From the day I realized that nothing is more important in a Christian’s life than the Holy Spirit, I began seeking Him above everything. Oh, how I desired Him! Every time I’d close my eyes to genuinely seek Him, I would be flooded with very strong feelings. I’d feel joy, excitement, peace and many inexplicable things. The Presence of God was new to me and It ignited all these wonderful feelings I had never felt before. But, as much as these feelings were wonderful and thrilling, now looking back, I believe they delayed my baptism with the Holy Spirit. I kept expecting to feel more, because I thought if experiencing the Presence of God felt that good, then the baptism with the Holy Spirit should feel super good. So, I’d close my eyes to pray and wait for that ‘out of this world’ feeling to wash over me, but it wouldn’t come.
During one Night of the Holy Spirit we were given the opportunity to seek Him. I remember the Pastor giving us the freedom to find a spot in the church, a spot where it was going to be just us and God. I found my corner, my Holy Ground, and began seeking the Presence of God, expecting those good feelings to wash over me again. But, they wouldn’t come. I made the same worship prayer I always made, ‘I love you, Lord. You are everything to me. King of kings, I exalt Your Holy Name.’ And, I felt nothing, nada, zilch!
Out of frustration, I took off the mask of prayer. I stopped praying and started having a sincere conversation with God. This conversation changed my whole life. I wasn’t repeating words I’d heard the Pastor pray on the altar. I was pouring out my soul to God, expressing my genuine need of receiving Him, no feelings involved, just my faith. This happened 17 years ago, so of course I can’t remember the exact words, but the gist of what I said was, ‘I need your Spirit, Lord. I can’t do this on my own, you know. I’ve tried my best to walk with You, pleasing You and being faithful, but You’ve seen how I struggle and I’m tired of struggling. You said you’d help me, so where’s the help? Where is the Spirit you promised me? Aowa, I’m doing my part, You need to do Yours. I depend on You. If you don’t baptise me with Your Spirit and I leave your Presence tomorrow, don’t blame me! Remember that I asked and you did nothing.’ This wasn’t a typical prayer. This was me talking face to face with God. And so the sincere conversation went on.
Somewhere during that conversation, I began worshipping Him in truth, praising Him, telling Him what He meant to me. ‘I’ve never met anyone as holy as You, Lord, You’re so pure, so blameless. I really admire You. Oh, how I desire to be like You. You are my Idol.’ While I adored, I still felt nothing, other than the sincerity of my words. These were my very own words, complete with my own peculiar expressions of a seventeen year old, nothing religious, no repetition of what I’d heard before, just a mirror of what I had inside. I praised Him for a long time, giving Him everything I had inside of me. Of course by then, I was filled with joy and peace. At the end of the prayer, when the Pastor told us to open our eyes, I received my baptism with the Holy Spirit – the assurance! The Spirit testified with my spirit that I had been sealed. I will never forget that moment. For the first time I heard the Spirit of God speak from within me. His voice was so pure, so distinct and so assuring! He was no longer speaking from outside of me. He was now living inside of me. Oh, what a day!!!
You who are seeking the Holy Spirit during these 21 days of Daniel’s Fast for the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit on April the 17th need to know this. Don’t worry about an outpouring of feelings, worry about expressing your sincere need for Him, telling Him why you need Him, why He’s important to you, what He means to You. Don’t place so much importance on what you feel at that moment. It’s kind of like expressing your feelings for a loved one. If you use famous lines you’ve heard in movies, while you might mean them and they might appreciate them, it is not the same thing as expressing what’s inside of you. When you begin pouring your heart out to someone, they can’t help but stop all they are doing to pay attention to you. And naturally, they want to reciprocate. The same goes for the Holy Spirit, many will be praying that day, but those who are sincere with Him will grab His attention faster and He will reward them with His Spirit.
Next time we’ll talk about the assurance the Holy Spirit brings, otherwise this will be too long and you might end up missing key things.