He Wants Us to Ask
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
My testimony of Spirit-infilling is not intended to be a formula or a model or a pattern for others, but a testimony of God’s faithfulness. I asked for more of his Holy Spirit in my life and ministry and God answered. I found that I lack power for witness that morning in Dallas and by that afternoon God provided through a bold petite African-American witness. God’s word’s was true, “Ask and our Heavenly Father will give us the Holy Spirit” (Luke 11:13).
The Persistent Neighbor
Let us examine Luke 11:5-13 and discern what Jesus would want us to do. The context of the chapter is prayer, with Jesus telling a parable describing a persistent neighbor. In that parable, the main character is the next-door neighbor. He has suddenly received an unexpected guest. The neighbor is very needy because he lives in an age where food is not readily available. He has to care for his guest, and he does not have the resources to provide. He goes to his sleeping neighbor and asks for his leftover bread. The neighbor is perturbed. If he gets out of bed, he will awaken his whole family who are all asleep in the same bed with him. Any parent knows the difficulty of getting a group of children to go asleep, but now the needy neighbor wants to disturb them. Yet, the sleeping neighbor does hand over his leftover bread because of the friendâ€™s boldness. Jesus commends the friendâ€™s boldness as a true characteristic of genuine prayer. All God wants us to do is to ask and to ask boldly! â€œWhich of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!â€ (Luke 11:13, NIV). How to we receive the Holy Spirit? We ask and we ask boldly!
However, we must have a flexible attitude. Whatever type of bread the Father decides to give must be acceptable to us. Many times, we will say â€œWe want the bread of the Holy Spirit!â€ but when God gives it we say, â€œThis is not the kind of bread we wanted!â€ â€œNo Lord, I wanted rye, wheat, or pumpernickel!â€ When the Holy Spirit comes whatever gifts he wants to display through us, we must be willing to receive. Remember the gifts of the Holy Spirit are just that-gifts. Gifts are for blessing, for encouragement, and for spiritual growth. The purpose of the charismata is to bring you and me, as the Body of Christ, into a deeper love relationship with Jesus. So, Let us ask! [Robert Smith, Jr., â€œChristian Preaching Practicumâ€ [class notes] (Birmingham, AL: Beeson Divinity School, 2002), April 30.]
Like the disciples, all God desires is that we recognize that we are at our witâ€™s end and we cannot go on any farther without him. All he waits for us to do is ask! Then, he will come and pour his presence upon us, bathe us in his love, and display his great and mighty mercy. The Holy Spirit will come and will reveal Jesus to us. If you desire more of the Holy Spirit, pray boldly, and you will be filled afresh with the sweetness of his presence.
Glenn E. Davis, â€œWho Is the Holy Spirit for Us Today?â€, Pilgrims on the Sawdust Trail, ed., Timothy George (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 97.