If you love Me, keep My commandment. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. John 14:15-18
As mentioned in the second chapter of this book, I first encountered the Holy Spirit when I picked up the book Good Morning, Holy Spirit by Benny Hinn. It was October 1997, a year after I gave my life to the Lord, and that started my amazing journey. This book radically changed my life, transforming everything that I thought I knew. The most beautiful thing is that every day there’s something new that I learn. The first thing I really loved about this book was when Benny Hinn said that the Holy Spirit is a person, and in Him you have a new friend that has come into your life, someone you can speak to daily; you can even say good morning to Him. This gave me a new way of thinking. Whenever I go on this journey, I come to a realisation of how special it is that I have this friend that’s living with me.
He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him. John 14:21
If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. John 14:23
As you start to get acquainted with the Holy Spirit, stand on the Word when it says that we will never be left orphans. I had felt like an orphan, all alone. I was a weak person, and anyone who knew me before I met the Lord would agree. I was weak and fragile, but when I met Holy Spirit, I came to the realisation that I really had a friend now, someone I could depend and rely on. He is not just a person, He is God, He is the Spirit of the Father and of Jesus. So, there started the journey in 1997. When John the Baptist spoke about Jesus, he said in Luke 3:16: ‘I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.’
So think about it – the Holy Spirit comes to live with you, and He is not just God, but He is a person. When I had this revelation in my room, I was completely awestruck; I thought you had to go to a meeting to experience something like this. I was radically touched in my room in Chennai, India. I was lying on the floor crying and I didn’t know what was happening.
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. John 16:13
I had two really powerful experiences immediately with the revelation of this truth. I remember asking, ‘Lord, is it really true that you will show us things, that you are a friend and want to have an intimate relationship? I want you to show me.’ During the course of that week I was completely touched by His power. I didn’t even leave my room; I was fasting and praying, and it was the first time I had done anything like fasting. I was so hungry for the things of God. I just wanted God, wanted to meet Him.
I remember one day as I was riding my bike, I asked the Lord if He could show me the question paper that was going to come for an exam I had to write. Immediately the Holy Spirit showed in front of me the questions, and as I went for the exam, it was exactly what the Holy Spirit showed me – and I thought that was the best exam I ever wrote! I then went back to my hometown and, as I sought the Lord about my debt, He instructed me to sell my business, as I described earlier, and it was bought immediately without my even advertising it. With just those two incidents I knew that I had somebody with me who was my best friend, and here began my journey.
The Bible also says that He is our helper. If it’s written in the Bible you’d better believe it – I knew I had a helper, and He started teaching me things, just as it says:
,But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. John 14:26
He started teaching me the Word. As I started reading it, the Holy Spirit would reveal things to me through it and I started falling in love with the Word. The Word just started jumping out of the Bible to me. I had been reading the Bible from when I was a small child, but I realised I didn’t understand anything until I had the Holy Spirit. It’s amazing when you have someone teaching you; you want to read the Word and study the Word because you’re so captivated by the very Word of God. Once you have a relationship with the Holy Spirit, He will make you fall in love with the Word, though not just the Word, He will make you fall in love with Jesus. Jesus and the Father are in heaven and we have been given their Spirit, and that Spirit makes us fall in love with Jesus. That’s what the Bible says:
But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. John 15:26
The deep truth sometimes moves people to tears when they read the Bible – that’s because the Holy Spirit is there. It happened for me, and it’s an amazing friendship that began years ago, and still continues today.
So we now know that the Holy Spirit is a friend to us, and just like you can hurt any friend, you can hurt and grieve the Holy Spirit. One of the most difficult times in my life is when I am hurting the Holy Spirit. Paul says:
,Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. Ephesians 4:30 (MSG)
I have seen that whenever you grieve the Holy Spirit, because of sins that have come into your life or things that do not please Him, immediately He gently walks away from you, and the presence is not the same. Yes, He is available, but He is also a gentleman and just like in any friendship where you hurt your friend, your friend will walk away. He still loves you throughout and when you repent, He will immediately come back. It’s at that moment that you really know He is a person and wants to have an intimate relationship with you. Not only can you grieve Him, but in my life I have seen that the Holy Spirit can be quenched.
