Several years ago, I was crying out for a greater expression of God’s power in my life. I was seeking Him in prayer regularly to see the kind of Holy Spirit demonstrations recorded in Scripture. I was hungry to see the effectiveness of the Gospel in ways described in the stories of the New Testament: the preaching of the word accompanied by signs, wonders, and miracles. Unfortunately, like many of us, I was downright cowardly when opportunities arose to share my faith and pray for others.
During this time, I went to a conference in Houston where they were teaching on the gifts of the Spirit. The testimonies of God’s power in the nations took my faith to a new level. We were visiting with some local friends, and when they heard what I was learning, they invited me to come with them to share and pray for a Muslim friend. After visiting with him, I saw a group of guys playing basketball on the court of the apartment complex. I suddenly felt the Holy Spirit’s clear prompting to share the Gospel with them. I was terrified and unsure about exactly what to do. But, as in simple obedience, I started to walk in their direction, supernatural boldness came over me.
All I knew to do was stop their game and shout at them to come over to me. I told them plainly, “I felt the Holy Spirit tell me to interrupt your basketball game and to be willing to look crazy in front of you for the sake of your souls.” None of them walked away, and as I shared the Gospel over the next few minutes, the Holy Spirit anointed it. At the end of sharing, I asked the young men who wanted to commit their lives to Jesus, and all of them raised their hands! I said if that was true then they needed to call out to Jesus right there on the spot to save them. We all held hands, and they began confessing their sins out loud, saying things like, “Jesus, I have been living wrong; forgive me.” After this, they dedicated their lives to God in prayer, and I prayed the Holy Spirit would come and fill them. One of the guys was so overtaken by God’s presence as we prayed that he couldn’t stand and dropped right down onto the ground.
This story paints a picture of what could be normal in our lives and what was normal in the early church. The first disciples boldly took the Gospel message to the known world through prayer, proclamation, and the power of the Holy Spirit. We see all three in Acts 4:29, which is a prayer for God’s power on the proclamation of the Gospel. In this passage, they cry out, “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus” (Acts 4:29-30 NKJV). Over and over again, we see this same pattern from the Gospels throughout the book of Acts: Prayer, Proclamation, and Power. When we begin in prayer, and with boldness, open our mouths to share, God will be faithful to stretch out His hand in power. Begin to cry out today that God would give you unusual opportunities to share the Gospel, and you will see His power on display!