WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE WORLD THESE DAYS?
“But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia… But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come… Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince.” (Daniel 10:13, 20-21)
An angelic messenger spoke these words to Daniel after he had sought God concerning the exile of God’s people, and they offer us insight into the spiritual realm where a great deal more than we imagine is going on!
From these verses alone we cannot form a complete understanding of spiritual forces that oppose us and God’s purposes. But other Bible texts reinforce the reality of ‘forces’ far beyond Hollywood’s vision:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
It can be helpful, to understand world events and geo-political struggles in light of what we learn from the Book of Daniel: nations, cultures, people-groups, etc. are not just the result of coincidental history, geography or language. Rather, much of the ‘personality’ of cultures and the ‘make-up’ of national psyches are due to spiritual ‘princes’ that remain invisible to the natural eye. The rise and influence of many political or ideological ‘groups’ is governed by far more than current events. Spiritual forces / beings and the currents they create in the invisible dimension are very real players on the world stage. Understanding that fact helps us to pray about what’s going on in the world these days; the same has been going on for centuries and centuries.
So how do we stand strong as believers in such a troubled God denying world? We simply follow the original master plan.
BEING BAPTISED IN THE SPIRIT
If we acknowledge Jesus as our Saviour, the Spirit is already present in our life. The Holy Spirit identifies us as children of God, those He calls His own (Romans 8:9; 16; Galatians 4:6). Without Him, we have no relationship with the Lord. The Holy Spirit lives within every believer’s spirit.
At the Passover before Jesus was betrayed and crucified, He said to His followers, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). They did. Right then. But several weeks later, He announced to those same disciples: “You shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:5), and they were on the day we now refer to as Pentecost, when they were manifestly empowered by the Holy Spirit in the upper room (Acts 2:1-4).
The presence of the Spirit gives us miraculous (spiritual) life; the baptism in the Spirit gives us miraculous (spiritual) empowerment to share that life with others. This is why Jesus told His disciples to take the gospel into the entire world, but only after they received “[miraculous] power” by being “baptised with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:8).
It is one thing to receive the Spirit in our life, and another to be baptised in Him. While the two happenings can easily occur at the same time, and often do, they are not identical to one another. A few instances in the life of the early church demonstrate the distinction between receiving the Spirit when we believe, and being baptised in the Spirit at another time. The most notable example is when Paul laid his hands on disciples in Ephesus, after they believed and were baptised in water, and “the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying” (Acts 19:6).
PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT
God wants our spiritual life to intersect our daily life. In a very simple but profound way, the baptism in/of the Holy Spirit, and the supernatural enablements that come with it, bring us back to the most central themes of our walk with God: Grace (being empowered and enabled by God) and Faith (choosing to act upon the words and promptings of God). One of the best examples of His choice to use nonsensical, counter-intuitive ways to accomplish His purposes is praying in the Spirit. This is sometimes known as praying/speaking in tongues, this supernatural ability to pray in a language our natural mind never learned, is usually one of the signs that accompanies the baptism in the Spirit. The most immediate consequence of being baptised in the Spirit was their sudden ability to speak to God with words that went beyond their understanding (Acts 2:4).
A short while later, they spilled out into the marketplace streets and began to declare “the mighty deeds of God” in languages they did not know or understand (Acts 2:11). When bystanders ridiculed them, Peter explained that this phenomenon was an outpouring of God’s Spirit, as prophesied by (Joel 2:28-29). Isaiah also spoke of how God would one day speak to people, who relied too much on their natural abilities, “through stammering lips and a foreign tongue” (Isaiah 28:11-12).
When we are baptised in the Holy Spirit, we receive a language with which to speak and pray beyond the limits of our natural understanding. Our natural mind does not know what we are praying when we pray in the Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:14). Though our mind does not know the spiritual language, our spirit does because the Holy Spirit dwells in our spirit, and God’s Spirit teaches our spirit how to intercede more deeply and insightfully than any combination of learned vocabulary our natural understanding can piece together (Romans 8:26-27). Spiritual language by-passes the limitations of our natural vocabulary in order to pray and praise with spiritual words “not taught by human wisdom” (1 Corinthians 2:13).
When we pray in tongues, we actively co-operate with the Holy Spirit as He directs and leads our prayers. Those Spirit-activated prayers frequently deal with issues or needs in our life that are too profound, or too ill-defined to “put into words” (Romans 8:26). We speak “mysteries” – truths that cannot be comprehended or uttered by naturally taught language (1 Corinthians 14:2). As a consequence, praying in the Spirit strengthens and develops us (1 Corinthians 14:4); it is one way we can build ourselves up in faith (Jude 20). And because our conscious mind is not that engaged, we can pray in the Spirit throughout our daily activities (Ephesians 6:18).
Have you been baptised in the Holy Spirit?
If not, come and have a chat and we will readily pray with you to receive.
In Jesus Name