Do not quench the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19
Sometimes people say it’s alright to grieve the Spirit but not to quench Him, and sometimes they say it’s the other way around. You quench Him when you do not allow the Holy Spirit to come and move in your life and your ministry, in your church or your family. Much like when a fire has limited space to grow, and it is starved of oxygen and goes out, we can limit the Holy Spirit in that same way, quenching Him, and suddenly the fire that was once there is extinguished. Jesus said ‘I will manifest myself when the Spirit of God comes’, but many times you see the Holy Spirit stop moving because of the quenching that happens. People ask why miracles don’t happen, and it may be because we have quenched the Holy Spirit and not allowed Him to move and given Him freedom.
The Holy Spirit can also be lied to. In the Bible, in Acts 5, you see Ananias and Sapphira lie to the Holy Spirit. I have realised that when you lie to a person it’s not just the person you’re lying to, but you’re lying to the Holy Spirit. In this portion of scripture, Peter didn’t say ‘You lied to me’, he said ‘You lied to the Holy Spirit’. The consequence was that immediately both of them were struck dead. What I’m trying to say is that the Holy Spirit is sensitive and every day we have this opportunity to yield to Him. He is a gentleman and when we treat Him like one, He comes, pours His love on us, and we fall in love with Jesus again. We all have this opportunity, and all He asks is that we yield. It’s not just for special people, this is for everyone! Like I said, I was a very weak person, and one of the things that happened after I met the Holy Spirit is that the Lord started giving me strength.
,Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Romans 8:26
I remember in my early years, people saying they were not convinced at my ability to be good at my job. But as I started getting promoted it became apparent that it wasn’t me but someone else, the Holy Spirit, working through me. The people who testified of my growth were not even believers – but the Holy Spirit strengthens us in our weakness. All of us face problems, challenges and tough times, but when we have the Holy Spirit we have peace and joy, and the presence of God saturates us even in those times of weakness. What’s amazing about this is that it’s available for us every day.
So the Holy Spirit coming into my life as a person really changed me, and as time has gone by the Holy Spirit has become the most important person in my life. Intimacy with the Holy Spirit is very important to me, because I know that when that gets lost everything else gets cut off, but when we’re in close unity everything else falls into place, and that’s what the Holy Spirit wants. He wants to hang out with you. He wants to spend time with you. You love Jesus, but He loves you even more. He can be your best friend, and once you have this intimate relationship, you’re on an incredible journey.
Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high. Luke 24:49
When Jesus was alive the Holy Spirit was only in Him. Backtrack to the Old Testament and the Spirit of the Lord was only for special people like kings, prophets or priests, but in the New Testament we see The Spirit being released on all. John the Baptist said:
‘I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.’ Mathew 3:11
Jesus confirms what John had said: ‘And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”‘ Acts 1:4-5
They were all waiting! Isn’t that amazing! They were hungry for this promise, because they knew their lives were going to change. Jesus is essentially saying, ‘Guys, don’t go and do anything, don’t go preach, don’t go do ministry, just wait and see what’s in store for you, because when the Holy Spirit comes, power will come upon you.’
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Acts 1:8
When the Holy Spirit comes, His power envelopes you, and there’s no struggle anymore. It’s all easy; signs, wonders and miracles will follow, because it’s the power of God which touches people. That was Jesus’ plan and strategy; He knew the end from the beginning. That’s why He died and went on the cross and shed His blood. That’s why He rose again and is seated at the right hand of God, so that you and I have the opportunity and privilege of being filled with the same Spirit that was upon Jesus.
As the disciples were waiting there, full of hunger and thirst for the Holy Spirit, they weren’t just simply sitting around, they were worshipping in the upper room.
And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. Acts 1:13-14
They knew something was going to happen, that there was going to be a change, and in Acts 2, you see the Holy Spirit come upon them. The Bible says the Holy Spirit came upon them like tongues of fire. I have heard many times over my years of ministry testimonies of people saying that they felt fire coming. The Bible also says there was a wind that blew. Jesus had already said that He would manifest in different ways; we don’t have to try and figure out what the way is.
