Rediscovering The Gift Of Faith • by PETER

 

FOR A YEAR LEADING UP to my first Men’s Weekend at Woldingham Park in July 2005, I had been praying almost every day for the coming of the Holy Spirit in my life. However, as time went by, I began more and more to dismiss my Christian faith. I found myself explaining more and more of it away, to "secularise" it I suppose. At the same time, I was praying with a Christian brother who is Pentecostal. I had been involved with renewal in the Church some 25 years ago, and had grown rather (though not totally) cold more through geographical location than through choice. I had discovered the gift of a tongue, as mentioned by St Paul in his letters, but I doubted its authenticity.

I had more or less rejected the idea that God answered prayers, but nevertheless I still prayed for the Holy Spirit. When nothing happened, I came to the conclusion that there was no one to hear my prayers. This was in June of 2005. I had booked to attend one of Harvesters’ Weekends Away For Men six months earlier in January.

I had to have a stiff drink in order to tell my wife that I had lost my faith. I said that I was about to give up the practice of my Christian faith as my participation was a sham. My problem was how would I tell those at the Catholic school where I worked, and would I pretend and go to church when my eldest daughter came home? I was inclined not to go to the Harvesters weekend, and to lose the money. My wife persuaded me to go, and prayed hard.

The Holy Spirit at work
I went to the first session on the Friday night, and had made up my mind that unless I was really moved I would go home on the Saturday morning and have a quiet weekend. I was moved. The Holy Spirit was at work from the first moment of the evening praise – maybe even earlier, while I was eating and chatting with my Christian brothers.

 
Prison gate unlocked
Set free in Reconciliation
It was a very spiritual and inspiring weekend. I was able to engage in the Sacrament of Reconciliation thanks to the grace of God and the availability of Fr Chris. I felt able to confront darkness in my soul in a new way because of his testimony and how he exposed his own vulnerabilities.

Because of the Harvesters weekend, I went to the New Dawn conference in Walsingham. I was prayed over while there at the conclusion of the Life in the Spirit seminars, and felt a little more confident in my gift of a tongue.

As a result of New Dawn, I went to Walkin’ in Hope in Northumberland. At the healing service, I was prayed over by Myles Dempsey. Even before he approached, I was praying in tongues and knew this to be a gift from the Lord. Following the laying on of hands and anointing, I rested in the Spirit. I had never thought this would happen to me, even though it did to others around. I felt complete love and acceptance from the Lord.

Bringing in the harvest
I praise God for His goodness! I have since been privileged to see the Lord’s work in lifting the depression from someone over whom God called me to pray. I am exploring the possibility of introducing Youth CaFÉ in the school where I work. I hope that others may rejoice in God’s goodness through Harvesters’ weekends and their additional work. I am already planning to bring two other Catholic men next year.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for everything!