Holy Spirit Manifestations

The Question:

When I am in deep prayer sometimes I will get a shaking over my whole body and what feels like pressure, very heavy pressure on me. I often pray through this feeling until it lifts but really would like to know more about it. Also, I often will feel this heaviness while praying for someone else. I will feel sensations come upon me such as illness, a pain, confusion and darkness and I pray till it leaves me—or comes off them. I’m seeking God on answers to all this. Can you help?

- D. from Unknown Location


The Answer
Part 1: Unusual manifestations

Unusual manifestations (Part 1)

Shaking as described in scripture is both an awesome and fearful thing. It was awesome that after the disciples “had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31) I would’ve loved to see it.

Another type of shaking I hope I don’t live to see. There is a time still coming (often called the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord) that God spoke of through Isaiah the prophet. “Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken from its place.” (Isaiah 13:13) I’d rather skip that! But in both these cases, God is in the shaking.

God often uses shaking to change things, either in the natural or in the spiritual realm. Shaking can indicate his presence and his power at work. It is therefore not totally uncommon for deep prayer to be accompanied by shaking or sometimes just a sense of internal trembling. Likewise, people often feel a pressure (sometimes in only one portion of their body) and sometimes a sensation of heat.

Think of this: when God shows up there is usually some sort of physical reaction. Note what happened to Daniel when the angel Gabriel appeared to him. He described his reaction, “…yet no strength was left in me, for my natural color turned to a deathly pallor and I retained no strength.” Then, afterward, “a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.” (Daniel 10:9-10) I’m glad Daniel took the trouble to describe what happened to him, it’s helpful to us!

I don’t know why some people experience these types of manifestations of the Holy Spirit and why others don’t. I don’t know what is going on in the spiritual realm that triggers it. I don’t know why or how God uses it in prayer. I have come to see over time that God does not always explain to us all his spiritual laws though I believe some spiritual law is at work. Experience is our best teacher. Many people eventually have a sense of what is happening and what to do when these things occur.

In your case, I think you are doing the right thing. Keep praying, especially until there is a lifting. Don’t be distracted by any physical reactions you have but keep your eyes on God. Learn from the things you observe surrounding these events. Along those lines, it may be helpful to get feedback from people you pray for when you have a shaking or pressure etc. Ask them afterward what they felt. Were they healed? Did something change for them?

As times goes along and you understand this better and better yourself, be sure to let the rest of us know! God bless your ministry.

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