Subscribe via RSS Feed

Praying in the Spirit: How the Prayer Language Comes

Although faith, love, or joy may be a result of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, these are characteristics that may go unnoticed initially, especially by others. These long-range evidences are certainly important, but the Bible indicates that there is immediate, observable evidence to confirm that Spirit baptism has taken place. What is the immediate confirmation in the mind of the believer, and what is the evidence—the “wet clothes” of water baptism—to convince the believing community?

We have an important clue in the reaction of Simon to his Samaritan neighbors who received the Holy Spirit. This story demonstrates the presence of an immediate, observable phenomenon that accompanies and verifies the Spirit baptism event (Acts 8:18). Here was a man who was considered to be more than mere man. As an accomplished and respected sorcerer, they called him “the divine power known as the Great Power” (Acts 8: 10). It was said that Simon amazed the people, but when Philip came into that city with the power of almighty God, it was Simon who was amazed. It was said that the people followed Simon; now it was Simon who followed Philip. So great were the signs and miracles Philip exhibited that even Simon the magician believed and was baptized.

Yet apparently something was missing. The people believed; the people were baptized in water. Wasn’t that enough? When Peter and John arrived in Samaria they found out that the people “had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus” (8:16). The Holy Spirit had not come upon them. Though they had “received” the Holy Spirit as a salvation event, they had not “received” the Holy Spirit as a vocational event.

We do not win; we do not earn. We simply believe.

When Peter and John discovered that the Spirit had not fallen upon them (and how did they know unless something observable or perceptible was missing?), they laid hands on them and prayed for them and the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit. How did anyone know that they received the Holy Spirit? Something happened to them! And it was so powerful, so spectacular that Simon actually saw it and tried to buy this power from the apostles.

Since Luke writes that exorcisms, healings, miracles, and great joy (Acts 8:7-8,13) occurred during Philip’s ministry and Simon was privy to all these, it is safe to assume that what Simon saw was something other than these phenomena.

What was the evidence? An examination of all passages in which the immediate, observable evidence of Spirit baptism is described yields one common denominator: glossolalia, that is. speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance. “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues … declaring the wonders of God” (Acts 2:4, 11). The “gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God” (Acts 10:45). The “Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:6).

Pin It
Page 3 of 812345...Last »

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Fall 2000, Spirit

About the Author: Robert W. Graves is the author of Increasing Your Theological Vocabulary, Praying in the Spirit (Chosen, 1987) and The Gospel According to Angels (Chosen Books, 1998). He is a Christian educator and a former faculty member of Southwestern Assemblies of God College in Waxahachie, Texas, and Kennesaw State University (adjunct). Graves currently heads a real estate consulting firm in Woodstock, Georgia. He 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 member of the Society for Pentecostal Studies.

  • Connect with PneumaReview.com

    Subscribe via Twitter 1259 Followers   Subscribe via Facebook Fans
  • Recent Comments

  • Featured Authors

    Amos Yong is Professor of Theology & Mission and director of the Center for Missiological Research at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena. His graduate education includes degree...

    Jelle Creemers: Theological Dialogue with Classical Pentecostals

    Craig S. Keener, Ph.D. (Duke University), is F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is author of many books<...

    Listening for God’s Voice and Heart in Scripture: A conversation with Craig S. Keener

    William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major w...

    Evangelist of Pentecostalism: The Rufus Moseley Story

    Wolfgang Vondey, Ph.D. (Marquette University) and M.Div. (Church of God Theological Seminary), is Reader in Contemporary Christianity and Pentecostal Studies at the Universit...

    Steven Felix-Jager: Pentecostal Aesthetics