Many of us have heard horror stories of things that happened in the “prayer lines” — those times when someone failed to get healed, was viciously accused by the prayer-leader of not having faith, and how that person left crying, angry, or otherwise. Sad to say but those stories are often true and do actually happen. While the prayer leader may have been well-intentioned it is safe to say that the effects of their words and actions were not just ineffective but actually detrimental. I suggest there is a much better way to operate in this setting or situation, but this way carries over into all aspects of life — it is the Way of Personal Responsibility.
In any prayer situation with others it is safe to say that usually one party (the supplicant) approaches the other (prayer leader) for prayer. The supplicant obviously has a need that they don’t feel is adequately addressed without the assistance of others, which is the reason they sought help. Common sense also dictates that if the supplicant were able to solve the need on their own that they would not have sought help, which tells us that they are in a place of lack. Presumably the prayer leader is in a place of plenty in that area of need, or at least is in less lack, and so the supplicant requests prayer intending the blessing to go from the place of higher influence to lower influence. And so the prayer occurs.
When the prayer occurs there is one vitally important detail the prayer leader must be aware of — that they are responsible for providing the solution. Certainly God is the one ultimately responsible, but on an earthly level God has given us responsibility to bring heaven to earth and so it is the job of the prayer leader to do just that. What this means is that ALL failure in the situation, if blame MUST be apportioned, goes to the prayer leader. Why? Because the supplicant never had it to begin with or they wouldn’t have sought prayer. Thus, any lack of heaven’s breakthrough in the situation is the responsibility of the prayer leader to address, solve, and resolve the matter.
I find it quite sensible to take this approach for a few reasons. First, if one looks at the bible verses where someone was healed by their own faith they directly approached Jesus and usually had a solution in mind but just needed Jesus to give them an extra boost in prayer. There is not a single time Jesus said to someone “your faith has made you well” where they had no pre-formed notion of how this wholeness might occur. When he didn’t say it one can assume their faith did NOT make them well, and therefore most of the time it was not the supplicant’s faith that brought the solution, and anyone else would be wise to adopt a similar mindset.
Second, I have named this the Way of Personal Responsibility for a reason. I have little to no control at all over the lives of others. I cannot make them believe things a certain way, speak, act, or think a certain way, and as such I am the only person whose beliefs, thoughts, and actions I control. If as prayer leader I believe Heaven needs to come to Earth I cannot depend on any other person to provide enough God-power in the situation, as I am the one who is being sought for just that very thing. Therefore it is my responsibility to provide it and I never know when I will be called on for that task. I might be healing someone in a grocery store or a coworker, and it might be nowhere near a highly-anointed church prayer-line where people are getting blessed left and right. If someone needs a touch from heaven I can only count on myself to carry it. Thus I must choose actions that line up with that belief and when all is said and done I can know that I did my all.
By corollary it also means that if in that situation as prayer leader I FAIL to provide the touch from heaven under no circumstances may I begin blaming the other person and at NO point EVER do I tell that person the nine reasons why they failed to be prepared enough for me to pray for them. Obviously they were unprepared or they wouldn’t need prayer in the first place.
It is time that we each individually take a step up in our personal spiritual responsibility. People blame others for heaven failing to manifest as a cover for their own feelings of inadequacy, fear, disappointment, and shame. Blame-passing over why prayers were not answered is not fruitless but rather is poisonous. If heaven is going to manifest it begins with a look at one’s own self not at anyone else in the visual range, and as I and everyone else do this more and more I firmly believe we will see a shift in not just the way we approach prayer with others but the end results as well.