Walking in the Power of the Spirit

In this last post in our Pentecost series we will be talking about walking in the power of the Spirit. To talk about walking with the Spirit we need to first look at what Jesus said about the Spirit.

John 14:16 KJV “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you forever.

John 16:12-13 KJV “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he shall show you things to come.”

Understanding the Scriptures

When Jesus talked to His disciples about the Holy Spirit, He never mentioned a supernatural prayer language, although that is important and is addressed in the New Testament, Jesus focused His attention on the Holy Spirit as our teacher.

It is little benefit to have a prayer language without understanding the Scripture. We wage our warfare, we pray, we receive, everything about our lives is based from our understanding of the Word of God. When we begin to read and study the most important thing we can do is invite our teacher the Holy Spirit to come instruct us.

1 John 2:20 and 27 HCSB “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 27 The anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. Instead, His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie; just as it has taught you, remain in Him.”

We can always count on the Holy Spirit to lead us on the right path, show us and correct error, and lead us away from false teachers. In order to walk in power and be witnesses we must first have a strong foundation in God’s Word and that is the first priority of the Holy Spirit in our lives, to teach us the truth of God’s Word.

Power to be a Witness   

Acts 1:8 KJV “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

If the disciples were known as the people who turned the world upside down, how much more could we with cars, planes, television, podcasts, social media and so many more avenues to quickly spread the gospel change our world for the better! Part of being baptized in the Spirit is being empowered, receiving a supernatural boldness to tell the story of Jesus and the goodness of God. Scripture says that it’s the goodness of God that leads to repentance. When we allow ourselves to receive and walk in the boldness of the Holy Spirit we can see our world change for the better, one person at a time.

Praying in the Spirit

One thing that is commonly misunderstood is that the gift of tongues and praying in tongues is not the same thing. The gift of tongues is for the edification/encouragement of the body and requires an interpretation. Praying in tongues is personal and is between us and God.

When we pray in tongues the Spirit is praying through us. We have all been faced with or will be faced with a situation at some time that comes from nowhere and takes us completely by surprise to the point where we are at a loss for words when it comes to prayer. The Holy Spirit is there for us in those times. Romans 8:26-27 from the Wuest New Testament says, “And in like manner also the Spirit lends us a helping hand with reference to our weakness, for the particular thing that we should pray for according to what is necessary in the nature of the case, we do not know in an absolute knowledge; but the Spirit himself comes to our rescue by interceding with unutterable groanings. Moreover, He who is constantly searching our hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit because, according to God, He continually makes intercession on behalf of the saints.”   

Praying in the Spirit also builds up our faith. Jude verse twenty in the King James says, “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,” We can build up our faith by praying in the Spirit! There are many types of prayer in Scripture but only one is connected to building your faith and that is praying in the Spirit.

We end where we began, the Word of God. Romans 10:17 says faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God. If the Holy Spirits primary job is to teach us the Bible then it stands to reason that when we just begin to pray in the Spirit we are building ourselves up in the Word!

One Final Thought

A Rabbi was studying one day and found a connection between the Torah, Prophets and the Writings and fire danced around him. When he was challenged he responded, “I was only linking up the words of the Torah with one another and then the words of the Prophets, and the Prophets with the writings. And the words rejoiced as when they were delivered at Sinai, and they were as sweet as their original utterance. Were they not originally given in fire, in accordance with the text, ‘And the mountain was burning with fire?'”.

Could it be that the cloven tongues as of fire on the day of Pentecost is not the representation of the Spirit but of the Word. The wind was the Spirit and the fire was the Word. Could it be that when we allow Holy Spirit to teach us the Word will burn in our hearts and change our lives?

