Receiving the Holy Spirit Baptism
Below is a biblical guideline on receiving
the baptism in the Holy Spirit based on the examples of New Testament believers.
You must first receive Jesus
Christ as Savior.
Before you can receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, you must be born again
(that is, spiritually conceived again
). This "new birth" is a spiritual baptism whereby God cleanses you from all sin, makes you a "new creation" in Christ, and quickens (makes alive) your spirit by the indwelling
of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples in Luke 24:49: "And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high."
The disciples most likely received the indwelling
of the Holy Spirit when they saw and believed in the risen Lord (see John 20:22), but they received the baptism in the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This baptism was the "power from on high" to make them bold witnesses for Christ.
Be water baptized as a
profession of your faith.
Although you can be baptized in the Holy Spirit prior to being baptized in water (see Acts 10:47), water baptism
by full immersion is an important step in walking out your faith. It outwardly demonstrates the inner work of God in your heart and often helps prepare you to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The Scripture says that there are "three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one"
(I John 5:8). This verse could be applied to spiritual baptism, which has three facets: baptism in the blood of Jesus, baptism in water, and baptism in the Holy Spirit. A believer should experience all three.
In Acts 8:12-17, Philip preached the Gospel with power, and people were water baptized to show that they received his message. "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women."
Afterwards, Peter and John came to these believers and "prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: for as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus [water baptism]. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost."
Later in the book of Acts, Luke recounted Paul's conversation with some believers in Ephesus. These men had repented of their sins but had never heard of the Holy Spirit. Paul asked them, "'Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?' And they said unto him, 'We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.' And he [Paul] said unto them, 'Unto what then were ye baptized?' And they said, 'Unto John's baptism' [water baptism]."
Paul then explained that John's baptism pointed to Christ. And "when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied"
Prepare your heart to receive
the Holy Spirit baptism.
Brothers and sisters in Christ
, God will fill you with the Holy Spirit, but first you must walk in repentance
and be willing to humble yourself to receive His gift by faith. The Lord looks not at the outward appearance but He looks on the heart (see I Samuel 16:7). Is your heart broken and contrite? Is it repentant? Is it hungry for Him? A pure heart, emptied of all pride, is one that is ready to be filled. "And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us"
Ask your Heavenly Father to
fill you with His Holy Spirit.
The infilling of (immersion in) the Holy Spirit is a gift for those who earnestly desire and ask for it. "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled"
(Matthew 5:6). Jesus said in Luke 11:13, "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?"
This gift of the Holy Spirit, Who is the Comforter
, is sent by the Father and the Son. "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me"
We cannot merit or deserve the baptism in the Holy Spirit; it is a free gift of the Father, and He is no respector of persons (see Romans 2:11). Every disciple of Jesus can receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit by faith (see Acts 15:8). In Acts 10:44-45 Luke wrote, "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision [the Gentiles or non-Jews] which believed were astonished, as many came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Receive the baptism in the
Holy Spirit through prayer
Although you can receive the infilling of the Spirit in the privacy of your own home, sometimes it is helpful to have someone who is filled with the Holy Ghost lay hands on you and pray over you. This was common in the book of Acts (see 9:17-18 and 19:6). Here is a sample prayer to get you started:
"Heavenly Father, You said in Your Word, '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). So I come to You as Your child, with a pure and hungry heart, desiring the infilling of Your Holy Spirit. Let Your Spirit rise up within me as I praise You. I'm asking You in the name of Jesus (Messiah Yeshua) to baptize me with the Holy Spirit."
Humble yourself before the Lord and begin worshipping and praising Him from your heart. The Bible says, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ"
Be willing to speak in a new
tongue as the Spirit gives
While you are worshipping the Lord with all your heart, begin to praise Him for filling you with the Holy Spirit. You may sense joy and peace bubbling up inside you, as well as words or syllables which are not in your own language. Do not be afraid to speak forth these words, but begin to boldly worship and praise Him in the words that He gives you. That is the language of the Holy Spirit. Please note that the Lord will not force you to speak in tongues, but you may if you wish. He gives the utterance; you simply cooperate in speaking.
As the reality of God's promised blessing fills you, let it set you free. Step out in faith. Open your mouth and begin speaking in a language that only God could understand. The language of tongues does not come about through natural mental processes, but through the Spirit (see I Corinthians 14:14-15). "For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries"
(I Corinthians 14:2).
Seek the Lord's presence and
pray in the Spirit daily.
Every day, you are encouraged to come into the presence of the Lord and find rest and refreshing by worshipping Him and praying in the Spirit. "For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing"
(Isaiah 28:11-12; also see Acts 3:19).
Praying in the Spirit is a marvelous way to communicate with God. The Holy Spirit knows what is needed and actually intercedes for us with groanings which cannot be uttered: "Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now he who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God"
Continue to seek the Lord Jesus with all your heart and read His Word as if it were your daily sustenance. Your spirit will grow stronger from each moment spent in God's wonderful presence, and the Holy Spirit will teach, empower, and equip you for every good work. Jude 1:20 states: "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost."
Through this process of spiritual growth, the Lord will teach you what it means to walk in the Spirit
so that you do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (see Galatians 5:16). Moreover, He will bring about a fuller manifestation of your spiritual gifts and empower you with boldness in your faith.
Hindrances to Receiving the Baptism
There are a few hindrances to receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit. These must be dealt with before the Spirit will come with power.
- Doubt — Unbelief (doubt) is the worst enemy of faith. You will not be able to come to God or receive from Him without faith. "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6). When approaching God, doubts such as "What if the infilling of the Holy Spirit doesn't happen for me?" must be conquered with the shield of faith. Listening to the world (television, media, certain friends and music) will tear down your faith and cause doubts, so build up your faith by reading and hearing the Word. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God"
- Pride — In the presence of Jehovah, no person will find approval in his own merits; for God alone gets the glory. The Bible tells us that God
has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the wise, and
the "things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence" (I Corinthians 1:27-29). Pride shows up when a person seeks the praise of others or desires the power of the Holy Spirit to serve his or her own lusts (read the example of Simon in Acts 8:14-25 who tried to buy the Holy Spirit with money). God resists the proud heart, but He gives grace
to the humble heart. We must therefore humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God (see I Peter 5:5-6). "The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite [humble] spirit" (Psalm 34:18). Being filled with the Holy Spirit does not make someone better than another and should never be a reason for prideful comparison
- Fear — The Bible tells us to fear God only, for when you fear Him, you will have no need to fear anyone or anything else. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding" (Proverbs 9:10). This kind of fear is an awesome reverence and respect for Him Who is holy; it is recognizing how all-powerful our God (Jehovah) really is. For a Christian, the fear of God is the secret to inner peace. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee" (Isaiah 26:3). The children of God can approach the throne of grace with boldness because of Jesus Christ. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16). There is no place for fear of
rejection when seeking the baptism in the Holy Spirit, for your Heavenly Father delights in giving good gifts to His children. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (II Timothy 1:7). "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love" (I John 4:18).