by Brittney Chan
“...Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?...”
A page from my prayer journal, dated Feb. 12, 2012:
“I place it in Your hands, Lord. I don’t have control over many things, but I do have control over how much I seek You. I desire to fall into You. To lean on You, like John did. More than my future...more than my calling...more than obtaining the Holy Ghost…I just want You, Lord. You said that You’d draw me in just as close as I want to be, so I’m trusting it all to You.”
What makes us so different as Pentecostal Holiness Christians? A superficial answer might be that we ladies wear skirts and have long, uncut hair. While I fully support a sanctified lifestyle, I think it is important to note that an outward standard is not the epitome of falling in love with Jesus Christ. Believing in and promoting a continual personal experience with the third member of the Godhead is a keystone of our faith. As a freshman in Bible college, I penned the above words in my journal, having yet to be filled with the Holy Ghost.
I remember the start of my first year at Ozark Bible Institute (OBI). I made friends quickly and it was exciting to be around so many people of like faith and age. I loved being in the church services and saw each one as a chance to dig a little deeper in my faith. It felt like God was using every moment of the week (in classes, chapel, prayer bands, practicums, dorm devotions, etc.) to speak into my life and it felt so good to be at the center of His attention. Or rather, to have Him at the center of mine. I wanted so badly to be completely transparent with Him when I prayed.
But so much focus on my spiritual life allowed me to see one thing clearly: I lacked in a deeper relationship with Him because I had not experienced the Holy Ghost yet. This embarrassed me: I was 20-21 years old. I was raised in church. I sung, I prayed, I fasted, my dad had been the pastor my entire life and...I still didn’t have the Holy Ghost. I remember sitting in the floor of my friends’ dorm room and one of them asking, “Brittney, you don’t have the Holy Ghost??” [Insert emoji of girl with palm over face here] Had I been doing church the wrong way all this time?
Regardless of the reason behind my spiritual deficit, I knew I was at the point where God was calling me higher and I wanted to make the choice to answer Him. I was so hungry for more. I went to Bro. Micah Perry, a trusted mentor and the OBI Dean of Students at the time, and sought counsel from him. How was I supposed to go about this? He gave me various scriptures, but I specifically remember him telling me to expect it when I prayed. I started purposefully spending several lunches in the Kessler’s prayer room or stealing away from all the commotion in the girls’ dorm to pray. The journey took about a year and there were many times that I felt like my prayers were bouncing off the walls around me.
Doubt would creep in and provide every reason why I couldn’t receive this gift from Heaven: it was too late for me, I didn’t know how to pray the right way, my past made me broken and my brain injury made me unqualified.
I felt that pressure after every devotion I gave or every time I would lead prayer requests or testify. I mean, just imagine how powerful that could have been if I had the Holy Ghost. But you know what? God wouldn’t leave me alone and as long as He kept pursuing me, I was going to keep expecting it.
The account in Matthew 17 tells of a son possessed with demons. His father comes to Jesus and begs for His assistance. He said, “I went to your disciples, but they couldn’t help.” Jesus ministers to the need and the disciples begin questioning Him afterwards. Verse 19 reads, “Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?” There are a few things in His answer in verses 20 and 21 that would behoove us if we paid attention to them.
He answers, “Because of your unbelief.” Belief, or faith, is the key to unlocking the power of God.
And then Jesus gives a promise: “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, ‘Remove hence to yonder place’; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” The power of God can be ours and it is limitless.
But this promise comes with a condition: “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” If we want His power, we have to be willing to mirror His mindset. Prayer and fasting tune us out to worldly concerns and desires and open our hearts to receive the mind of God.
I spent a Friday and the following Monday fasting and praying for the baptism of the Holy Ghost. That night, we had an awesome devotion in the dorm. The power of God came down and healed bodies, hearts and minds. As we finished praying, some girls went back to their rooms for the night and others continued to pray. But after a while, the prayer service started overflowing to the upstairs rooms. A few girls and I had already started working on homework assignments, when we heard what was going on in the hallway. Hannah and Andrea escaped the schoolwork to go pray, but I had assignments that were already overdue. My procrastination had glued me to the seat. A few minutes later, Hannah popped her head back in the door: “Brittney, what are you doing? Don’t you want the Holy Ghost??” Yes, Han. “Then jump on it!” (Act on this opportunity to be in His presence!) Her encouragement led me out to the hallway and I started praying. Honestly, I was tired of seeking Him for something that had yet to come. So I started praising Him for what He’d done that night instead. Dontcha know that the Word tells us that He inhabits our praises? It wasn’t long before God started moving and around 2 AM on February 12, 2013, He filled me with His power! That was exactly one year after I had penned those words. I walked on clouds for the days following. Everyone could tell a difference in me!
The Pending Promise Became the Purposeful Promise
The book of Acts records the fulfillments of Jesus’ promise to send the Comforter to us and the first chapter gives us the reason why we need His power. Acts 1:8 says, “..Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
The baptism of the Holy Ghost brings His power, but it doesn’t just stop there! It will cause us to witness of Him every day. His power working in our lives should not be limited to our shout during the altar call while the fast songs are being sung or to the witness of our outward standards. His power works in us so that He can work through us. His power has a purpose and we cannot forget that!
So what does that look like in your life? I know that after I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, I had a strong desire for door to door ministry. I’m a talker...just in case you didn’t know… and God started using that, combined with the boldness of His Spirit, for His glory. The Holy Ghost has led me down a lot of different roads and I’ve been able to be a part of different ministries because I dared to be sensitive to His leading.
We cannot afford to walk throughout life without His Spirit. Did you know that Jesus never preached a sermon or performed a miracle before He was baptized in the Holy Ghost? If we really want to make a difference in the Kingdom of God, being endowed with His Spirit is imperative!
Sis, I encourage you to spend every morning being convinced of His Word, because the world will spend the rest of the day trying to convince you otherwise.
Act on the opportunity to be in His presence and be refilled with His power. Allow His Spirit to work on you so that He can work through you. You may not have the title of “preacher” or “preacher’s wife”, but there is still a job for you.
Can we pray?
“Lord, thank you for sending us the Holy Ghost and for providing a means for us to be Your representation in the world today. Allow us to be sensitive to Your will and compliant with Your desires. Empower us to be Your hands and feet in a life full of pain and heartbreak. Let our eyes be opened to the opportunities around us and fulfill the purpose of having Your power within us. Work through us for Your benefit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”