In the Bible it says they were all filled with a new spirit and they spoke with new tongues. Getting filled and getting tongues changed my life, not just because of the intimacy with the Holy Spirit, but I understood that being filled with the Holy Spirit is an everyday experience. The Bible also says they were all amazed and perplexed. Some people say they have encountered the Holy Spirit, but if you were to ask them if they felt anything, they say no; that may not be the Holy Spirit, because you can’t not feel anything when you encounter the Holy Spirit, you will be amazed. You can never meet the real fire of God that the Holy Spirit pours upon you and not be amazed. I have not seen that happen in the Bible, and I have not seen anyone who is touched with the real fire say that they are the same or that they didn’t have an experience.
In Acts 2 other people started accusing them of being drunk, and Peter told them that they were not drunk, because it was still daytime; it wasn’t alcohol, they were full of a new wine. Something tangible must have been happening for other people to say those things; it can’t be that people were just sitting without reacting and saying ‘Oh, the Holy Spirit came’. Something would have shaken that place – that’s what it’s like getting touched by the Holy Spirit. If people say that they have had an encounter and been touched with the fire and the glory but are just normal and nothing happened, there’s something wrong. Then Peter got up and preached the Gospel, and a fresh boldness came on him. Peter, who was once timid and denied Jesus, was now full of the Holy Spirit, preaching the Gospel, and three thousand people were saved that very day, all because the Holy Spirit fell upon that place.
It just excites me to go to new places and see the power of God fall upon new people. At a meeting in our Southall church in the early days of its growth, a 62-year-old man who had never been to church was brought in off the streets, and said after the meeting that he was feeling joyful and happy. When the Holy Spirit comes you can never stay the same. He comes and touches new people, old people, young people. There is no age barrier. You can’t stay in your one-time baptism experience; this is something we need every day. In Acts 2 they were first filled and in Acts 4 the Bible says they needed the fire and glory. They were filled with Holy Spirit and the place shook. They knew that they couldn’t just live off what they’d received in Acts 2, they needed something every day. So they gathered there and sought the Lord and they got filled with the spirit.
And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Acts 4:33
The most beautiful thing is that this is available for us. After the Holy Spirit came upon them, the fire came and they realised that they could go and give the baptism of fire to people and that this would change people’s lives. So as we go through the Books of Acts we see the gospel changing lives through the power of the Spirit. In Acts 8 we see Samaria getting saved; Philip preaching the Gospel; signs, wonders and miracles. Peter and John were called, and the Bible says they on laid hands and the Holy Spirit fell upon the people in Samaria. Just like we saw before, people would have been drunk with new wine and received new tongues. It wouldn’t have been different, because it’s the same Holy Spirit. It didn’t stop in Acts 2, it didn’t stop in Acts 4, and it didn’t even stop in Acts 8. In Acts 10 Peter was preaching at Cornelius’ house, and the Bible says he didn’t even lay on hands, he just spoke the Word and the Holy Spirit fell upon everyone and they magnified God and spoke and sang in tongues. In Acts 11:15, Peter is narrating this and he says, ‘And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning.’
This means it was in the same manner – it wasn’t a different Holy Spirit. That means there were tongues of fire, they were drunk with new wine, they were filled with the power.
This is baptism of the Holy Spirit. Baptism comes from the Greek word baptiso, which means ‘to immerse’. It isn’t being sprinkled, it’s being plunged into the Spirit of God, it’s being drowned in the Spirit; that’s how you get filled. This isn’t just once in your lifetime, not only when you have some encounter, meeting or conference. It is available for us every day. We can’t be living on old wine; we need new wine. We can’t be living on yesterday’s anointing and yesterday’s glory.
But after I came to the Lord and I read Good Morning, Holy Spirit and had an encounter, I didn’t know anyone or any church. I then met Pr. Rajesh Mathew, and his ministry was moving powerfully in the Holy Spirit, but it was a five-hour train journey from my hometown. I would travel five hours each way (ten hours a day) to attend the services because I was so hungry for God. For one year, till I moved to Dubai, once a week I would travel ten hours in a day to attend these services. At these meetings, when the power of God fell, people would go spinning and get thrown fifty metres. It was a revival, and I was so excited. When you really experience the power, you can never stay the same; you will want it more; you will get hungry and desperate for it.
