By Erika Rizkallah
I was watching Fox News the other day and happened to see the story about a group of Evangelical church leaders praying over President Trump. Maybe you saw it too.
Erin Burnett, a CNN news anchor, did a segment on it and said, “all these people sort of touching him” was “very strange.” I guess to people unfamiliar with Christianity, the picture may indeed seem strange. However, it’s a basic doctrine of our faith and is called “laying hands” on someone.
The use of hands in forms of worship and prayer is not unusual in many cultures and religions. But I wonder how many “influencers” would object or comment negatively on them . . .
In Christianity there are no less than 29 passages of scripture on this practice, which has a long history spanning both the Old and New Testaments. It can signify separation of a person or groups of people for a specific task:
And you shall bring the Levites before the tent of meeting and assemble the whole congregation of the people of Israel. When you bring the Levites before the LORD, the people of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites, and Aaron shall offer the Levites before the LORD as a wave offering from the people of Israel, that they may do the service of the LORD. Numbers 8:9-11
It can also signify blessing, as was done by Jesus when parents brought their children to him:
Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away. Matthew 19:13-15
It’s a practice also used in healing, reassurance and comfort. I’ve had many hands layed on me over the years and I’ve layed hands on many others.
I’ve experienced healing, reassurance and comfort and am glad our President is a willing recipient of prayer. Even though some folks think it’s “weird.”
One of my favorite scriptures about this is found in Matthew 9:18:
As he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.”
The ruler – an important and powerful man – didn’t let his pride or position get in the way of doing all he could to save his daughter. As a result, she was raised to life.
There will always be mockers – people who sneer at our faith and belittle our practices. Jesus told us to expect it. But you never know. A skeptic may also turn to us in a time of need, accept a prayer and a hand of reassurance that all will be well.
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. Colossians 2:9-10
So . . . Be Strange. Be weird. Be a blessing!