“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:14)
Not long after accepting Christ and devoting my life to Him, God called me into full-time ministry.
After spending a few years in street ministry in the Dallas, Texas area, the Lord provided me and my family with a renovated school bus and we set out as home missionaries for our local Church.
Our ministry and mission was going throughout the southwest and north central area of Texas and conducting revival style services in nursing home facilities for the elderly and disabled.
I would play the guitar and sing with my four year old daughter, then I would preach and give an invitation, and afterwards my wife and I would pray and counsel individually with the residents.
Our message was primarily one of salvation and we were blessed to witness over 600 souls accept Jesus Christ and be saved.
During this time we attended many Pentecostal and charismatic churches in the various cities and towns that we were ministering in. We were able to hear different Pastors and Evangelists preach the Word of God as well as be invited to preach as a guest evangelist myself.
As we sat in the various congregations, we saw many respond to the messages that were preached, coming down to the altar to accept Christ and ask prayer for healing or to receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
It was during these times that I witnessed something very troubling to my soul.
Although many who came down to the altar to receive the Holy Ghost were gloriously baptized speaking with other tongues, just as many seemed to struggle even after much prayer was made and they left the altar disappointed.
Since my experience had been so different, this was hard for me to understand at the time. However, God was about to show me the reason why many were having trouble and this would forever change my ministry and relationship with Jesus Christ.
After some time had passed and our mission work in the nursing homes had been completed, the Lord instructed me and my family to return home to Dallas and our home Church.
After returning home, I was introduced to a powerful evangelist by the name of Bro. Green who had begun ministering out of our home Church while we were away. He had a mighty anointing upon his life and preached with a fire that I had seldom seen.
Whenever he would preach, he would usually have a huge response to the altar call which he gave. Many would be moved by the Holy Spirit and come down to the altar seeking God.
He seemed to especially have an anointing for people who wanted to receive prayer for the baptism of the Holy Ghost. It was at this time that I noticed something different in his ministry that I had not witnessed before in other ministries.
Whenever someone would come down and ask for prayer to receive the Holy Ghost, he would ask them a few questions and speak with them for a few moments before laying hands on them to pray.
Invariably, almost every person that he laid hands on and prayed for received the baptism with the Holy Ghost and spoke with other tongues just as on the day of Pentecost.
A day came when He asked me if I would like to go with him for a day of fasting and prayer at a Christian ministry’s retreat in East Texas. There was a cabin on the property at the top of a small mountain specifically for those wanting to get away and seek the Lord.
While we were there, I asked Bro. Green about the particular way that he would pray for people to receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
He told me that he too had seen that in the Pentecostal denominational churches many followers were having trouble being baptized in the Holy Ghost. He told me that he had even seen people in the church resort to strange and unusual measures trying to help someone receive this experience from God.
He had seen people hold up the hands of someone seeking to be baptized while others shouted in their ears directions, rubbed their belly, patted their cheeks, or gave them strange noises to repeat over and over again.
Sometimes these exercises in futility would go on to the point of exhaustion and he knew that this was neither Scriptural nor the will of God. He had fasted and prayed asking the Lord why this was happening when God revealed to him the answer.
It was simply a matter of faith.
“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” (Jas 1:6-7)
And how do we receive faith?
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17)
Bro. Green told me that the Lord revealed to him that although many were being drawn by the Holy Spirit to receive this blessing from God, their desire was not mixed with faith in order to receive it.
So that it might help to build faith in their heart, whenever anyone would respond to his preaching by coming down to the altar asking prayer for whatever the need was in their life, Bro. Green would share the Word of God with them concerning that particular need before he would lay hands on them and pray.
“Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.” (1Tim. 5:22)
First, he would assure them of their salvation before praying in agreement for their request. One such exchange might go thusly,
“Good morning Brother. Before we pray, do you mind if I ask you a question? Have you been born again? You know the Bible says,
“…Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
“…Ye must be born again.” (John 3:7)
You know, to be born again all you have to do is believe and confess the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says,
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Rom. 10:9)
Now, the Bible also says that God cannot lie.
“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Num. 23:19)
If God cannot lie, and if you have believed and confessed, then you must be born again and saved. And if you are born again and saved, then Christ is your Savior and God is your Heavenly Father.
If God is your Heavenly Father, then the Bible says,
“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13)
Now, we are going to pray, and your Heavenly Father is going to give you the Holy Spirit, He is going to baptize you with the Holy Ghost just like He did for the first disciples on the Day of Pentecost.
“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)
Since God said that He would do it if we asked, and since God cannot lie, then if we ask, He must. Let’s pray.”
Invariably, when Bro. Green would share the Word of God with them and pray, then they would receive. I have also found this to be true.
When it comes to our needs, our only job is to first ask according to God’s will, and secondly have faith to believe and receive.
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (1John 5:15)
“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” (Mark 11:24)
And how do we know God’s will that we might have faith to believe?
By knowing and understanding the Word of God.
This same holds true in understanding the mysteries of Christ and receiving the deeper things of God.