3 Ways to Unlock the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Life Today

The question for us is not “Can I be filled with the Holy Spirit,” but, how can I respond to the Holy Spirit? Below are three ways to respond to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
Updated May 28, 2024
3 Ways to Unlock the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Life Today

“Suddenly, there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” - Acts 2:2-4

Picture the scene. The disciples are all together in one place.   Scholars believe that the disciples were within the walls of the temple. The books of Luke and Acts make clear that, following Christ’s ascension, the disciples were always in the temple praising God. They prayed together, sang together, and encouraged each other.  Then, without warning, they hear a sound like a mighty wind. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit – who has always been present but not always recognized– now descends upon them in a powerful way. They feel the inner vibrancy of faith pulsating within them. And with that Spirit comes an inner clarity about Jesus and confidence in their faith. Moreover, the disciples develop an inward strength and resolve.   With boldness they step outside of their zones of comfort and let other people know the good news of Christ. 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if such an event happened today?

Pentecost isn’t just a past event. The Holy Spirit is still at work in our lives. True, we may not experience sounds of rushing wind or tongues of fire falling upon us, but that same inner pulse of divine fire that flowed into the disciples also flows inside of us.  

The question for us, then, is not “Can I be filled with the Holy Spirit,” but, how can I respond to the Holy Spirit? Below are three ways to respond to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

1. Growing Closer to Jesus Through the Holy Spirit

Scripture makes clear that one of the primary roles of the Holy Spirit is to lead us into all truth. In fact, the Holy Spirit leads and is sometimes called the spirit of truth (John 16:13). It is the Spirit that opens our minds to understand the scriptures and thus responds to the truth of the gospel. Faith is always a response to the leading of the Spirit. We are always growing in our understanding of scripture and our relationship with Christ.

Of course, having the Spirit lead us into truth doesn’t mean we will never have any questions. Questions, struggles, and even doubts are natural in the life of faith. In fact, sometimes, the Holy Spirit uses questions as a tool to help us gain a deeper understanding of our faith. 

Yet the truth that the Spirit leads us into is always rooted in an acknowledgment of Jesus as the risen Lord.   Paul writes that no one can say “Jesus is Lord, but by the Spirit of God” (1Corithians 12:3). Similarly, those who deny the Lordship of Jesus have clearly removed themselves from the Spirit. Jesus is clear, the truth that the Spirit leads us into is a truth rooted in his own identity. The Holy Spirit leads us closer to Jesus. Jesus says, “The Spirit will bring glory to me by taking what is mine and making it known to you” (John 16:14).  Ultimately, the spirit of truth connects us to the one who said, “I am the truth” (John 14:6)

Therefore, one way to respond to the Spirit’s leading is to allow the Spirit to help you deepen your faith in Jesus. Instead of allowing a question or a doubt to make you step away from the church or close the bible, what if asked the Spirit to help you see Christ more clearly?  What would it look like you to read the Bible with the Holy Spirit and invite the Spirit to point out words, images, or verses that speak to you? Being guided into the truth of Jesus is not a one-time thing, nor is it a simple process. Guidance of the Spirit is a continuous reality and one that we must always keep ourselves open to.

2. Empowered Prayers through the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit brings life and vitality to our prayers.  Paul writes, “We don’t always know how to pray as we ought, but in those times helps us in our weakness, and intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26). The Spirit helps us pray in those times when we don’t know what to say.  

This is good news for us. The fact is, we all experienced those times when we felt our prayer life had grown cold.  Perhaps we doubt the effectiveness of our prayers. The Holy Spirit is given to us precisely for such times. When we don’t know how to pray, the Spirit prays for us and works through us.

We never pray alone; the Spirit is always present. In the places of our wandering minds, or in or starts and stutters of prayer, the Spirit is active. When we open ourselves to the presence of the Spirit, we find that the Spirit communicates with us. We may find expressions and prayerful phrases erupt within us, people or situations may appear in our minds, and we may find inner clarity to questions or situations in our lives. These are things that the Spirit works within us.

Still, we need to respond to the Spirit’s promptings. We must be bold in following the impulses of the Spirit. This is what we see in scripture. The early church, seen in the Book of Acts, was a continuous body of prayer.  Disciples held an audacious belief that their prayers could affect people's lives because of the Spirit’s presence. They were fearless in prayer.   As a result, the church grew as people’s lives were touched by the gracious and healing presence of Christ.

Where are you called to be fearless in prayer?  Can you be bold and pray for someone the Spirit leads you to? Like the disciples, we dare to believe the promise that the “prayers of the righteous our powerful” (James 5:17

Where might the Spirit be asking you to pray boldly?

3. The Spirit's Power in Our Witness

The Spirit empowers our Christian witness. The Spirit calls us to be stretched in mission and ministry. Leading us into all truth isn’t just about strengthening our experience of Bible study, nor is the Spirit’s presence in our prayers just about making us feel comfortable in our prayer closets.  The Spirit descends upon us so that we can proclaim the truth of Jesus. The spirit empowers our prayers so we can pray for others.  The spirit calls us outwards.  

This is what we see on the day of Pentecost. The spirit falls upon the disciples, empowering them to proclaim the message of Jesus. Furthermore, the Spirit worked to ensure the proclamation was heard in the way it needed to be heard. Each person heard the gospel in their own language.  This was entirely the work of the Spirit. It was not like Peter decided to speak to those from Rome, Bartholomew spoke to the Phrygians, and Thomas went to those from Mesopotamia. The disciples merely responded to the work of the Spirit, and the Spirit did the rest.

True Christian witness is never rooted in our ability or aptitudes. Our witness in this world is to be guided by the Spirit. This is good news for us, because it means we release ourselves from the need to produce ‘results’. Ultimately, our witness is nothing more than a response to the message that the Spirit places in our hearts.

Where is the Spirit calling you in witness? Are you being asked to step outside of your zone of comfort and trust that the Spirit’s good work?  Witnessing to our faith can feel scary at times, but it is only in moving outside our comfort that we get to witness the miraculous power of the Spirit at work.

Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images Plus/Aleksandra Golubtsova

SWN authorThe Reverend Dr. Kyle Norman is the Rector of St. Paul’s Cathedral, located in Kamloops BC, Canada.  He holds a doctorate in Spiritual formation and is a sought-after writer, speaker, and retreat leader. His writing can be found at Christianity.com, crosswalk.comibelieve.com, Renovare Canada, and many others.  He also maintains his own blog revkylenorman.ca.  He has 20 years of pastoral experience, and his ministry focuses on helping people overcome times of spiritual discouragement.

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