As a Christian, I have seen many charlatans, including having gone once to a Benny Hinn event where, sitting in the stands, I watched as they manipulated the seating to make it appear to cameras that the arena was full, and people pushed and shoved each other to be the first down the stars to the floor, where they could get in line to be touched by Benny - if Benny's guards, who were stopping and questioning each potential sick-person-in-need-of-healing, allowed you to. The air was thick with the power of a spirit in action; only I don't think it was the Holy one...
And yes, I have stood at the prayer altar and felt a pastor try to push me, with two fingers on my chest, back into the arms of someone standing behind me. I stood straight, and kept praying to Jesus that what ever His will was, that I would do. But I wasn't going to lay down for any man. The pastor seemed to get frustrated with me, and moved on.
However, there was once, at an average chapel service at a small church one evening, where services were sincere and open hearted, but somewhat uneventful, and where the sermon hadn't even begun yet, that something happened.
It was still in the middle of worship, and a guitarist had stopped playing. After a few moments, it became obvious that he was sobbing. And then...a few in the congregation began to cry. I don't know what happened, but within a matter of minutes, several people were sobbing in the congregation...and from there, some began kneeling in their tears, praying and sobbing....and others went to the side of a crying person, hugging or putting an arm around a shoulder, and began praying for them and with them...and then... I saw someone laying on the floor, and another person, and another, and by this time, almost everyone was praying for someone or crying. I looked across the heads of praying, crying people, and saw a friend across the room; we caught each other's eyes. We were the only two left standing.
My friend and I smiled at each other across the room, then turned, went to someone nearby crying, and knelt down and prayed.
This all happened in a matter of minutes, but the prayer went on like that for almost two hours. The Sermon didn't even take place. The pastor was sitting down on the steps of the altar, crying and praying too. Something like this had never happened before, and I have never experienced anything like it since.
I do believe it is the first and only time I have truly witnessed slaying in the Spirit.
No, it wasn't mass hysteria. I knew all these people. Some of them didn't even like each other. And although we went on to have many "good" worship services together, this event has not been repeated - because it wasn't a cooked up show and no one would want to try to cook up a mimic. It was too beautiful in it's simple spontaneity to mess with. Why would one want to ruin the memory of a night like that by trying to force it to happen again.
But I pray the Lord WILL allow me to experience an event like that again - and again and again - because the feeling of being present during an honest move of the Spirit is too tremendous to describe. I want more of that.