Discerning God's presence by lifting up holy hands is something the Lord has taught me how to do by His Spirit. There is no written manual to follow. I testify to you that it works. It is a useful tool to use in a variety of ways. Your own relationship needs to be deep and constant with the Lord to make use of this tool. Eternal life is not a game!
The way I have worked it out by His Spirit and through much experience is that when I am preparing to pray for someone, I lift up my hands over their head. I do that with every single person that I am asked to pray for (and over every single article I write, I might add). I then discern whether God's presence will fall upon them or not.
I can say that in the great majority of cases, God's presence has come down upon them and He allows me to discern it. I attribute this, in determining the cause, that most people have been praying for themselves already before they came to me. They have been asking God to identify any source of the problem, God has been showing them areas where confession or repentance or change is needed. They have implemented that and God's presence was restored: sin no longer separated them from God. I am then able to confidently intercede for such people.
I can say that the same method will work when someone calls you and wants you to pray for them by phone. Just lift your hands over the phone, and you will see whether God's presence will fall upon you. It will also work with a computer screen as you lift your hands over what you write or what someone else writes on the screen. The Holy Spirit will let you know just what is really going on. Words and appearances can be deceiving.
There are those who have come before me, and I will estimate it at 5%, who have had some blockage and God's presence will not come down upon me when I lift my hands over them. Sometimes, I will double test it. I turn away from them, lift my hands, discern His presence, and then turn back to face them, lift my hands over them, and His presence departs. For those, I then direct them to pick someone (a man can select me, a woman could select my wife) or they could choose someone else in the room to confess their sins to. I do not allow a woman to confess to a man or a man to confess to a woman: there is too much opportunity for stumbling someone...unless they are married to one another.
Every single time I have done this, His presence has been restored and then I was free to confidently pray for them by laying my hands upon them.
The only times I have ever refused to pray for someone occurred before I even lifted my hands over them: I quickly discerned they were in witchcraft, Satanism or both, confronted them about it and in every case I have experienced, they refused to repent of their witchcraft and left the prayer room quickly as they had been attempting to make a mockery of the prayer ministry of the servants of God and their ruse had been exposed by the Holy Spirit. I believe that these kind of mockers need to be directly confronted. Some leaders have disagreed with me over the years, saying that I am too hard. In effect, I chase those people out of the church, and the Senior pastors did not like that. I believe that we need to let them know that God sees what they are doing and that He reveals it to His servants. They have come before me, thinking they would be able to hide what they were doing from me. They have found out that I do not work alone: God is with me. Without Him, I could do nothing.
Stephen L. Bening
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