago, I spent many hours in a prayer chapel there crying out to God about my life and the mystery of my future. Places dedicated to prayer carry a special sense of God's presence.
As I lay on the floor in Bethel’s prayer house, unknown to me, a woman was moving around the room gently moving a flag over each person in prayer. She was quiet and respectful. I began to feel the gentle breeze from her flag. The movement of air became like the breath of God. When the worship flag stirred the air, I began to physically experience a song yet to be written titled, You Make Me Brave, with the lyrics, “As your love, in wave after wave, crashes over me.” At that moment, I was on a beach somewhere in the South Pacific. The water was warm and clear and the sky was blue. I was lying down on the beach at the water's edge as wave after wave of God’s presence gently washed over me, I was being restored.
When the experience in the prayer house took place, I was a tired senior pastor trying my best to lead a local church. I needed a fresh touch of God’s Spirit, and so did our church. When the flag stirred the air above my head, something shifted in my heart and mind. The waves of God’s presence began to wash away the things I was carrying so that the only thing remaining was a hunger for God’s presence. I returned to our church transformed and have never been the same since.
That day in the prayer house, I was invited to a place of surrender. I was asked to lie down and not be the one in control. With that physical change in posture came a willingness to lay down all the things I was carrying that I thought a pastor was supposed to carry in order to be faithful and successful. In that place of surrender, spiritual bravery was realized. Bravery is not always demonstrated in some visible act of personal accomplishment. Some of our bravest acts take place in a quiet and private place when we lor down in the middle of a battle and let wave after wave of God’s presence gently crash over our broken and tired lives.