On Sabbath we began a new study on the baptism of the Holy Spirit, inspired by my reading in Testimonies, Vol. 8, and a little book by Helmut Haubeil entitled Steps to Personal Revival. In light of the natural and spiritual storms ravaging our world, nothing could be more important than this topic in terms of preparing us to live for Jesus and obtain His character in the end times.
We start with the disciples. Before they would live with Jesus in heaven, Jesus would come to live in them on earth. (See John 14:16-18.) Jesus would do this through the “Advocate”—the Holy Spirit. The Spirit would also be the means by which they would continue to experience Jesus, but even more intimately than when He was physically with them.
So important was this gift that Jesus said, “Don’t leave Jerusalem without it” (Acts 1:4). The disciples went back to the upper room in Jerusalem and waited. They waited in prayer (Acts 1:14), proving that the gift of the Spirit is tied to prayer. If we’re going to continue experiencing Jesus in greater depth, truth, and intimacy, we must receive the gift of the Holy Spirit through prayer.
So how did they pray? How do we pray for the Holy Spirit? Rewind to Luke 11. Jesus’ lesson on prayer in the first 13 verses has three parts: 1) The Lord’s Prayer; 2) the parable of the friend coming at midnight; 3) and how to pray for the Holy Spirit.
At the heart of the Lord’s Prayer, is the petition for “our daily bread” (vs. 3). Jesus illustrates this petition with the parable of the friend who comes at midnight seeking bread for his late-arriving guest (verses 5-9).
The emergency is that the man has “nothing” to set before his guest. The first lesson about the baptism of the Holy Spirit is, to receive Something from Heaven, you must admit you have nothing.
Second, human ingenuity is not sufficient to meet the need of people who are spiritually starving. God’s grace alone is sufficient. “Learning, talent, eloquence, every natural endowment, may be possessed; but, without the presence of the Spirit of God, no heart will be touched, no sinner won to Christ.” (8T, 21)
At first the man encounters resistance, but he won’t be denied. “I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s [anaideia] he will get up and give him as much as he needs” (verse 8).
The word “Anaideia” [On-i-deah] is translated “boldness” in the NIV or “shameless audacity” in the TNIV. This isn’t a one-time knocking. This is continual. It’s the attitude of Jacob: “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
The man continues to ask until he receives the bread. Now he has something to replace his nothing that he can share with his guest. And now Jesus links the parable with the request for the Spirit by the transitional verse 9: “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given you.” He drives home the meaning of His prayer lesson by using verbs in the present imperative form. The Amplified version captures this meaning:
“So I say to you, ask and keep on asking, and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking, and you will find; knock and keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who keeps on asking [persistently], receives; and he who keeps on seeking [persistently], finds; and to him who keeps on knocking [persistently], the door will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you, then, being evil[that is, sinful by nature], know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!” Luke 11:9-13.
You want the Holy Spirit? Jesus emphatically teaches us how to receive Him. The Something for our nothing that means everything is obtained through persistent, constant asking.
Why do we need to keep on asking? It’s about maintaining a fresh experience with God daily. Like the manna in the wilderness, and the daily bread Jesus said to pray for, our relationship with God must be kept fresh. Jesus Himself is our example: “Morning by morning he [Jesus] communicated with His Father in heaven, receiving from him daily a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit.” (Signs of the Times, Nov. 21, 1895) If Jesus daily needed a refreshing from the Holy Ghost, then how much more important is it for you and me?
One more bonus to the constant petitioning: “Our prayers are to be as earnest and persistent as was the petition of the needy friend who asked for the loaves at midnight. The more earnestly and steadfastly we ask, the closer will be our spiritual union with Christ.” (COL, 146) Our persistent and continual asking for the Something for our nothing brings us ever closer to Jesus who is our everything.
Rewind to 1 John 5:14, 15 for the confidence we have when we pray according to God’s will. And there’s no question that our reception of the Holy Spirit is His will.
But aren’t there conditions to receiving the baptism? Yes. The main one is the daily asking. The others are embodied in the first part of this teaching—in the Lord’s prayer itself. Live the Lord’s prayer and you will fulfill every requirement for receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Do you need something from heaven today? I know I do. There’s nothing we need more today than the Holy Spirit. And if we ever needed the Lord before, we sure do need Him now. Therefore, Ask and you shall receive! —Pastor Randy
p.s. You may download the book, Steps to Personal Revival for free at www.discipleshipcourse.org. Get it today and read it in preparation for our Fall Fire prayer vigil starting this Wednesday at 7pm.