After I got baptised by the Holy Spirit, I realised something; the Bible says you start speaking in new tongues, and I was on this journey. When I moved from Cochin to Dubai I went to a church there, and the pastor of that church called me to his home . While I was there he said ‘let’s pray’ and he started praying in tongues. Ten minutes went by, then fifteen minutes, then thirty minutes, and he wasn’t stopping, he kept praying in tongues. After an hour of praying in tongues he said that going forward, the rule was that every time we had a meeting, we had to pray in tongues for at least an hour before the meeting. At that time one hour seemed like such a long time for me. But he asked me if I wanted to walk in the supernatural and get to know the Holy Spirit more, and I said yes, of course.
He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 1 Corinthians 14:4
‘Edify’ comes from the Greek word edifis, which means ‘to build’. Ram Babu, a powerful evangelist from India, believes that all the supernatural works that God has done through his life were because of praying in tongues for a long time. I was amazed by the signs and wonders that were happening through Ram Babu’s ministry, and he said they came by praying in the Spirit. That really got me started on the journey of praying in the spirit. I would wake every morning and pray in tongues. This went on for two or three years, but I could see nothing happening. Little did I know that the Lord was building something in the Spirit. It’s like going to the gym: you don’t build muscles overnight, it’s a process of building. In the same manner, as you are praying in the Spirit, you are building something in the Spirit. I also believe that praying in the Spirit is most important for releasing the supernatural. I never felt any presence when I first started, even when I used to wake up every morning and pray in the Spirit over these two or three years, but I still continued. I dedicated the time in the morning to praying in the Spirit; I called it my appointment with God. The first hour was just praying in tongues and then I would start reading the Word and worshipping. But when you pray in the Spirit, you’re not only being built up in the Spirit, but you’re speaking directly to God.
For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. 1 Corinthians 14:2
You have a direct line, a direct connection to speak to God, in a language that only He can understand. This is also how you start fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:18, ‘I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all’.
How does he know that he prays more than everybody else? It’s because he prayed so much, he was constantly in tongues. Paul says not only does he pray in tongues; he sings in tongues also. The Holy Spirit wants to hang out with you more than you want to hang out with Him – this is what releases the supernatural. As I started doing that, what I started to realise was that it slowly became easier. When I started praying in tongues it was difficult to pray for even half an hour or an hour. But as time went by it became easier and I didn’t feel like stopping, and I wanted to hang out for longer and pray for longer and worship for longer. I realised that most of the ideas for my businesses came as I was praying in the Spirit and the Lord suddenly gave me an idea or a strategy. It’s not that you pray for two hours and He speaks for two hours. It’s sometimes just that five seconds, and it may not be every day. But as you hang out with Him, you know that you are tapping into the supernatural. This is how you can move into God’s supernatural. This isn’t just for full-time ministry, it’s for the marketplace and businesses and anything you want to do, because God is a God of the universe and He has given us a direct line to heaven. Sometimes we don’t use what has been given to us.
A lot of people say they don’t understand what they are doing when they pray in tongues, but be assured the Bible says that you won’t understand. It doesn’t matter, and it shouldn’t stop a person from praying in tongues. The church is blinded and unable to move in its fullness because it doesn’t understand this truth of praying in the spirit.
For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 1 Corinthians 14:14
Praying in the Spirit doesn’t renew your mind, but that’s why the Word is so important, the two go together. Sometimes I pray in tongues whilst I read the Word, so that my spirit is being built up and my mind is being renewed also. When you pray in the Spirit, you don’t need to understand. But a lot of people stop praying because they don’t understand. I am saying all this because it changed my life; this is my testimony. This made me hungrier for the Holy Spirit and pursuing God. One of the problems people face is that they start out hungry but they don’t stay hungry. Challenges and tough times come but the key is to stay full of the Holy Spirit. Having a repentant heart and being healed from offences, as we discussed before, are so important for being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Another thing that happens when you pray in the Spirit is that a refreshing comes upon you and joy fills you. Yes, sometimes it can start with tears, but it turns into joy, and breakthroughs start happening. If you are not seeing breakthroughs, it could be that you haven’t pressed in enough in the spirit. As you press in in the spirit, breakthroughs will happen naturally.
You can even receive the Holy Spirit right now. Get hungry and ask the Lord to come and fill you. Your hunger and your thirst will determine to what extent you can receive.
,’He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive. John 7:38-39