When we are filled with the Spirit we open ourselves up to deeper revelation, bigger boldness, and a more intimate prayer life. A Spirit filled life is a full life. If you have never been baptized in the Spirit ask the father to send Him. If you haven’t been refilled in a while ask to be refilled, the disciples were filled in Acts chapter two and refilled in chapter four, when we use power we need to be refilled. The ministry the Holy Spirit wants to have in and through our lives is powerful but we have to be open, we have to walk the path, hear the instruction, we have to ask. I encourage each of us to engage in conversation with our teacher daily and allow the prayer language of the Spirit to flow freely through us.  

Preparing to Receive Power

In the last two posts we have looked at the beginning of Pentecost and receiving and walking in new revelation from the Word. Today we will look at preparing and receiving the power of Pentecost, the infilling of the Holy Spirit.  

Acts 1:4-8 KJV “ And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

The disciples were told to wait until they receive power, the old-timers of Pentecost called this tarrying or praying through, we have lost that in today’s church. I’ve grown up Pentecostal/charismatic and I’ve heard stories about this but I don’t think I have actually ever seen it in a service. I have heard stories of great prayer meetings where people were overcome by travail (a deep prayer) and prayer meetings lasted for hours. I have heard and read many stories but I am not seeing this in our Pentecostal churches (and by the way, no, I don’t handle snakes).

The General Overseer of the Church of God, Dr. Tim Hill at the Ministerial Intern Commissioning Service last weekend said, “Pentecost – put up or shut up”. This may sound in your face but his point was right on. If we claim to have power, this deeper experience with Holy Spirit, we should have something to show for it.

I believe we have lost our passion and our patience.   

Our passion has been replaced with routine and rutted services. Our patience has been reduced to we want to be out by 1:00pm and wanting to see people hurry out of the altars and moving to the closing prayer. I’m not saying every service needs to be wild and crazy, there are times when God wants to come down in his peace and dwell with us as we sit quietly (with no tongues to try and break the uncomfortable silence). True Pentecost is both still and moving; loud and quiet, concert prayer and personal prayer.

When I look back at my Pentecostal heritage I see founders who loved and taught the Word of God, I see people passionate and long in prayer time, I see people who had a heart for worship and lived empowered by the Spirit. True Pentecost is all these things. When  we look at the Scriptures and our heritage we see both instantaneous receiving of power and those who had to seek for it more than one time. I don’t believe this is because God was holding back or because the persons didn’t have the faith. If we are truly hungry for the infilling of the Spirit, as the old-timers we will tarry, we will pray through.

Like the disciples who were filled in Acts chapter two, they were refilled two chapters later. Some of us who were filled ten or forty years ago need to receive a fresh baptism. Ask Holy Spirit to give you the hunger, the desire, the passion you once had. Let us not look to our heritage as the good ole days but let us see it as an example and say their ceiling is our floor, we will see more salvations, more baptisms, more infillings, more churches built, more missionaries sent. Pentecost is not a onetime historical event, it started with Moses, it culminated in the giving of the Spirit and now we have the privilege of celebrating both the Word and power of God.

This Pentecost, let each of us read and receive new revelation in the Word, receive the baptism or a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the Spirit is given freely to those who ask. Ask to be given the power to witness ask for your personal prayer language that builds your faith according to Jude twenty.

We are under the open window of heaven right now, today can be your receiving day, all you have to do is believe and take it – open your mouth and let a new language come out. Take the step and witness to someone, you have received boldness to witness! The Bible says we receive when we pray, now it is up to us to act on what we believe.

Resources on the baptism and ministry of the Holy Spirit can be found on the bookshelf.

Prayers That Produce Results

The last couple of weeks I have been praying/telling allergies to leave me and I have continued to deal with them. This morning the Holy Spirit said, the reason you are still dealing with these allergies is because you address them once a day and you are not in the Word concerning your healing. Needless to say, I paused after hearing this and the verse from James, the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much came to mind. I wondered what the words effectual and fervent really meant so I a grabbed my concordance to look them up.

