Is something holding you back from being the bold believer you are? Perhaps you have been told, "Before you can hit the streets with the Gospel, you must worship for three hours to get ready." Maybe you heard, "Before you heal the sick, the key is to fast for a solid 24+ hours." Whatever the justification, there's a word I (and the Apostle Paul) like to use for this kind of formulaic "do this to get God to do that" nonsense: bewitchment. Pray enough, and God will move. Pray the right prayer, and He'll do a miracle. Fast enough, and the heavens will open. We have heard this kind of reasoning in the past. In fact, we used to live this way to some degree. But living a life of resting in God's grace far outweighs the self-righteous striving to bring revival. The truth is - revival is here. Plus, people have families to care for, kids who have school the next day, mouths to feed, homework to complete, chores around the house, and jobs that require a good night's rest. Who has time to churn the wheel of religious striving. Even if it is "charismatic" in nature, it is still rooted deep in religion as religion is the efforts of humanity to appease God. The Father is appeased with Jesus and He has poured out the fullness of His Spirit on all flesh. I rather trust that than do something that would suggest I do not believe He has already done it. I rather rest in His finished work than toil in mine. Last summer, we had family come into town. Two of the girls were 12 and 9 years old. They hadn't really been in church in a long time, voiced they found church boring, and couldn't even quote John 3:16. They didn't really have a grid for the Bible or the Holy Spirit. We took them on a hike one day, returned home, and Keeli began asking the youngest about Jesus. In a few moments, she was a believer! Keeli prayed with both of them to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit that same night.
48 hours passed. Two days. We were going to take them on their first treasure hunt/power evangelism outreach. You may be thinking, "There is no way they were ready in two days!" This testimony is a great reminder that we have the fullness of the Godhead living inside of us - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Colossians 2:9-10) and that the Lord gives the Spirit without measure (John 3:34). We didn't soak in worship for three hours. We had full bellies so we clearly didn't fast. We simply asked Jesus where we needed to go, who we needed to speak with, and what we needed to look for. We prayed in the Spirit for a few minutes, wrote down our clues, and compared notes.
Keeli's parents were babysitting Anneli but joined in on the clues even though they weren't going with us. We had a vast array of clues (that we later saw which were truly astounding). But our favorite testimony from the night dealt with the following clues: Keeli's mom and I had the same location - a dessert location in town. Keeli had clues dealing with crime. Keeli's dad had the clue pen. The 9 year old girl read the organization's name written on the side of the pen she was writing her clues with and said, "What if we meet a girl named Samara?" That's not a name you hear every day. We didn't think anything of it. We just headed out.
When we arrived at the dessert hot-spot, the place was packed. But nobody was really standing out. We got the girls something to eat (because who is going to pass up some great dessert?) and after a few minutes, the place cleared out. It was closing time. I asked Keeli to see if the two employees behind the counter needed prayer for anything. They looked at each other with dismay and said, "Actually, yes." They explained how they had to call the police on someone. The culprit knew these two called the cops on them and they were afraid what would happen when he was out of jail. Keeli's clues were confirmed! We agreed to pray for them and asked their names.
"I'm Samara," the second employee said. All of our eyes were as big as saucers. Did our 9 year old relative who is only two days old in the Lord just get a word of knowledge of someone's name? It wasn't a common name, either. It wasn't a Josh, John, or Jessica. It was Samara! We shook ourselves out of our bewilderment and prayed for God's protection over these two. We still have the receipt from this establishment with the name of the employee who served us: Samara.
"If this is church, we want to do this everyday!" the girls said. When we returned home, the girls ran down to tell of their adventures. It's like someone turned on the joy switch! Everyone needs an encounter. No one should be denied an opportunity to partake in what the Holy Spirit has ordained us to do. When stipulations are put on a person before they can see the Lord work miracles, we burden ourselves and forget that His burden is easy and His yoke is light. The role of the Holy Spirit is to testify of Jesus. There is no junior Holy Spirit just like there is no junior devil. The devil doesn't have an age limit of who he wants to harm. In the same manner, Holy Spirit doesn't have an age limit for those He wants to fill, empower, and operate through.