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by Al Carden

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Feb. 5, 2016

It was my college senior year. I didn't have a job at the time and excitement was building about the next chapter life would begin writing concerning future decisions. It was early on a Sunday morning while living in one of the dormitories on campus. I was invited to lead the music for a church revival service. For a college student with no employment I was looking forward to a payday but I didn't know the extent this payday was going to play in my life.

I was reading a book regarding prayer. I recall a particular chapter that dealt with the idea that within Psalm 100 was a protocol for entering the very throne room of God. The author related the notion that before one would enter the place where the King sat they must first enter his gates and then pass through his courts. The psalm reads, "... enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise." I recall entertaining the wonder of what it would be like to actually make my way to where God was enthroned using the suggested protocol I discovered. So, I said to myself, "I'm going to try this."

I knew that later that morning I would be participating in a church worship service. My college roommate indicated that he was going down the hall to shower. Just after he left I got down on my knees beside my bed and began offering a prayer to God using the protocol of thanksgiving and then praise. I had no idea what was suppose to happen. What did happen however continues to be the absolute apex of spiritual thought, experience and encounter that to this day defies verbal expression to describe. I began to notice a warm sensation in my stomach. It was noticeable but not very intense and then all of a sudden this sensation radiated throughout my entire being. With tears running down my face all I wanted or cared to do was to praise Jesus Christ. Even the words I use to describe this experience represents only a shadow. I remember thinking that I hope my roommate stays away a little longer so this experience will continue.

Soon the experience subsided but the spiritual reality continues to be for me the most loving embrace I have ever known. A lot of time has passed since then with a lot of opportunity for meditation and reflection. It occurs to me the description Jesus gave the woman at the well recorded in St. John chapter four is exactly my encounter. It says, "if you knew who it was asking for a drink of water you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." "Whoever takes a drink of the water I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up within him unto ageless life." I am of the belief now that what some have called an infilling of the Spirit was really an outpouring because He was in me all along!