The word effectual is Strong’s #154 and means to be active, efficient, to be mighty, and to show forth self. The word fervent is Strong’s #2205/2204 to be hot. It wasn’t heard to see that my believing for allergies to be gone was not falling into this category. I share this story because it is easy for our prayers to become routine and to actually lack any faith being behind the words we are speaking. To be active and efficient in prayer means not to give up, to constantly speak the Word over a situation. To show forth yourself is to continue believing and speaking no matter what things may look like.

Prayer is a spiritual weapon that many of us don’t use. many are familiar with the armor of God in Ephesians chapter six but many times we stop with the sword of the Spirit but Ephesians 6:18 KJV says, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” The heading in my Old Scofield says, “The warrior’s resource”. Prayer is a resource in our life. The Amplified Bible says praying with all types of prayers. There are different levels of prayer and different ways to pray. We shouldn’t pray the same way over our food as we wood someone believing for healing of an incurable disease. We don’t use the same Scriptures believing for finances as we do family. The verse also says praying in the Spirit. Many of us don’t use the gift of praying in tongues as we should.

So how do we keep from having a mundane prayer life? One thing I suggest is having a designated time of prayer that is separate from your morning prayer time which for most is during your ride to work and that is great. Along with that we need a time set aside for deeper and more concentrated prayer. I’m not saying you have to start off with an hour start with thirty minutes, which is split with fifteen minutes; five spent in worship, five spent in reading a couple verses and five praying. Pretty soon your fifteen minutes will become thirty, becomes forty-five, becomes an hour.

The reason I suggest worship and reading as part of our prayer time is because worship slows us down and gets our minds set on God. Reading a few verses refreshes our minds and puts us in a place of faith which lends to more faith filled praying.

I know I have caught myself even when I have put specific time aside when I pray that at times I will ramble and not know the direction I need to be going. It helps to focus our prayers by having Scriptures that pertain to that area so we can pray the Bible. James says we can pray amiss, when we are basing our prayers from the Scripture it guards against that as well as helps provide direction in our prayers.

I want to close out this post by talking about a form of prayer that is not utilized among many of us as believers. Jude 20 KJV “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost”.

Praying in tongues and speaking in tongues are two totally different things. Speaking in tongues requires an interpretation and is meant as edification and instruction for the church. Praying in tongues is personal, private and builds up our own faith. When we pray in the Spirit we are causing the Word in us to be built up and come alive.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation not knowing what to pray or how to pray? Romans 8:26-27 in the Amplified Classic has the answer, “So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer, nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings  too deep for utterance. 27 And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will.”

For us, prayer should never become mundane, boring or “routine”. Our prayer lives should always be fresh, praying in the Spirit helps keep a freshness to our prayer lives. As the Holy Spirit reminded me today, there has to be faith behind prayer. My prayer for healing of allergies was just words, I didn’t have my eyes on the Word, I wasn’t feeding on healing Scriptures. As Brother Jesse Duplantis says, “faith doesn’t store up, once you use it for a situation, you have to get back in the Word and get more.” Romans 10:17 says faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by God’s Word. In order to have a producing prayer life we must have faith and there is great faith, little faith and no faith. To have great faith we must be in the Word.

This all sounds so simple because God made it so, it’s just at times we forget the simplicity. Let’s be reminded of basing our prayer on the Word, being in the Word so the Word can come out of us and produce prayers that see answers.

 

Resources to develop your prayer life:

Prayers that Avail Much by Germaine Copeland

The Power of Your Words by E. W. Kenyon and Don Gossett

Benefits of Praying in Tongues

praying in tonguesFIRST THINGS FIRST:

 

Speaking in tongues and praying in tongues are two different things.

 

Many Pentecostals have mistakenly melded these two together.

 
The go-to Scripture passage for this subject is First Corinthians twelve through fourteen. The important thing to realize here is Paul is talking about tongues in a public worship service, he twice mentions praying in tongues.

