It is my hope that you will pray before reading this letter. I want God to guide and lead you as you read the words I’ve written. I will attempt to explain what I know in both my own words of explanation and with scriptures from the bible. There are many more scriptures that I will put at the end when you want to read more.
The process as laid out in scriptures to completely fulfill the redemptive process that God designed for us is that
Let me first address the confusion over receiving the Holy Spirit and being filled with the Holy Spirit.
John 20:21 (21 Then Jesus said to them again, Peace to you! [Just] as the Father has sent Me forth, so I am sending you. (22 And having said this, He breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit! (23 [Now having received the Holy Spirit, and being led and directed by Him] if you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained. [AMP Bible]
In John 20:21-23 Jesus appeared to the disciples and proved to them it was he by showing the scars that the nails had left in his hands and feet.
He then said he was sending them, and He breathed on them saying to them "Receive the Holy Spirit". This receipt gave them the authority they needed to do what they were called to do.
As believers, we have all had the breath of Jesus breathed on us which gives us the authority we need to do what we are called to do.
But, if this had been enough for us, he wouldn’t have urged them to wait in Jerusalem for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. What we must understand is that it was never God’s intention to equip us partially. Jesus didn’t die on the cross just to get us to heaven. He wanted to give us everything that was in his power to give us in order to live powerfully and victoriously in this life.
Just as the disciples were given the authority as believers, so were we when we believed. But they needed more. That is why Jesus told them it was more beneficial that he go away. He was only one. And he lived externally with them.
He knew that if he went away then the Holy Spirit, his spirit, could come and live internally, in each of us truly empowering an army of believers who could fulfill the mission of covering the earth with God’s Kingdom.
John 16:7 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. [NASM Bible]
The Holy Spirit is not stationary as Jesus was. When he came in his fullness on the day of Pentecost, he came in his entirety covering the earth. If you continue on to vs. 8 you will see Jesus talk about how the Holy Spirit will convict, or reveal sin, and righteousness. This is far more than Jesus could do on his own as he was.
Acts 1:4 & 5 (4 And while being in their company and eating with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for what the Father had promised, Of which [He said] you have heard Me speak.
(5 For John baptized with water, but not many days from now you shall be baptized with (placed in, introduced into) the Holy Spirit. [AMP Bible]
But Jesus did the most important thing which was to open the door for us to receive the Holy Spirit. Without fulfilling the need for a sin sacrifice, we could not step into his righteousness therefore rebirthing in us a perfect spirit which could now sustain the Holy Spirit. A sinful nature or spirit, could not coexist with the Holy Spirit.
So when Jesus died on the cross, he made a way for us to receive the Holy Spirit (receive the authority to do as he did on this earth) AND be filled with the Holy Spirit (receive the power to do as he did on this earth).
To further provide evidence that these are two separate events, let me give you a few more scriptures.
Acts 8:14-17 (14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, (15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. (16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. [NKJ Bible]
Peter and John went to the believers of Samaria, those who already had accepted Jesus as savior and believed in him, to lay hands on them to receive and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Two separate events.
Acts 19:1-6 (1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples (2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” (3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”
(4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” (5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. [NKJ Bible]
When Paul came to Ephesus he found more disciples (all followers of Jesus are his disciples, there are more than just the twelve) he asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit. They had only been baptized in water, so Paul laid hands on them, prayed, and asked for them to receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Again, two separate events.
But, Paul knew the importance of being baptized in the Holy Spirit so he taught them and they listened. They were hungry for all that they could receive of Father God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
Acts 10:44-48 (44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all who were listening to the message. (45 And the believers from among the circumcised [the Jews] who came with Peter were surprised and amazed, because the free gift of the Holy Spirit had been bestowed and poured out largely even on the Gentiles. (46 For they heard them talking in [unknown] tongues (languages) and extolling and magnifying God. Then Peter asked, (47 Can anyone forbid or refuse water for baptizing these people, seeing that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we have? (48 And he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (the Messiah). Then they begged him to stay on there for some days. [AMP Bible]
Here is another example that the two are not only independent, but that they do not always come in a specific order. Here as Peter was preaching the Holy Spirit baptized the group and then they were baptized in water.
This brings us to the point of speaking or praying in tongues. This is the sign that shows clear evidence that a person has not only received the Holy Spirit (authority), but also been filled with the Holy Spirit (power).
1 Corinthians 14:22-25 (22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. (23 Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are [f]out of your mind? (24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. (25 [g]And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you. [NKJ Bible]
Here Paul is talking to the church about speaking in tongues in a group church setting. He states that tongues in a group setting is to show the baptism of the Holy Spirit and to reveal hidden things to the unbeliever so that they will believe.
It seems foolish to the world, but the bible says in
1 Corinthians 1:27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; [NKJ Bible]
What seems foolish to mankind God chose on purpose. It takes a hunger for God so profound that we will lay down our pride to receive a perceived foolish thing in order to have all that God desires for us to have. Pride has kept enormous numbers of people away from receiving this precious and powerful gift of God.
