Praying for the Holy Spirit

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened…If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Luke 11:9-13

These Bible verses speak about praying for the Holy Spirit. Through various comparisons, the Lord points out the heavenly Father’s willingness to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. He knows how much we need the Holy Spirit. When a seeking soul realizes the need and asks God for it, He answers the prayer.

When Christ was about to give His life as a sacrifice for mankind, He especially spoke of the Holy Spirit. First He said: “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive” (John 14:16-17a ESV).

Later on, the Lord said: “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” (John 15:26). Shortly before His ascension, He commanded His disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Father, of which He had spoken to them. He said, “For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:4-5).

Three things are stated in these scriptures:

1. Jesus will ask the Father to give the Spirit of truth.

2. He points out that He will send Him from the Father, because with His atoning work on Calvary, all obstacles to receiving the Holy Spirit would be removed.

3. He called this experience the promise of the Father and explained that this was the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Based on these and other scriptural passages, we can be assured that praying for the Holy Spirit will not go unanswered.

The disciples of Jesus and many others believed the words of Jesus. They stayed in Jerusalem and prayed for the fulfillment of this promise for ten days. As they gathered together again on the day of Pentecost, the answer came from heaven. Scripture says: “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). The prayer for the Holy Spirit was answered. God is faithful, and what He promises, He certainly keeps!

As it was true then, so it is true today. The heavenly Father is willing to give the Holy Spirit to His children, provided they fulfill certain conditions. Whoever does not ask for the Holy Spirit cannot receive Him. Whoever does not surrender to the Holy Spirit cannot receive Him. And whoever is not obedient to God will not obtain the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Peter expressed this in the following words: “And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him” (Acts 5:32).

This obedience is no different from the obedience of faith of which the apostle Paul wrote in the letter to the Romans. Whoever stands in this obedience may ask the heavenly Father to give him the Holy Spirit, and He will do so.

In certain circles, the belief has spread that speaking in tongues is proof of receiving the Holy Spirit. They claim that if one does not speak in tongues, then the baptism of the Holy Spirit has not happened. To this it must be said that in the course of the past centuries, many spirit-anointed men of God preached the Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit and never spoke in tongues. Without the Holy Spirit, they would have been just a sounding brass. But history proves that streams of the living water flowed from them.

In 1 Corinthians 12:30, the apostle Paul asks the question, “Do all speak with tongues?” The answer is clearly implied, “No!”

The best proof of receiving the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit Himself. His presence and action in us and through us, not speaking in tongues, is evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit. Some people speak in tongues and live in sin. The Holy Spirit works a holy life. Whoever completely consecrates himself to God, putting his life at His disposal without reserve and in faith asks the Father in heaven for the Holy Spirit, will receive Him. “For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him” (2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV).

G. Sonnenberg

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