 
The benefits of praying in tongues is discussed in other books. Many Pentecostals believe that on the day of Pentecost the disciples spoke in tongues. However, if we go back to Acts chapter one we find the one hundred and twenty meeting in an upper room.

 

They were first alone then went out in the streets. They were praying in tongues when they were filled and when they went into the streets is when the interpretation came through people hearing their own tongue.

 
Some will wonder how I can say that when it is not directly spelled out in Acts. Later in Corinthians Paul asks a rhetorical question, do all speak with tongues, no. This with other scriptures leads me to believe the emphasis on Spirit Baptism is not a public speaking in tongues but a private prayer language of tongues.

 

BENEFIT NUMBER ONE:

 
Romans 8:26-27 NIV “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

 
The first thing this verse explains to me is how/why our prayer language at times does not make sense,

 
… intercedes for us through wordless groans… NIV.

 

… intercedes for us with groanings to deep for words… NASB.

 
… maketh intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered. KJV.

 
… the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words… NLT.

 
I believe this verse explains to the Christian skeptics the validity of praying in tongues when our fleshly minds think it is not legitimate. This is why Paul uses the eighth chapter of Romans to explain the difference between fleshly thinking and spiritual thinking.

 
What I want to point out here though is, the Spirit prays God’s will for us or a situation. That being said I am not saying we can’t pray God’s will in English. Scripture is clear that God’s will can be known to us. (1 Cor. 2:10; Eph. 1:9, 18; 3:9-21; Col. 1:9-13, 26-27, and 1 Jn. 2:20).

 
The point here is when we yield to the Holy Spirit to pray through us He is bypassing our flesh which deals with doubt and unbelief and goes straight to God. This leads us to the second benefit of praying in tongues.

 

BENEFITS TWO AND THREE:

 
As I just said, when we pray in tongues the Holy Spirit bypasses our flesh that deals with doubt and unbelief and goes straight to God, this builds up our spirit man.

 
Jude 20 NIV “But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit.”

 
I like the way the Amplified Bible puts this verse, “But you Beloved, build yourselves up [founded] on your most holy faith [make progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], praying in the Holy Spirit.”

 
Let’s put some context to this verse as to why we need to be built up in our faith.

 
Jude 18-25 AMP “They told you beforehand, In the last days (in the end time) there will be scoffers [who seek to gratify their own unholy desires], following after their own ungodly passions. 19 It is these who are [agitators] setting up distinctions and causing divisions—merely sensual [creatures, carnal, worldly-minded people], devoid of the [Holy] Spirit and destitute of any higher spiritual life. 20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up [founded] on your most holy faith [make progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], praying in the Holy Spirit; 21 Guard and keep yourselves in the love of God; expect and patiently wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)—[which will bring you] unto life eternal. 22 And refute [so as to] convict some who dispute with you, and on some have mercy who waver and doubt. 23 [Strive to] save others, snatching [them] out of [the] fire; on others take pity [but] with fear, loathing even the garment spotted by the flesh and polluted by their sensuality. 24 Now to Him Who is able to keep you without stumbling or slipping or falling, and to present [you] unblemished (blameless and faultless) before the presence of His glory in triumphant joy and exultation [with unspeakable, ecstatic delight]— 25 To the one only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory (splendor), majesty, might and dominion, and power and authority, before all time and now and forever (unto all the ages of eternity). Amen (so be it).”

 
Praying in the Spirit (praying in tongues) not only builds us up but it keeps us from falling into false teaching. Now this is not to say there is not counterfeit tongues and some people who have prayed in tongues have not fallen into error. If you aren’t in the Word, I don’t care how much you pray in tongues you are extremely vulnerable to error at that point.

 
Praying in tongues coupled with daily communion with God helps our spiritual growth, it builds us up, it protects us, and it helps us contend for the faith.

 

CLEARING UP A MISUNDERSTANDING:

 
Some have taught that tongues is a secret language that the devil can’t understand so we need to pray in tongues so the devil can’t stop our prayers.