1 Corinthians 14:18 I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; [NKJ Bible]
Paul knew that it was so important to be filled with the Holy Spirit, that is why in the scripture above he mentions that he speaks or prays in tongues more than they. But what did he specifically know about it? I will only discuss a few scriptures since there are so many. But, I will list many more at the end of this letter so that you may research them on your own.
Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth. [AMP Bible]
The verse above is from the Amplified Bible. I read this many years ago and saw that power in the Greek is ability, efficiency, and might. I loved that and latched on to it, claiming it for myself.
So many people wonder how I am able to get done all the things that I do, well it is from having received the baptism of the Holy Spirit which gives me ability and efficiency. It has served me well for decades.
First of all, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a gift from God. Not a rule, not something heavy to place on his believers, but a gift. When we give gifts, we take pleasure in choosing the most wonderful thing for that person that we can give to them. God used the word gift because of what a gift is.
Merriam-Webster defines gift as 1: a notable capacity, talent, or endowment 2: something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation 3:the act, right, or power of giving.
God gave, transferred voluntarily his spirit to us as a gift. He had Jesus come and sacrifice himself in a horrific death so that the way could be paved for us to receive this precious gift.
I can just imagine Father God working so hard with man for centuries to arrive at just the right time, so that we would once again be able to be back in proper fellowship with him. Just so that he could give us this precious gift, only to have so many refuse it. How it would break my heart. But then I am not God. I am not as patient, loving, and long-suffering with mankind as he is.
Luke 11:13 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!” [NKJ Bible]
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. [NKJ Bible]
Acts 11:17 If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” [NKJ Bible]
The Holy Spirit is a gift. It is only one gift that is often described as various gifts, but it is really only one..
1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. (5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. (6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: (8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, (9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, (10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. (11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. [AMP Bible]
This is a good point to address those who say that not everyone who is baptized with the Holy Spirit speaks in tongues. But you will not find an instance in the bible where a person or persons were baptized in the Holy Spirit and did not speak in tongues as a sign.
The scriptures above are the ones they use to fight this argument. However, these are special gifts over and above that can come and go as the Holy Spirit deems necessary and beneficial in the kingdom. In general we all have separate giftings that we may operate in, however let me use faith as as example.
It says in Hebrews that without faith it is impossible to please God. It also says in another place that we are all given a measure of faith, so the faith mentioned above in verse 9 is in addition to the faith that we already possess from God.
The same is true of speaking in tongues. When we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, we are then able to use that gift for our own benefit.
The facet of the gift mentioned above is for the edification of the church. Two separate things.
In the scripture below it talks about praying in the Holy Spirit, or in tongues as a way to build yourself up.
Jude 1:20-21 (20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, (21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. [NKJ Bible]
When Paul received the baptism of the Holy Spirit scales fell from his eyes and he could see.
Acts 9:17-18 (17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. [NKJ Bible]
After he received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, he received back his sight then went and was baptized in water.
Now Lainey, let me speak from my own experience where I will also provide scriptures.
I received Jesus as my savior at thirteen years old. I went to a church that did not discuss the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I tried over and over again to read the bible, but found myself not feeling the comprehension that I thought I should have.
I would try hard to focus and read, but would always find my mind drifting and I would have to go back and continually reread attempting to concentrate even harder.
I got married early and then had a child. My life should have been perfect, but it wasn’t. I felt like there was something more that I was missing. I couldn’t even vocalize what I was feeling.
One day, I cried out to God to fulfill this spiritual longing deep within me. I’m not even sure at the time that I knew it was a spiritual longing. I loved going to church and loved God. But I knew there was something missing.
About a year later, God led me to a lady who then, through the course of our friendship, taught me about the Holy Spirit. Immediately, when she began to talk about it, I knew it was what was missing in my life.
I was very eager to receive it. She prayed with me and I did. I spoke in tongues. But one of the most profound things was that immediately it was as if like Paul, scales fell from my eyes and I could understand in a deep and revelatory way, the bible.
Back then I only had the King James Bible and I suddenly understood it. I read it continually as a starving man would eat. I could not get enough. I was amazed at the words I was reading and finally understanding.
Those revelations are still burned into my heart and my mind. I may not always be able to tell you the book and chapter they come from, but I can quote them to you in the same King James verbiage that I read them from when they were revealed to me.
I am passionate to this day about believers receiving the Holy Spirit. I have led my children and grandchildren, and countless others to be baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence in speaking in tongues.
One thing I am sure to do each and every time, is to tell them the benefits that they should take advantage of every day. I will list a few below.
That is just a few of the reasons why I pray in the spirit. Here are some additional scriptures I want to give you.
Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. [NKJ Bible}
This is just one example where it says ‘they were ALL filled’. Over and over again when there is a group, they were all filled. God doesn’t pick and choose, but desires that all be filled.
Acts 5:32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” [NKJ Bible]
I suppose you could say that there is one stipulation, and that is to obey. Obey him by accepting Jesus as savior.
Acts 6:3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; [NKJ Bible]
It was such an important part of the early church that when they chose leaders of the church, they made sure they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Acts 7:55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, [NKJ Bible]
Stephen was able to endure the stoning in such a glorious manner because he was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:16 (Joel 2:28) But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:… Joel 2:28“And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions. [NKJ Bible]
Lainey the Holy Spirit has been poured out, but it is up to us to obey and receive it.
Acts 10:45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. [NKJ Bible]
This is a great scripture because it talks again that the pouring out of the Holy Spirit is a gift. And not just for the Jews, but also for the Gentiles. How did they know it had been poured out? Because they saw and heard them speaking with other tongues.
Romans 5:1-5 (1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; (4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. (5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. [NKJ Bible]
Lainey I can’t imagine being able to glory in tribulations without the strength and power that being filled with the Holy Spirit gives. Praying in the spirit brings me so much strength even in the worst situations.
Ephesians 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, [NKJ Bible]
I once wrote a bible study on this scripture. When we receive Jesus and profess our love and devotion to him, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit. If you could picture a wax seal poured out and them stamped by the personal seal of our savior, that is what we are. Not to be opened or revealed until the end.
John 14:15-17 (15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. (16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— (17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. [NKJ Bible]
John talks here about Jesus assurances that he would send a helper that will abide in us, that is the Holy Spirit. And he is my helper as I’ve said so much before.
John 7:38-39 (38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. [NKJ Bible]
To me this is such a beautiful depiction of what the Holy Spirit is. When I received the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, it genuinely felt like rivers of living water were flowing through me. And it is there each time I pray in the spirit. As I said earlier, when I need hope and encouragement, he trades me joy for sorrow, patience for anxiety, and so much more.
Romans 8:26-27 (26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. [NKJ Bible]
Lainey when you were lost in the forest I prayed in the spirit until groaning came forth. But I knew not to stop there. I prayed until I felt the spirit break free and the groaning gave way to peace. I knew then that the Father had heard and answered my prayers. I knew then he was with you wherever you were.
The darkness can only be battled in the spirit realm. The darkness that was trying to overtake you could only be defeated by praying in the spirit.
I know you said you would pray and then that dark feeling would come back. That is because praying in our understanding is not as powerful as praying the perfect prayer in the spirit. It is limited to our own knowledge of the situation.
Let me ask you this: when the man found you, did you feel that darkness again? I think you will realize the darkness had gone. It was defeated and you were protected and cared for.
Ephesians 6:18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints [NKJ Bible]
Here Paul talks about praying in all prayer. For that to be a sensible statement there must be more than one kind of prayer. We should pray with our understanding and in the spirit as well.
1 Corinthians 14:15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. [NKJ Bible]
The 14th chapter of Corinthians is Paul telling the church some rules for speaking or praying in tongues in church. If a group gets together and everyone just prays in the spirit, it is a group just building itself up individually. This is often what this church did.
He wanted them to pray in the spirit, but not neglect other forms of worship and ministry to each other in a group setting.
I’ve gone on much longer than I had intended, but I wanted to give you as much information as I could. One final thought that I want to give to you is this, once again from a personal note.
Often when I pray in my own words of understanding I find myself repeating the same thing over and over again because I seem to be looking for the exact right words to pray.
Using your situation, with my understanding, I prayed for God to help you and find you and bring you home safely. I prayed so many different versions of that very thing, but it was always just that.
When I get caught up in that cycle of repetition, praying in my understanding, I remember this scripture.
Matthew 6:7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. [NKJ Bible]
A prayer warrior isn’t someone who prays over and over again the same thing, praying with emotional intensity. Jesus criticized those who prayed repetitious words, they serve no purpose. But a few words prayed in the spirit are always on target and passionate.
James 5:16b The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. [NKJ Bible]
I know every time that I pray in the spirit it is effective and fervent and therefore it avails much.
I hope these few scriptures along with my personal insight helps you better understand what receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues really is.
If you have more questions, please ask. I am always here to answer questions where I can and to pray with you.
The only thing I have ever seen keep people from making this step with God is from the fear that they will be doing strange (foolish) things outside of their will. This is not the case. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman and is always at your bidding. You will never randomly do something that you did not want to do. You choose when to pray in the Spirit and when not to.
The other reason is because of pride. They feel they are good enough. But honestly that is just because again they are afraid of what they do not know and are afraid of looking foolish.
All of us suffer from those two evil emotions from time to time. I just hate to see it keep someone from the most glorious gift God has ever given us.
1 John 2:27
1 Corinthians 14:14-15
1 Corinthians 14:2