Praying With Recipients of the Holy Ghost

Part I

 

Text:  Acts 8:14-17

 

14 ‍Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:‍ 15 ‍Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:‍ 16 ‍(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)‍ 17 ‍Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.[1]

 

Tonight I am going to share some tidbits of wisdom on the dos and don’ts of praying folks through to the Holy Ghost. This can be exciting, so strap on you pew-belt!

 

In this Acts, chapter 8, there was great persecution against the church in Jerusalem.  This caused the church to scatter throughout the various regions.  These were courageous men and women who continued to preach the word everywhere!

 

There was a man named Philip who went to Samaria and preached Christ to the people.  The people listened and watched the miracles unfold. Notice the link between hearing the word of God, having faith built up in the heart, and experiencing the actual miracle.   People were delivered of demonic unclean spirits that cried out with loud ugly, shrieking voices and people were healed of palsies and lame ailments.  It was awesome and a fantastic demonstration of the power of God for sure.

 

Then, all of a sudden, there was a monkey wrench thrown into the mix…..a man by the name of Simon known as a sorcerer.

 

Simon bewitched the people into thinking that he was some great person.  Nevertheless, the preaching of Philip and the name of Jesus Christ was far more powerful and the people believed and were baptized.

 

Believe it or not, Simon also himself believed and was baptized, he continued with Philip and watched the miracles unfold. 

 

It becomes obvious that Simon himself did not fully repent because when he saw that people received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, he immediately began to calculate this in terms of financial gain and this was and still is very displeasing to the Lord.  There is nothing wrong with the ministry living of the gospel, but it should never be turned into a money profiteering business with financial gain in mind as the focus.  Simon wanted to find a way to make money and he saw this ability to give people the Holy Ghost, as he perceived it as the means to making himself rich.  Watch what happened, this is classic Acts:

18 ‍And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,‍ 19 ‍Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.‍ 20 ‍But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.‍ 21 ‍Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.‍ 22 ‍Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.‍ 23 ‍For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.‍ 24 ‍Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.‍[2]

 

If Simon was true and genuine in what he said, and if he had a genuine repentance experience right here, then God certainly did forgive him, but not enough detail is given, so God only knows.

 

*We have just learned the first lesson here that it is something not to do:  We have just learned that the outpouring of the Holy Ghost and praying with people to receive it should never become a money making machine!  We are not talking about people not paying their tithes and giving regular offerings here, but we are talking about a person’s motive being to become filthy rich off the baptism of the Holy Ghost.  That is an insult and slap in God’s face, so to speak.  It would grieve the heart of our Creator to think that when He is our provider that a person would cheapen His wonderful gift and pervert the pure motives of helping people to be born again.  We must guard our own hearts and guard the body of Christ against money- mongering.

 

**The second area of tips in praying people through to the Baptism of the Holy Ghost is that the wrong thinking will result in the wrong results.  One minister was praying with a man to receive the Holy Ghost and giving him tips on how to pray properly.  The man stopped, lowered his hands, and said to the minister, “I have prayed for the Holy Ghost for several years, and I know how to pray for it!”

 

The wrong thinking kept producing the same result:  no Holy Ghost.

 

A valuable lesson here is that a person must be pliable in the hands of God and be teachable.  God works with teachable people.  God uses teachable people.  God gives teachable people the Holy Ghost.

 

So what are some common misconceptions?

 

  1. If they don’t receive the Holy Ghost, God was not ready to give it to them. The Holy Ghost has been continually poured out since the day of Pentecost.  Everyone who has responded correctly has become a recipient.  II Peter tells us that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  Often the reason people don’t receive the Holy Ghost is because they have not completely died out to self yet.

 

2:  A person must be in a certain physical position to receive the Holy Ghost:  Such statement such as, “you must be in the church building” or “you must be on your knees to receive the Holy Ghost” are not correct.

 

People have received the Holy Ghost in their homes, cars, at school, and at work, and many other places, in addition to at church.

 

  1. Another misconception is the idea that a good rubdown helps. The truth is that too many hands on the person can become only a distraction.  While there is power in laying on of hands, there is nothing in the Bible that says our hands should remain on the person the entire time they are praying.  Hands need to be placed in appropriate places, such as the forehead, shoulder, hands, and arms.  Men must take special caution about touching a woman when she is praying.  The best place for a man to pray for a woman and visa versa is the forehead.  Touching in other places must be reserved for men praying with men and women praying with women.

 

The late Leo Upton would not touch anyone until he was ready for the person to receive.  He at that point would put his hand on his or her forehead firmly and pray until the seeker spoke with tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance.

