Reviving the Spirit Within

by Rose McCormick Brandon

Reviving the Spirit Within

Editor’s note: What activities replace this priority in our lives today? Consider this challenge from Rose Brandon.

I’m not the first believer to realize that being baptized with the Holy Spirit is more than a one-time experience. The renowned Christian author Catherine Marshall writes that after the initial infilling of the Spirit her tendency to be self-centred gradually crept back in. “I needed repeated fillings if I were ever to become the mature person God meant me to be,” she confessed.

It’s not only a tendency to self-centredness that dries up the inner well of God’s Spirit. Life’s worries, disappointments—with God, our own selves, and others—grudges, resentments, and an assortment of other spirit-killers clog up the river that once flowed freely within. In those dry times my soul is poorly fed and I have little to share with others.

I’ve often asked for a refilling of the Holy Spirit. It always requires some work on my part, but God has never refused to fill me again.

Come Clean with God

If I am to be once again filled with His Spirit, I need to be honest with God. He wants my true feelings—such as how I’m upset that certain prayers haven’t been answered, my perception that He’s rooting for the other side, and my dismay at how certain sisters and brothers seem to be flying in the enemy’s plane.

It takes courage to pray David’s prayer: “Look deep into my heart, O God, and see if there is any wickedness there.” He wants me to lay it all on the table—the grudges, the insistence on having my own way, prayerlessness, anger, envy, jealousy, the whole rotting mess. Coming clean with God means recognizing and confessing the evil within. A common identification mark of every true revival is confession of sin; this is no less true of a one-person revival.

If we are to revive the Holy Spirit within, the masks we very often wear must come off. Churches are not usually places where we can bare our souls and allow people to see our spiritual needs, but some prayer settings and Bible study groups are safe places. A trusted Christian friend can be invaluable when it comes to shedding masks. Confession to God and to others gives definition to the process of personal revival.

“If we are to revive the Holy Spirit within, the masks we very often wear must come off.”

Ask for Renewal

It’s always important for us to tell God what we want from Him. When feeling void of His Spirit I pray something like this:

            “Father, I need a refilling of your Holy Spirit. I’m so empty, and I feel lost. I admit that my condition is my own fault. I’ve neglected the Holy Spirit. Father, forgive me and begin your holy work of renewal in me.”

Prayer Language

It’s easy to neglect the use of our prayer language when we don’t hear many sermons, teachings and testimonies about this aspect of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, praying in tongues is a provision from God, and, logically, He expects us to use all that He provides.

When we pray in tongues our faith is encouraged. We draw closer to God. We yield ourselves to Him and in humility exchange our emptiness for His fullness.

In times of distress, I’ve found that praying in tongues is exactly what I’ve needed. The Spirit takes the burdens of my heart and expresses them to the Father in a way that I cannot. As the cry of my soul is lifted to Him, He releases the heaviness within me. I feel hopeful and joyful again even though nothing in my circumstances has changed.

David DuPlessis, leader of the worldwide Pentecostal movement in the mid-1900s, expresses what many Christians believe: “I do not think anyone has ever fathomed the depth and the grace that comes from praying with the Spirit. No wonder Paul thanked God that he prayed with tongues more than all.”

“The Spirit may ask us to cease from whatever we are doing that contributes to the pile of debris that stops the free flow of His Spirit within us.”

Obey the Spirit

The Spirit calls us to prayer. Since prayer is the fuel that drives the believer’s engine, carving time out of each day for prayer is essential. We may want to read a book, watch television or work on a pressing project, but we hear the Spirit’s gentle call to prayer.  Consistently turning a deaf ear to the Spirit’s voice leads to a dry and empty inner life.

The Spirit may ask us to cease from whatever we are doing that contributes to the pile of debris that stops the free flow of His Spirit within us. The Spirit guides us to speak, keep quiet, listen, pray, help, give and love. He intersects our steps with those of another for a godly purpose. He gives dreams, visions and direction. He worships the Father through us. He functions through us. He gives us power to fast and pray. He provides spiritual energy and often physical, emotional and mental strength as well. The Book of Acts is part of a record of all the amazing things He does.

Jesus said, “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever, the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him for he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:16, NIV).

In using the word Counselor, meaning literally Paraclete, Jesus was telling us that the Spirit would walk beside us and be our constant companion. In my journey with Jesus I often need to get re-acquainted with this beloved companion. The good news is that He always wants to get re-acquainted with me.

Pray

At the time of writing, Rose McCormick Brandon was an award-winning personal experience writer. Her articles appear in several publications in Canada and the U.S., including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Today’s Pentecostal Evangel, Decision and others. She also writes Bible studies and devotionals for Daily Boost and edits biographies. Rose lives in Caledonia, Ont., with her husband, Doug. They have three adult children and two grandchildren. Contact Rose at rosembrandon@yahoo.ca or visit her blog, Listening to my Hair Grow, at rosemccormickbrandon.wordpress.com.

This article appeared in the April 2006 issue of testimony, the monthly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. ©2006 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Photo © istockphoto.com.

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