As we study God’s promises in the Bible, we can see His plans for bringing His people back to Him. The Messiah was promised right after the fall of Adam and Eve. As soon as they were expelled from Eden, they were promised victory and an eventual return to Paradise (Gen. 3:15). Jesus came down and fulfilled this promise! While writing to the Philippians, Paul describes it in a wonderful way (Phil. 2:5-11).
The promise of the Holy Spirit was given by Jesus Himself (Acts 1:8). The fulfillment was a rapid one, as recorded in Acts 2:1-4.
All through the ages, God’s people were praying for the Messiah to come and for the power of the Spirit. These two promises were finally fulfilled. Jesus came down and died for us. The early Church was empowered by the Spirit to preach the gospel to the Gentiles.
Christians today are fervently praying for Jesus’ return and for the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in these end times. The Bible calls it the Latter Rain (Joel 2:23). In verses 28 and 29, there is a prophecy of a mighty outpouring of the Spirit of God—upon all flesh!
PRAYER—THE KEY ELEMENT
1. When Jesus died, the disciples were disheartened, discouraged, and sad; however, we must reflect on what happened after Jesus’ ascension. As the disciples watched their risen Savior go up to heaven, there was peace in their hearts!
From despair they turned to the blessed hope, found inner peace, were immersed in joy, and lifted their voices in prayer.
2. The disciples came down from the Mount of Olives and spent time in prayer (Acts 1:14).
3. Prayer had an important role in the coming of the Spirit. Prayer should be the numberone business in the agenda of the church.
4. God said, “Call to me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jer. 33:3, NKJV).
LIFE UNDER THE HOLY SPIRIT
1. It is important to examine and reflect on the life of the believers under the power of the Spirit. Luke the apostle gave us a tremendous insight into what happened when the Spirit came down for the first time: The believers were on fire for the Lord and left Jerusalem, boldly preaching a message of repentance and salvation. What an awesome power!
2. As recorded in the book of Acts, here are some of the key elements of this great power in the lives of the early Christians:
- The Spirit gave them power to tackle some tremendous obstacles (2:47).
- The Spirit enabled them to break the barriers of foreign languages (2:6).
- The Spirit gave them courage to witness (2:36).
- Thousands of people were baptized (2:41).
- They were immersed in the Word of God (2:42).
- They studied the doctrines of the Church (2:42).
- They were fellowshipping together (2:42).
- They were eating and breaking bread (2:42).
- They spent time in prayer (2:42).
- The Spirit changed their daily lives (2:43- 47).
- They took time to praise God and witness for Him (2:46, 47).
- The apostles did wonders and signs (4:30).
- The Holy Spirit transformed unlearned men into scholars for Christ (4:13).
- The Holy Spirit gave them conviction and boldness (4:20).
- Their prayers shook the foundations of jails and filled the people with the Holy Spirit (4:31).
- Prison doors were opened and chains were broken as the apostles prayed (5:19).
- Miracles were performed by the apostles (3:6).
PRAYING FOR A REVIVAL IN THE CHURCH
1. We hear a lot of preaching and talking about the need for revival and reformation in the Church. Seventh-day Adventists believe that prayer is the key, the sine qua non, without which nothing will happen. Ellen G. White confirms this thought by saying that a “revival needs to be expected only in answer to prayer.”1 She goes on to explain: “A revival of true Godliness is the greatest and most urgent of our needs. . . . Our heavenly father is more willing to give His Spirit to them that ask Him, than are earthly parents to give good gifts to their children. But it is our work, by confession, humiliation, repentance, and earnest prayer, to fulfill the condition by which God has promised to grant us His blessings.”2
2. To make this a reality, Mrs. White tells us that there are some conditions: pray more, forgive more, and criticize less!
3. Another great obstacle for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is criticism, which is really a lack of love for those whom God created. We are not to judge; God is the Judge!
4. Again, Mrs. White gives us some insights into what will happen in the church when we commit ourselves to the Lord and pray earnestly for the coming of the Spirit: “When we have entire, wholehearted consecration to the service of Christ, God will recognize the fact by an outpouring of His spirit without measure; but this will not be while the largest portion of the church are not laborers together with God.”3
5. Again, prayer will be the key to revive the church and help its members witness for Christ. Thousands will be converted, and this message will touch even those “who have strayed from the fold.”4
Humbly, we ask the Lord, “What should we be praying to bring the power of the Spirit in our lives and empower the church to finish the task that is before us?” The book Last Day Events, by Ellen G. White, gives us some major points to pray and look for:
- A revival of true godliness (189).
- Obtain victory over pride, selfishness, love of the world, and every wrong word and action (192).
- Yield our souls to Christ (193).
- “By the power of the Holy Spirit the moral image of God is to be perfected in the character” (183).
- “By prayer and faith we are to continually seek more of the Spirit” (187).
- “We must put away all envy, all strife for the supremacy” (187).
Paul tells us what we need to do to make the outpouring of the Holy Spirit a reality: “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).
So our prayer should be, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Come, Holy Spirit!”
1 Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, v. 1, p. 121.
3 White, Evangelism, p. 699.
4 Ibid., 693.
General Conference Ministerial Association