The Redemptive Power of Touch
By Rachel Davis
Once a month, there is a local church here in Atlanta that holds a prayer and worship night. It is one of my favorite events that I always attempt to go to if I am able. I find that each month when this night arrives, my soul is craving the quietness that this night offers. They move chairs out to create more space and light candles, and the worship team plays softly. The goal of this night is to create an atmosphere of worship where people can come, reflect, and worship in their own way.
As I walk in, I feel an instant peace and serenity as the busyness of my day and thoughts begins to wash off of me. I settle in my chair with my Bible and journal and welcome in the peace. I feel the presence of God in this place.
This last Wednesday, the pastor welcomed us and explained the prayer component to the evening. They have trusted individuals on their prayer team who go around to each person and gently lay hands on their shoulders and quietly pray for them. They never speak directly to the individuals or pray out loud, but offer up quiet prayers on their behalf. The pastor explained why they lay hands on everyone: he said they believe in the redemptive power of touch.
We continued through the evening and as I was praying and journaling, I felt the hands on my shoulders. I felt peace and rest in them. I closed my eyes and breathed in the moment and my thankfulness for the ways I believe the Lord chooses to meet with us. I do not know what she prayed over me, but I felt the nearness of God in that moment of her prayers and her touch.
I have been going to this service for a long time and have never heard them describe the laying on of hands in that way: the redemptive power of touch. Something about that description resonated with me. I believe it is partially because redemption is one of the characteristics of God that I have known most deeply in my life; I have seen Him redeem parts of my soul that felt irrevocably broken. And the touch of another: I believe wholeheartedly that as Christ followers we were never intended to walk this journey alone. We need others. We need to laugh, cry, share our hearts, and grow with one another. We need the gentle touch of another to offer us grace, peace, and strength. There is power in that redemptive touch.
Rachel Davis is the Senior Project Analyst at Wellspring International.