10 Steps to Help Other Receive the Spirit

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There is not particular method that you need to enlist in order to lead others into the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But in my experience, these 10 steps have definitely helped.

  1. Read the stories in Acts together. We need faith to receive the Holy Spirit, faith comes by hearing the word of God. TIP: In my bible I start with some verses I've underlined in Acts one, and in the margin I've written which chapter and verse to go to next.
  2. Create an expectation to receive. I tell people, God wants to fill you with his Spirit, it's his promise for you. In a minute we are going to pray and God is going to fill you with His Spirit. TIP: personal testimony can be helpful as long as we don't make our experience the definitive model for others.
  3. Explain the gift of tongues. I point out, that in each case in Acts, when people were filled, it resulted in them speaking in a new spirit-inspired language, or praising God in some way. There is an overflow as you are filled, it's hard to keep quiet. I try to explain tongues in a way that people can understand. It's a language you never learned. A prayer language, a language of the Spirit that God gives to his children to speak to him with, spirit to spirit. Why wouldn't God want to give this gift to ALL his children! TIP: I point out from 1 Corinthians 14 how much Paul personally valued this gift and ask why would he want the Corinthians to all speak in tongues. I explain why I personally value this gift. People don't want something they don't value.
  4. Invite them to come to Jesus. I ask people, "Are you ready to receive the Holy Spirit? Jesus said whoever is thirsty, let him come to ME and drink. Are you thirsty? Then come to Jesus, he is going to fill you to overflowing, he said it would be like streams of living water flowing out of inner-most being". TIP: I usually ask people to stand, because I think it helps them to be more receptive. I also suggest they close their eyes and hold out their hands as if they are going to receive a gift, because the Holy Spirit is a gift of God.
  5. Tell them to ask for themselves. I can't ask for you. Jesus said "come to me", he said "ask and you will receive". So I encourage people to ask Jesus to fill them. Then I will thank Jesus for his presence and also invite the Holy Spirit to come and fill people. TIP: I find it is helpful to have music playing quietly, either a guitar or a MP3 player. It means when people pray out, they are not breaking the silence, it eases the awkwardness. I've found it also helps encourage that overflow of praise when they are being filled.
  6. Lay hands on them. I will then tell them that I, (or if it's a group, that I and others), will come round and place our hands on them to receive the Spirit. I will place my hands on them, often gently on their head and say "Be filled with the Spirit, receive the Holy Spirit" TIP: look to see what is happening. If you observe fluttering eyelids or breathing deeply, then it can often be a sign of the Holy Spirit's presence filling them. If I see that, I will often encourage it, "I see the Holy Spirit upon you, do you sense his presence filling you, he is filling you now, be filled"
  7. Encourage them to open their mouths. I encourage them to begin to speak out whatever God puts in their mouth, "just let your heart overflow, don't worry if you don't understand what you're saying, just praise God with your Spirit". Tip: it helps if YOU start praising God with your spirit.
  8. Ask what they are sensing. If someone seems to be finding it difficult to receive, I will encourage them to just enjoy God's presence, and to keep asking. At the same time I will be asking the Spirit for words of encouragement. Sometimes bringing words from God can help people experience his presence, (Jesus at baptism). Sometimes God might even give you a word of knowledge about something that may be hindering them from receiving. If they really feel nothing has happened at the end, reassure them that it is God's desire to fill them, it's his promise. TIP: send them home with some encouraging stories to help them keep believing. I'll tell stories of people who were later filled with Spirit, or woke up speaking in this new language.
  9. Make sure they have their own witness. I never tell people that have been filled with the Spirit unless they have their own witness about it, or they are clearly speaking in tongues etc. Neither do I tell people to believe they have been filled if they feel nothing has happened. TIP: I often tell people it can be by degrees, as it was for me, I just kept going forward for prayer, asking to be filled, until I knew I was filled. I encourage them to do the same.
  10. Follow up. I think it's important to follow up with people, especially those who are still seeking, so they don't give up or get disappointed. It is important to make clear that whether people have received or not, there is more! The command, "Be filled with the Holy Spirit" is continuous. TIP: We should have others follow up, because if it's left to leaders it won't always happen. Small group leaders could be involved in this in some way, so they can follow up.

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Confluence is a place where the reformed, the charismatic, and the mission-minded converge to equip and serve the church to transform communities. Our authors are mostly leaders in the Newfrontiers family of churches.