 

If a person is getting hands placed all over their body while at the same time being very loudly told to get their mind on God, that combination can be very hard to cope with.

 

  1. Another common misconception is this: “I did not see them cry.”

 

Crying in and of itself does not mean repentance, although it can include crying, but does not have to include crying.  God is interested in change, not just tears alone.  God would rather see a changed life without tears than tears without a changed life!

 

Repentance is a change of heart.  No one can receive the genuine Holy Ghost without genuine repentance.  If they are receiving the real Holy Ghost, then that means that they repented whether or not you saw them.

 

Some people come to our services ready to be filled, why?  Because they have been repenting for days in their homes, cars, schools, parks, backyards, and places of business.

 

  1. Another misconception is, “They got the Holy Ghost too easily.” “It should take longer than that.”

Repentance is a type of death; so how long does it take for someone to die?

 

Some seekers we are praying with have not repented and therefore it will take them a long time until they do in fact repent fully.  Others who have repented before they came to church will receive the Holy Ghost very readily.

 

  1. Another misconception is the idea that “the seeker should tell us when he gets the Holy Ghost. You may have heard it said, even by some who are well respected say something like this:  “We should not tell them they have received the Holy Ghost, even when we hear them speak with tongues.”  The truth is that we have been around the Holy Ghost for much time, some for all of their lives, yet the seeker has not and this whole thing is brand new for them!

 

Peter told the house of Cornelius they had received in Acts chapter 10.  The receivers are so focused on worshipping God and His glorious presence, many times they don’t realize what is happening to them.

 

Seekers feel different, wonderful, and like they never have in their entire lives, but it is all brand new to them.  They need direction.  Good questions to ask the seeker are:  Did you hear yourself say anything that wasn’t English?  Most of the time they will answer something like this:  “I don’t know what I was saying”

 

We can ask, “How do you feel?”

 

When they say something to the effect of, “different” yet feeling different is not the evidence of the Holy Ghost, but speaking in tongues is the evidence.  If we hear the seeker speak with tongues, then we have a Biblical right to tell them that they have received they Holy Ghost!  This will give them the confidence they need to know they have not wasted their time and energy at all and there will not be any confusion.

 

Once a person has spoken in tongues for the very first time and they now understand what they have received, then we should encourage them with such words as, “Now that you have received the Holy Ghost, let God speak through you some more.”  We then should pray with them to speak more.

 

Some Christians will disagree with this philosophy, but it is the best way to help the seeker get as much of the Holy Ghost as possible.

 

  1. Another misconception is when we hear somebody say, “They did not speak in tongues enough.” While a person cannot speak in tongues too much, when it comes to the initial evidence, the scriptures simply tell us that they spoke with other tongues, but it does not say for how long or how many different languages they spoke.  We all have upped our prayer language throughout our walk.  Some people seem to speak in many different languages, yet others may only speak one language, yet develop more at time goes on.  The bottom line for the first time seeker is that no matter if it is a few words, phrases, or sounds, or if a person speaks in unknown far off languages for hours, the point is that they are receiving the Holy Ghost.  That is the main thing, and the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.  We would all love a seeker to speak fluently for 20 minutes, but we don’t have scripture that says a person has to speak in tongues for any length of time for it to be genuine.  That may assure us, but God knows better than anyone on this planet, even St Nick.  The kingdom of God is not about self-service, but it is about serving our Creator, Jesus Christ.

 

Closing:

  • In New York City, a mailman, shot by a sniper, is ordered from a building lobby because he is dripping blood.
  • In Oklahoma City, a woman gives birth unexpectedly—on a city sidewalk. Bystanders turn their faces. A taxi driver looks, then speeds away. A nearby hotel refuses a blanket.
  • In Dayton, Ohio, a dozen people see a woman drive her car into the Miami River. They watch indifferently as the woman climbs on the car’s roof and screams that she can’t swim. The woman drowns.

 

So many incidents like this have happened that the Chicago Sun-Times library now has a special file tabbed “Apathy.”[3]

 

When it comes to people helping people receive the Holy Ghost, let’s not allow ourselves to become apathetic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: King James Version. 1995. Logos Research Systems, Inc.: Oak Harbor, WA

[2] The Holy Bible: King James Version. 1995. Logos Research Systems, Inc.: Oak Harbor, WA

[3] Tan, P. L. 1996, c1979. Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations  : [a treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts, and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers]. Bible Communications: Garland TX

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