Have you ever experienced that conscience-searing “whooping” you get when you botched a God moment? A God moment could be one circumstance where you know the right thing to do yet fail (See James 4:17). Unfortunately, I have had numerous experiences. 

One situation that still bugs me happened almost a decade ago. 

Our second-hour children’s church was coming to an end. I felt as though I had perfectly orchestrated the step-by-step guidance of taking our elementary students before the throne of God; everything I planned was working, and even the wiggly kids were motionless.

Suddenly, the back door swung open, and a family entered. This was the family that, when they did show, they were typically late, unkept, and often odorous. I put on an indifferent face and ushered them to a seat but did nothing to welcome them, and then class ended.

Enter in the Holy Spirit‘s nudging. 

Regardless of how late someone may arrive, I now know they won. I will go above and beyond to accept them.

Listen for the Holy Spirit

It was time for the Holy Spirit to take me to class. He gently asked me, “How many battles do you think this mom fought to get this family to church?” I did not know. I did know they had a bunch of kids, struggled with finances, and the dad was of a different religion. 

The Spirit then prompted, how many times you think Satan said, “Just give up, you are way too late, there is no point.” I did not know, but I knew myself; I probably would have given up long before this mom. 

father and daughter on river bank
Credit: Getty Images/DigitalVision/Oliver Rossi

That memory sticks with me today, as I purpose to welcome all into class with an honest, welcoming smile and greeting. Regardless of how late someone may arrive, I now know they won. I will go above and beyond to accept them. Plus, I want to encourage the parents because they persevered and beat back the enemy on another front! They chose not to give up, and we (the Church) cannot give up on them. 

We know that the Holy Spirit is a gift to every believer, leading and guiding us to be fruitful. If you are like me, you pray that these negative lessons will be fewer and fruit-bearing opportunities will be more regular.

The key is prayer. 

Numerous Bible verses point to the Spirit’s work in the believer’s life. However, the query presents itself: where does one begin? My go-to Scripture on spiritual growth is Luke 11:13 NIVTM

“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!”  

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Step one: Ask.

I pray for ministry opportunities and Bible classes, but I often get bogged down in the logistics and need to remember to ask for the Spirit. Praying for the Spirit is crucial when volunteers or parents make you aware of a problematic situation; rather than offering to place them in prayer, do it with them right then and there.

How do you do this? Just ask, “Can I pray for you now?” I have never had someone refuse my request to pray with them.

Step two: Listen.

When seeking guidance from the Spirit as I prepare for a lesson or anticipate a tough conversation, I am often temporarily disappointed as answers rarely appear instantly. However, I have noticed that with time and faithfully seeking what God would have me to say, He often provides answers in the morning.

I often arise with what He wants me to say swimming around in my mind and His peace to share it. My go-to Scripture is Isaiah 50:4 NIV:

“The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.”

Ask God to equip you with the power of the Holy Spirit, to give you ideas for your lesson, and to speak through you when presenting. He is the power that works within us, for He is the God of the Impossible!

The key is prayer. 

“Now to Him who can do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 NASB

mother and daughter laying on couch
Credit: Getty Images/Maskot/Maskot

Step three: Obey.

During a brief downtime during a mission trip, some friends and I discussed potential adventures we hoped to experience someday.

One of the young men paused and said, “You know, I think the coolest thing I could ever do is feel like God prompted me to do something and then do it. Then later, I found out that God utilized me as a direct answer to someone’s prayer.”

I thought, “Wow, I want God to use me that way too!” Now, I try to obey immediately whenever I feel prompted to do something good, especially when it is not on my immediate radar. My go-to verse is Galatians 5:25 ESV.

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

How do I practice “walking in the Spirit’s obedience?” It is the daily process of internal transformation, moving from self-centeredness to God-centered. The Spirit does this by renewing our minds (our understanding of Who God is) and our hearts. He often provides impromptu ways to encourage and support your teams.

When you are sensitive to the Spirit’s leading, you will likely notice the needy people along the way. Stop them right then and pray for the Holy Spirit to equip them and speak through them as they disciple them unto Him. 

God utilizes us to accomplish His work, which starts in your heart and then overflows to others. This week, ask the Father to fill you with the Spirit, listen to His prompting, and obey wherever He leads.