After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Acts 4:31 (NIV)

The baptism (in, with, or by) of the Holy Spirit is an overwhelming experience of the Spirit’s presence, power, and purity: a total submergence within the person of the Holy Spirit. This individual experience is instantaneous and may be reoccurring. The baptism refers to the initial work of the Spirit in uniting believers to Christ as well as on-going encounters with the Spirit bringing refreshment and strengthening in the Christian life. The baptism of the Holy Spirit brings intimacy with God,¬†illumination¬†of the Word of God, power for ministry, and hunger for holiness.

Question: The same day as your conversion you received the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

Answer: Yes, it happened like this: After dinner we were moving books and furniture to another law office. The thought took possession of my mind that as soon as I was alone in the new office, I would try to pray again.

Later, I made up a good fire in an open fireplace and accompanied Squire W. to the door. As I closed the door and turned around, my heart seemed to be liquid within me. All my feelings seemed to rise and flow out, and the utterance of my heart was, I want to pour our my whole soul out to God. The rising of my soul was so great that I rushed into the room back of the front office to pray.

There was no fire there and no light; nevertheless it appeared to me as if it were perfectly light. As I went in and shut the door after me, it seemed as if I met the Lord Jesus Christ face-to-face. It did not occur to me then, nor did it for some time afterward, that it was wholly a mental state. On the contrary, it seemed to me that I saw Him as I would see any other man. He said nothing, but looked at me in such a manner as to break me right down at His feet.

I have always since regarded this as a most remarkable state of mind, for it seemed to me a reality that He stood right before me, and I feel down at His feet and poured out my soul to Him. I wept aloud like a child, and made such confessions as I could with my choked utterance. It seemed to me that I bathed His feet with my tears, and yet I had no distinct impression that I touched Him, that I recollect.

Charles G. Finney, Evangelist. Popular books: Lectures on Revival, Autobiography, and Systematic Theology.

Leona Frances Choy, Powerlines: What Great Evangelicals Believed About the Holy Spirit 1850-1930 (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1990), 79.