Our Desperate Need for the Holy Spirit
After the disciples had been praying and fasting for 10 days in Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit fell on them to empower them as witnesses for the resurrected Christ. Peter stood up and explained to everyone what happened on that day. He quoted the prophet Joel,
“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.” Acts 2:17-18
He continued to explain what will happen before the Lord’s return; however, we must grasp the promise of God that shows up in Scripture in the book of Joel and again in the book of Acts. This mighty promise of God is the 2nd reason why I am calling us to pray and fast together for 21 days.
It showed up as a promise in the book of Joel after the prophet told the people that IF they returned to the Lord with all their heart and fasted, THEN He would pour out His Spirit on each generation. You can’t earn God’s gifts. They are gifts, including the Holy Spirit (Luke 11). However, a lot of God’s promises operate on a conditional if/then understanding. Fasting is not a formula. It is a biblical practice of positioning our hearts in worship before Jesus so we are ready to receive anything that He wants to give us. God invites us to make fasting a part of our life and promises to bless us when we do it with a pure heart.
What Does This Mean for Today?
The disciples did not know what to expect when they waited for Jesus to baptize them with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5). When it happened, they left equipped and empowered to proclaim the death and resurrection of Christ with signs and wonders. They had received the indwelling Spirit in John 20, but Jesus decided they needed more. The pouring out of the Spirit on them in Acts 2 did not exhaust the Joel prophecy. It was one of the highest purposes of Jesus’ ministry on earth - to baptize believers with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11).
Until Christ comes back, there will always be more power, faith, and love available to believers who choose to persevere in humbling themselves before God. Peter said, “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off - for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39). That promise is the Holy Spirit poured out, exactly what the people saw and heard that day (Acts 2:33). God loves to refresh us and refill us with the Holy Spirit again and again (see Acts 4 and 10).
We can’t expect our children to thrive in society if they don’t walk under the power of the Holy Spirit. We do not want our children to match the description of people in the Last Days found in 2 Timothy 3, having a form of godliness but denying its power. I want to see our city full of young people who are preaching and demonstrating a Kingdom of God that is full of power like Peter and John did in Acts 3. When Peter saw the astonished people running toward them he said, “Why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made the man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus” (Acts 3:12-13). What if our children experienced this too?
Our children must learn to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit who dwells in them.
They must learn to trust Him and respond in love and obedience. As they are filled with compassion for the lost, they will step out in faith, love, and prophesy powerfully. The Bible says that “It is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus” (Rev. 19:10). Our young people prophesy when they testify that Jesus is alive, and He is the King!
Prophecy is simply giving expression outwardly to what the Holy Spirit impresses inwardly. (The prophetic ministry changed once the Spirit of God started dwelling in believers, not just on believers (Pre-resurrection).) The Spirit of God speaks to the believer’s spirit and what is said is filtered through the soul (mind, will, emotions) before the believer can speak it from their body. Therefore, a prophetic word that the Holy Spirit gives a believer could be tainted or delivered with selfishness or pride once it is expressed by the believer. Unfortunately it happens often. Maybe someone has given you a word that they sensed was from God. Here are some keys from Luc Niebergall, a gifted teacher ministering in Calgary (check out https://royalidentity.ca), to help discern whether or not a prophetic word is from God:
1. Does the word line up with the Bible?
2. Does the word build you up, encourage or comfort you? Prophetic words should not condemn or judge. They call forth
your potential (1 Corinthians 14:3).
3. Does the word bear witness with your spirit? The Holy Spirit in you can testify to the word given whether it is valid (1
4. Does the person who is giving the prophetic word have Godly character? You have every right to dismiss the message if he or she is not walking in integrity.
5. Do you feel as though there are any manipulative motives behind the word? People can prophesy out of a place of
6. If you receive more of a directional word from someone and you are unsure of its validity, bring the word to those in
leadership above you to receive their input.
7. If the word that you are receiving from someone strikes any fear or discomfort in your heart, run it by a pastoral leader or by those who you are in covenant relationships with. Sometimes our emotions will interpret something someone else says through a wounded lens. It is good to get feedback from someone who is spiritually mature and who you trust.
My Mennonite grandmother and her friends gave prophetic words all the time, but they would not call it prophecy.
She would spend time with Jesus in the Word of God. She would think and pray for a friend while meditating on Scripture. She would write an encouragement note to her friend using the Word of God as a guide. She gave outward expression to what the Spirit of God gave her. Jesus said that he could do nothing by himself and He spoke only what he heard His Father say and He did only what He saw His Father doing. In other words, he gave outward expression to the inward impressions of the Holy Spirit’s leading. Check out https://godencounters.com/the-anatomy-of-a-prophetic-word/ to learn more from James Goll.
Our students need to be equipped with the gifts of the Spirit. The gifts of the Spirit are:
1. a message of wisdom
2. a message of knowledge
4. gifts of healing
5. miraculous powers
6. prophecy (There is a difference between simple prophecy and a gift of prophecy.)
7. distinguishing between spirits
8. speaking in different kinds of tongues
9. the interpretation of tongues.
All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines” (1 Corinthians 12:8-11). God, in His sovereignty, gives these gifts for the common good of people.
Imagine if the next generation was operating in power with these gifts and the love of Jesus Christ. Paul said, “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. . . . be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way” (1 Cor. 14:1, 39-40). There is much more teaching and equipping that needs to happen on these topics with our children.
God’s promises are foundational. Let’s have faith to
trust Him with our children.
Let’s believe that we need the Holy Spirit as our Teacher, Guide, Empower-er, Helper, Comforter, and Councillor just as Jesus says that we do (John 14-16). Let’s pray and fast expecting the Spirit of God to move and prepare us and our children for a release of the glory of Jesus.
Check out https://www.ihopkc.org/about/fasting-guidelines-and-information/ to learn more about fasting.
Join me in the 21-day fast starting November 7th.
Days 1-7: Praying for Families
Days 8-14: Praying for schools / education system
Days 15-21: Praying for churches and the city
Let’s awaken to action and shift history!