Is regular interaction with the Holy Spirit a part of your everyday experience? Are you relying upon the Helper to provide the power and direction needed to serve the LORD more effectively? Do you want to deepen your relationship with the One whom Jesus told us would be our Guide, our Helper, and our Comforter?
These are the kind of probing questions I have been asking myself lately. In these significant days, I have sensed the LORD pressing me toward a stronger dependence upon His Spirit for the guidance and resolve I need.
I hope this letter can encourage us to step beyond a life marked only by natural power and determination to one where we are more consistently relying upon the Spirit.
Jesus and the Holy Spirit
Recently, I gained a new insight from a favorite passage of the Bible: Luke 4. It talks of three distinct experiences of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus, ones which you and I can experience as well. The first two are included in verse 1: “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan [where He had just been baptized by his cousin, John] and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness,” Luke 4:1, NASB. Experience number one and two: full of the Spirit and led by the Spirit.
After His temptation in the wilderness for forty days, we read this comment in verse 14: “And Jesus returned to the Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district.” Experience number three: empowered by the Spirit.
Looking at the life of Jesus, our supreme example, we see the prospect of being full of the Spirit, being led by the Spirit, and being empowered by the Spirit. Could that be possible for us? What would life be like if we would consistently walk in those same experiences?
Walking in the Spirit
In my early days of walking in the Spirit, I made many mistakes. In fact, I had moments of deep discouragement, feeling like I might never learn how to relate to the Holy Spirit. Fortunately, two men who were seasoned in the ways of the Spirit became my mentors and role models early on: my father-in-law, Don Basham, and Derek Prince. More than anyone I had ever known, these two men modeled a life of relying upon the Spirit of God.
One insight they both emphasized and exemplified was very helpful to me — that the Holy Spirit’s work in my life would most times be practical. Our relationship with the Spirit does not necessarily consist of weird, wacky, metaphysical experiences. More often than not, He leads us and empowers us in a very normal way.
For example, I remember driving back one night with my father-in-law from a powerful charismatic meeting. During the meeting, a woman had brought forth a strong prophetic word. Much of it was a solid application of Scripture to present day issues. Suddenly, however, her prophetic utterance had veered off into a hyper-spiritual diatribe regarding worldliness, with pointed warnings against paying any attention to the nightly news.
“Don,” I asked as we drove home, “What happened there? It seemed like that woman’s prophetic word was on target — and then it wasn’t. How would you explain that?”
Don’s retort was a piece of practical advice that has stayed with me for many years. “Well, Richard, here’s what happened. The Holy Spirit quit speaking — but she kept going.”
His words were a double lesson to me: the power of a terse, humorous answer to a complicated question, and the down-to-earth practicality of listening to the Spirit.
Knowing the Holy Spirit
Over the years of my relationship with Derek Prince, I witnessed this same kind of practical regard for the Holy Spirit. In the section that follows, I have included some of Derek’s insights, taken from a radio series called, “How to Be Led by the Holy Spirit.”
I want to tell you some things that the Holy Spirit is not. He is not an impersonal influence. He is not a theological abstraction. He is not a system. He is not a set of rules. He is not an ecclesiastical hierarchy. He is not half a sentence near the end of the Apostle’s Creed. He is a person.I have sometimes summed up my view of church history in this way: nineteen centuries of trying to find a system so safe we wouldn’t have to rely on the Holy Spirit. But I want to tell you there is no such system. No system, no theology, no theory, no hierarchy, no human ministry can take the place of the Holy Spirit. He is indispensable. Therefore, we must cultivate a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit.
What is the primary requirement for such a relationship? I would say it is the same as the primary requirement for all successful relationships, whether it is between parents and children, husbands and wives, or between friends. The key word I would focus on would be the word sensitivity. I believe that is the most essential feature in cultivating a relationship with the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit, believe me, is very sensitive to us. But the relationship will not work unless we learn to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Normally speaking, the Holy Spirit does not act like a drill sergeant. He doesn’t shout orders at us. He is very gentle. He is almost timid in a way.
