You may have heard this story for the first time or the hundredth time, but it still excites and it still raises questions. What did it look like? Sound like? To see these ordinary men bursting with enthusiasm and energy in their worship of God. ‘What does this mean? Here are some starters:
The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to empower his church. Let me share briefly with you an event from a former church we worshipped with.
Betty (not her real name) left school as soon as she could with the bare minimum of qualifications. She is not what you would call an educated woman at all, but she loves the Lord and after giving her life to Jesus she was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and began to live her life in a new and wonderful way in the community and through the church. We held a worship and prayer conference in the church one year that attracted many visitors, locally, nationally and internationally. At the end of one meeting Betty was praying with other members of the church over a visitor and, as was our practice, she began to use her particular prayer language as she prayed in the spirit. At the end of the prayer time, the man said to her:
‘That was wonderful – thank you for those encouraging words, but please tell me … where did you learn to speak Hebrew?’
Betty could hardly string two words together in French, but she had opened herself up to God, asked Him for his help and power and had been given a very special message from God, for that man and that man alone. Only he understood it but Betty was used to deliver it. The gift of the Holy Spirit is for us all. He turns up the power. When we open ourselves up to new experiences from God, new things of God always happen.
Archbishop Justin Welby says:
‘The Holy Spirit is the gift of God for us all. We simply need to ask for that gift. Everyone can ask. In any place and at anytime. Of all the things we could do, I think this is what we need to do more than ever.’
You can pray that on your own but there is power in praying it with others. If I can help in anyway, it would be my privilege to do so.
Rev Dave Clark
Vicar of the Benefice of Upper Wensleydale