One of the things I’ve been doing this summer is taking some time to reevaluate my spiritual disciples. I’m taking stock and asking, “What is going well and in what areas do I need to make improvements?” I think it’s a good thing for all of us to do from time to time—kind of a spiritual checkup for the soul. As I’ve been evaluating my spiritual disciplines one area the Holy Spirit has been urging me to focus on is the daily use of my prayer language—speaking in tongues. Even though I’ve been baptized in the Holy Spirit since I was seven years old and have prayed in tongues throughout my life, this summer I realized that I’ve been taking this gift from God for granted. Instead of consistently making it a part of my daily routine, I used it sporadically thinking “It will always be there—what’s the big deal?” Then a few months ago I heard a sermon where the speaker said “If we are going to be spiritually healthy, we must be in the Word and prayer. If we are going to be healthy Pentecostals...; then we should also be active in our prayer language in a consistent basis…are we full of the Spirit or not?”--Don Immel, Penndel Assemblies of God District Superintendant
I have to admit that when I heard this it really convicted me. It made me rethink my application of this gift. I realized that It isn’t God’s will for is to simply receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit and then keep it in our back pocket to use in case of emergency. It isn’t just a notch in our belt to prove we’ve reached a spiritual pinnacle. Instead, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is given to us to empower us be the people God created us to be and fulfill the purpose that He has called us to fulfill. This gift is given to us to help us live as we should, to pray as we should, and to empower us to be a light in a dark world sharing the Gospel of Jesus with others.
Ignoring this gift is much like the characters in that old show “The Beverly Hillbillies”. After they struck oil and moved to Beverly Hills, they had literally everything anyone could ever want at their disposal. Yet they spent the first few weeks washing their dishes in the swimming pool (that they thought was a pond) and cooking over a fire in the back yard. Everything was at their disposal, they just weren’t taking advantage of it.
Personally, I don’t want to live my spiritual life this way. I want to make the most of everything God has given me so that I can life the fullest life possible and reach my greatest potential in His kingdom.
Since the day I heard this message I have made it a priority that every day (usually right after I read the Bible, but sometimes while I’m getting ready in the morning) I spend at least five minutes using my prayer language.
I’ve become pro-active about stirring up the gift and daily praying in tongues. Honestly, It’s making a difference in not just my prayer life, but in all of my life.
So today I’m writing to encourage you the way this sermon encouraged me: Are you daily stirring up the gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit in your life?
Are you daily using this gift or are you taking it for granted?
Can I encourage you to make the same choice that I have made: Every day, discipline yourself to use your prayer language for a specific amount of time. It may be a part of your devotions. It could be separate. Just do it. See the difference it makes in your life as you daily use this tremendous gift God has given.
What if you’ve never been baptized in the Holy Spirit?
You can start asking God for it today.
If you want to learn more about it, I suggest you read Tim Enloe’s book, “Want More”. I just reread it this summer and it explains the baptism in the Holy Spirit with simplicity and practicality.
Meanwhile, during your time of prayer, start asking God for the baptism in the Holy Spirit. When an altar call is given, go forward to seek it. Because this is a gift that God wants to give you, I can assure you that “as you seek; you will find”.
The truth is that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a gift from God for all believers. It isn’t a Pentecostal thing; it’s a Jesus thing. Just like in New Testament times, it gives us the empowerment we need to be God’s people doing God’s work. However, it does come with a responsibility.
We need to seek it.
We need to receive it.
After we have received it, we need to use our prayer language, not just sit it on a shelf for special occasions. This is one of the truths I’ve been reminded of this summer. It’s been life changing for me—-so I’m passing it on to you.