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Praying in the Spirit: How the Prayer Language Comes

But what of Spirit baptism? There is no reason to think that you would be any less conscious of it than of water baptism. After all, it is a greater baptism performed by a powerful Baptizer. Not only that, but Paul implied that believers could know if they have been baptized in the Spirit when he asked the Ephesians if they received the Spirit after they believed (Acts 19:2); they would later receive this gift after water baptism and with charismatic evidence. Paul’s question to the Ephesians is meaningless if they could not sense such a baptism.

If we desire to worship, let us be filled. If we are filled, we will evidence it by (1) speaking; (2) singing; (3) giving thanks; and (4) submitting.

Not only is it perceptible to the recipient, but its evidence is observable by others. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (Acts 1:8). This power, though personal, will spill over into your individual ministry and lifestyle. Because this evidence is perceptible to others, the twelve disciples could direct the church to choose men for service who were “full of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 6:3). And Paul could see that certain Ephesian Christians were not filled with the Holy Spirit. Thus, he commanded them not to be “drunk on wine … instead, be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). Something must have made their deficiency discernible to Paul.

The verses immediately following Ephesians 5:18 suggest the evidences of the filling: “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (19-21).

Incidentally, do these verses suggest a connection between worship and the filling with the Spirit? Look again:

(1)     Speak with psalms, hymns, and songs.

(2)     Sing and make music to the Lord.

(3)     Give thanks to God.

(4)     Submit to one another for Christ.

Can you imagine what kind of worship would exist in a church where there were no speaking of psalms, no singing unto the Lord, no giving of thanks unto the Great Creator and Sustainer, and, finally, no caring for one another? No wonder Paul sensed that something was wrong at Ephesus!

If we desire to worship, let us be filled. If we are filled, we will evidence it by (1) speaking; (2) singing; (3) giving thanks; and (4) submitting. I call these lifestyle evidences. These come to mind when we are considering men and women for responsible ministries in the church. These are lifestyles, but before there was time for a lifestyle of worship to develop, there had to be an initial moment when the believer was introduced to this dimension of Christian living. Pentecostal/charismatics identify this moment as Spirit baptism.

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Category: Fall 2000, Spirit

About the Author: Robert W. Graves, M. A. (Literary Studies, Georgia State University), is the co-founder and president of The Foundation for Pentecostal Scholarship, Inc., a non-profit organization supporting Pentecostal scholarship through research grants. He is a Christian educator and a former faculty member of Southwestern Assemblies of God College in Waxahachie, Texas, and Kennesaw State University (adjunct). He edited and contributed to Strangers to Fire: When Tradition Trumps Scripture and is the author of Increasing Your Theological Vocabulary, Praying in the Spirit (1987 and Second Edition, 2017) and The Gospel According to Angels (Chosen Books, 1998).

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