We read in the Old Testament about the prophet Elijah. The wind, an earthquake and a fire passed before him . But the Scripture says the LORD was not in the wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire. In all those great demonstrations of visible power, the LORD’s presence was not found.
Then it says there came a still, small voice. One of the modern versions says a kind of a whisper. And the LORD was in the whisper. That is like the Holy Spirit — if you’re going to hear His whisper, if you’re going to feel His nudge. He’s not going to push you. He’s just going to nudge you gently or tap you on the arm — directing your attention to something. The key is sensitivity.
Ways to Respond
How should we respond to the practical insights Derek provided in this excerpt? How do we mirror Jesus’ relationship with the Holy Spirit? Honestly, I don’t think we should make it overly complicated. The three areas we have explored are pretty clear.
In terms of being full of the Holy Spirit, we have a part to play. If we haven’t yet been filled with the Spirit, we can simply ask for this wonderful experience. And if we have already received the Spirit, we can take intentional steps to stay filled. (Don Basham often used this anecdote: “Someone once asked the great Dwight L. Moody why he testified to having received many ‘infillings’ of the Holy Spirit. Moody’s classic reply was, ‘I leak.’ And so do we all!”)
For my part, I’m trying to pray in the Spirit more. I have promised the LORD that in my twenty-minute drive to the office, I will primarily pray in tongues during that time, trusting what 1 Corinthians 14:4 says: that the person who prays in a tongue “edifies himself” (NASB); “is strengthened personally” (NLT); “builds himself up” (NET).
In a similar way, I’m taking intentional steps to be led by the Spirit, asking more often for specific direction from Him. Also, I am actively seeking to reach out in ministry, not in my own strength, but in the power of the Spirit. A key Scripture for encouragement in that regard is Zechariah 4:6: “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit.”
Ours for the Asking
Is your heart telling you right now that you are ready for a fuller experience of the leading and power of the Holy Spirit? Or maybe a refresher course in relying upon the Spirit? If so, why don’t we simply tell the LORD together that this is our desire?
Thank You for Your promise to all of us who are Your disciples, that You would ask the Father, and He will give us another Helper, that He may be with us forever. I am asking now for this promise to be fulfilled in my life.
As I pray now, I receive the promised Helper, the One who will continually fill me, lead me, and empower me in everything I do and say for You. Amen.
Renewal in the Spirit
You may have voiced a prayer like this one many times before in your life. However, I believe something new and fresh has transpired by what we have just prayed together. My hope is that you and I will experience a renewed outpouring of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives from this day forward.
I trust you will allow all of us here at Derek Prince Ministries to support you fully in the step you have just taken. We have materials by Derek Prince which can be of tremendous help to you, along with the personal encouragement we would be glad to supply. Please feel free to contact us on a regular basis.
We consider it a tremendous privilege to stand with you in every way. Maybe the beginning step would be for us to offer you a free MP3 of the message from which Derek’s teaching was excerpted, the first week of his radio series entitled, “How to Be Led by the Holy Spirit.” Just use the download link below.
We also want to express our thanks for your involvement with us. Knowing that you are standing with us in prayer and financial contributions to the ministry is a huge encouragement to us. Thank you for linking arms with us in these significant days.
There is another wonderful aspect of our experience of the Holy Spirit which comes as we walk together into the times ahead.
Certainly, Scripture gives ample exhortations to us about being filled, led, and empowered by the Spirit. But the Word also speaks in Ephesians 4:3 about “…endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” The Apostle Paul encourages this response as a way for us to walk in a manner that is worthy of our calling in Jesus Christ. We’re in this together — and what a privilege it is to walk with you in these days!
Truly, we are called to serve the LORD together during some very challenging but significant times. There is only one way for us to accomplish all the LORD intends for us. It will only happen in our lives by relying upon the Spirit.
All the best,
P.S. Once again, we send you our love and thanks for your partnership with us. We deeply appreciate your prayers and your gifts. Please don’t forget to download week one of “How to Be Led by the Holy Spirit.” We know it will encourage you.
Materials used by kind permission of Derek Prince Ministries.