The phone rang and my daughter’s voice was frantic at the other end. She told me my 3 year old granddaughter had found the cough medicine in the cabinet and consumed what was in the bottle and she was acting strangely. My daughter said PRAY!! I immediately began praying in tongues because we needed answers from God. My daughter was going to call poison control but wanted God’s intervention quickly.
An amazing peace came over me as I was praying and I knew she would be alright even though I did not understand one word I was praying. I continued praying and within 30 minutes my daughter called back. She said as soon as she hung up the phone the Lord gave her a vision of the cough medicine bottle the last time she used it. The amount left in it was not enough to harm my granddaughter according to poison control. Peace flooded both of us again. The Lord’s wisdom and her conversation with poison control prevented her from having to take my granddaughter to the hospital to have her stomach pumped. God’s intervention spared my granddaughter from a traumatic hospital experience that would have been terrifying to her, as well as the time and expense of unnecessary emergency treatment.
There are times we have no idea how to pray. It never crossed my mind that the Lord would give my daughter a picture of the medicine bottle the last time she used it to bring assurance and peace that our granddaughter would be alright. The Apostle Paul explained that the Holy Spirit searches the mind and the heart of man and knows our inner-thoughts and motives. The Holy Spirit knew exactly what we needed at the moment and provided the answers to prayers we did not know how to pray. He interceded through me exactly what was necessary at that time.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like on that first day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit fell upon all 120 believers in the Upper Room. To hear the roar of the mighty rushing wind and see the tongues of fire upon every person’s head and then hear them all speaking in their own heavenly language must have been amazing. They were so caught up in the presence of the Lord they appeared to be drunk but it was only 9 a.m. There were men and women there in the streets of Jerusalem from many different nations and the Bible says they heard what the believers were saying in their own language although they knew the believers were all Galileans. See Acts 2:4-13. They came out on the streets and Peter began to preach. The one who denied association with the Lord only 50 days prior preached a bold message to the same Jews that cried out for Jesus to be crucified. What he said was astounding.
“But this is [the beginning of] what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ says God, ‘That I shall pour out My Spirit upon all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy and your young men shall see [divinely prompted] visions, and your old men shall dream [divinely prompted] dreams…And I will bring about wonders in the sky above and signs (attesting miracles) on the earth below, blood and fire and smoking vapor. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes. And it shall be that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” Acts 2:16-21. See the rest of the sermon in Acts 2.
There is much misunderstanding about the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. The devil has attacked that one area of teaching more than any other because he knows how powerful and effective we can be if we have full knowledge and function of the Holy Spirit’s help in our lives. Too often, believers neglect the opportunity and the practice of the Holy Spirit’s intervention on a daily basis. Others flaunt the “gift” of the Holy Spirit as if they are more spiritual than their brothers and sisters in the Lord. His presence in our lives is for all believers, not a select few, and we have done nothing to earn it nor does it qualify us as better than anyone else. It is a free gift to all who believe and a necessity to those who understand and take advantage of such a great gift from God. Paul encouraged the church to “desire” the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He expounded upon the gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 but put the Love chapter 13 in the middle to insure believers would use their gifts with the motivation of unconditional love.
1 Corinthians 14:1-2 states, “Pursue [this] love [with eagerness make it your goal], yet earnestly desire and cultivate the spiritual gifts [to be used by believers for the benefit of the church], but especially that you may prophesy [to foretell the future, to speak a new message from God to the people]. For one who speaks in an unknown tongue does not speak to people but to God; for no one understands him or catches his meaning, but by the Spirit he speaks mysteries [secret truths, hidden things].” See also 1 Corinthians 12:29-31.
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the trinity and He is the One Jesus left to help us so that the church would grow in maturity in the faith and function as Jesus functioned on earth. It is imperative that we know Him and allow Him to teach us and work through us in order for us to attain the stature of Christ likeness. He told His disciples believers would do even greater works that He did. See John 14:12.