 

Whether or not the devil can understand tongues is immaterial. This kind of thinking promotes fear based praying. The bottom line belief here if it’s said or not is that the devil can stop our prayers prayed in English.

 
I don’t know about you but this does not give me much confidence in prayer, nor in God. I pray to God in English and I’m assured by God as long as I am in faith and praying in accordance with His will I have received my answer when I prayed.

 
Pray in English and in tongues, don’t be fearful of the devil hindering your prayers, he’ll always try but he won’t be successful.

 

A FINAL THOUGHT:

 
Praying in tongues isn’t magic, that’s why that last view falls flat. Praying in tongues is simply another way of communing with God, it is a way to build ourselves up and equip us to carry out our callings.

 

As Paul said, we can pray in the Spirit and in our native language, we can sing in the Spirit, and in our own language.

 
The thing we need to understand about tongues is this, Holy Spirit isn’t going to open our mouth and make us speak, we must yield to Him in this area just like all areas.

 
Don’t allow the enemy to steal this gift from you. Are their excesses? yes. Are there people with a false prayer language? Yes. But do not allow the counterfeit to scare you away from the real thing.

 
Having a prayer language comes with receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. If you’ve never received the Baptism, it is just as simple as getting saved. Just say something like, Jesus I ask and I receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Begin to thank Him and allow your prayer language to come forth.

 
The amount of syllables don’t matter. Your prayer language will develop just like you learned how to speak English. The more you use it the more your language will develop.

The Importance of Pentecost

imageThis week I have been preparing for the launch of a weekly meeting I will be teaching/facilitating at. As I have rehearsed what the Spirit has given to me I began to think about the lack of experiencing Pentecost in this generation.

When I say Pentecost I am not just referring to tongues, but all the gifts of the Spirit; healings, miracles, words of wisdom and knowledge, and the like.

Recent studies among Pentecostal groups and denominations have shown a decrease in Holy Spirit baptisms and teaching emphasis’ on the moving of the Holy Spirit.

As the Spirit began to impress upon me to go after the supernatural this year I was very excited. In my life I have wavered on these things because I’ve heard them taught all my life but seldom saw things demonstrated and the Word says, (my paraphrase) The Kingdom is not in your ability to teach correct doctrine but to display correct doctrine in power.

Part of me struggled when Holy Spirit began to speak to me about pursuing God in the supernatural, especially starting a weekly meeting specifically for pursuing God in that way. I wondered who would want to come, how would I explain the unexplainable?

The truth is there comes a time when you’re hungry and you don’t care if you can explain it or not. Why are we trying to explain it anyway? The natural man does not understand the things of the Spirit.

My home church started a series last night on the gifts of the Spirit, it has made me even more hungry to see the power of God! Many are afraid to experience the gifts because they don’t understand, yet those same people aren’t willing to dive in.

Listen this is not about a denomination, this is not about being classified as pentecostal or charismatic. It’s about experiencing the love of the Living God, and the power of the Word.

The Bible is not a story book, it is an experience available to us today! Oh God! Let us experience the outpouring of the Holy Spirit like the day of Pentecost, let us operate in every gift of the Spirit! Holy Spirit, send your wind, send your fire! Friend, if you’re not hungry ask God to make you hungry! Pentecost is not a story for the older generation, let us claim it for us!

Dr. T. L. Lowery said if you’ll preach it you’ll see it! Friend I’m going to teach healing and miracles and I’m going to preach it till I see it! I’m going to talk about the Holy Ghost till He shows up in power! Friend, pray the hunger in you and the fire down on you! Pray it into your church and your city!

My God we need Pentecost again and that’s what I’m contending for!

Will you contend for your life, your church, and your city?

Will you hunger and thirst till you are filled?

Friend, we are in the new season, we are in Pentecost, the only question is are you in the river?

Are you going to jump in or stay on the bank?