When I read Scripture, one thing I look for is repetition. This morning, I saw a set of repetitions when Aaron and his sons were being prepared to serve as priests in the Tabernacle. The preparation for their service described how these men should dress and serve. Then I saw the words, “Place the turban on his head” (Exodus 29:6). The use of the word “head” was repeated another five times to describe what was done to prepare the priests and the bulls they would offer as sacrifices.
I researched the meaning of the word “head.” It means to literally or figurately shake something. It wasn’t just a passive word; it was a demonstration of what happened to the priests and the bulls they were preparing for sacrifice. It was more than just a ceremony. It had a significant and at times, a physical impact.
So much of what we do as New Covenant believers can too easily slip into a lifeless form. Our acts of communion, baptism, and the laying on of hands can lose a sense of expectation. We prepare people to receive the gift of these events without expecting a literal shaking, both in their minds or as a result of the event itself.
I recall the prayers in Acts 6 over Stephen and others to anoint them to serve in the feeding of the widows. Though the text does not say they laid hands on the heads of these men, I know from personal experience in similar settings, that a hand or two were placed on their heads. In the prayer over Stephen, something shook out in his life. He would become a man of miracles. “Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people” (Acts 6:8).
The next time you are asked to join a prayer of anointing and commissioning over a person, believe that God has something planned for them other than the ceremonial part of the process. God is releasing into that person something for which they had not been prepared before the prayer was offered. Bringing that expectation to the event will change how we pray and what we can expect from a life now set apart for God.