In this study we will learn who the Holy Spirit is and His function in and for believers. Jesus was preparing His disciples for His crucifixion and resurrection when He introduced them to the coming Holy Spirit. He was trying to comfort their concerns that He would not be with them much longer. Jesus explained to His disciples He would send the Holy Spirit to them after He ascended into heaven and the Holy Spirit would be with them teaching, guiding and directing their lives.
“But I tell you the truth it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor-Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you]. And when He comes, will convict the world about [the guilt of] sin [and the need for a Savior], and about righteousness and about judgment; about sin [and the true nature of it], because they do not believe in Me [and My message]; about righteousness [personal integrity and godly character], because I am going to My Father and you will no longer see me; about judgment [the certainty of it], because the ruler of this world (Satan) has been judged and condemned.” John 16:7-11.
Romans 8:26-27 “In the same way the Spirit [comes to us and] helps us in our weakness. We do not know what prayer to offer or how to offer it as we should, but the Spirit Himself [knows our need and at the right time] intercedes on our behalf with sighs and groanings too deep for words. And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit intercedes [before God] on behalf of God’s people in accordance with God’s will.”
The Apostle Paul was well-versed in the knowledge of the Holy Spirit. He knew the Holy Spirit although he was not one of the 12 original disciples of Jesus, nor was he present on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit first fell upon the 120 believers, as discussed earlier. Paul was converted by a sudden and radical encounter with the resurrected Jesus. Soon after his conversion Paul went to a remote area to learn and grow in the teaching of Jesus. It was the Holy Spirit Who prepared Paul for his ministry and taught him about Jesus and the Kingdom of God. He saw Jesus the Messiah woven throughout the entire Old Testament. The Apostles examined Paul’s doctrine of the kingdom and released him to begin his ministry of building the church. The majority of our Christian instruction has come from the Apostle Paul who wrote Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1-2 Thessalonians, 1-2 Timothy and Titus.
Paul continued teaching about the gift of tongues in 1 Corinthians 14. He asked the question, “Then what am I to do? I will pray with the spirit; I will sing with the spirit [by the Holy Spirit that is within me] and I will sing with the mind [using words I understand]; I will sing with the spirit [by the Holy Spirit that is within me] and I will pray with the mind [using words I understand]. Otherwise if you bless [and give thanks to God] in the spirit only, how will any outsider or someone who is not gifted [in spiritual matters] say the “Amen” [of agreement] to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying?… I thank God that I speak in [unknown] tongues more than all of you.” 1 Corinthians 14:15. I encourage everyone to read more of Paul’s writings about the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues.
There have been times when I was oppressed by a demonic spirit but had no idea the specific cause which gave it permission to operate against me. Praying in the Holy Spirit enabled me to break the spirit of confusion which always functions around attacks of the enemy. I was then able to hear from the Lord what spirit to bind and how to break its power in the name of Jesus.
There are times when I was fearful and needed direction. Praying in the Holy Spirit built up my courage and also gave me the information needed to get breakthrough. Paul taught that our warfare is spiritual and therefore we need spiritual tools to acquire and maintain victory. Praying solely in our natural mind can be effective, but there are so many times we do not know how to pray as I mentioned above. When I pray in the Holy Spirit, I am much more effective in a shorter amount of time. I can’t take credit for the answers or breakthrough because it wasn’t me praying, it was Him.
There is so much more the baptism of the Holy Spirit enriches in us. Having His daily presence with us is like walking beside Jesus as the disciples experienced! In this study we will see He is not only our Intercessor, He is our Counselor, Advocate, Comforter, Strengthener, and Standby. He is the Spirit of Truth and He will teach us all things pertaining to Jesus as well as helping us mature in the faith becoming true disciples who change the world.
The Holy Spirit is truly a gift from the Lord and we cannot function without His help. The baptism of the Holy Spirit enables us to be immersed in Him in His fullness. When we submit to His direction, he begins preparing, equipping and guiding us as we walk out our faith in Christ Jesus together. Jesus Himself said it is better that He go so that He could leave us with the Holy Spirit. He is our vital component to our faith and He is just as important and beloved as our Heavenly Father and Jesus our Savior!
True and powerful intercession comes through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The best news is He is available to all who believe.