I was 4 years old (I think) when I received the Lord Jesus as my Savior. I really don't remember anything about it, but my mom told me that I said the words to the prayer that she prayed. I assume that to be my salvation moment in life.
However, I floundered in my relationship with Jesus throughout the next 14 years, feeling close to Him at certain times and farther away at other times. My understanding of God when I was young was that of an angry Father, which caused me to lose interest in Him when the tug of the world came calling.
I left for college at 18 and the world left a quick mark on my life. I slipped into the life of a college student pretty easily, and senior year I found myself in a relationship I had no business being in.
The thing about walking with the world is that it will take everything you give it and then some. The more you walk with it, the more you slip down a slope into a valley that you can't get yourself out of...but Jesus can and He does. Once you embrace the world it will wrap roots around your life and imbed them deeply into your heart. When you choose Jesus and walk away from this lifestyle, it will take some painful months or years to dig these roots back up! Today if you haven't chosen Jesus, choose Him. It's far better to walk with Him than to walk with the world. Sin seems fun until you realize that you are making worse and worse decisions and have no ability to get yourself out of the muck.
I graduated college in December 2010 and in February of 2011 I was all alone, in an apartment in a city I didn't know, completely lost and afraid of the future. I knew Jesus was tugging on my heart and had been pursuing me all throughout college, but I hadn't given in to surrendering it all to Him.
One cold evening in February, I cried out to Jesus to take away the pain of the past and the pain I felt from being in a horrible relationship. I heard that still, small voice gently say, "Let go Jessica. Let go and let me. Surrender everything and I will take care of you forever."
And that was it, I let go. I surrendered everything in that moment, and I said yes to walking with the Lord for the rest of my life, no matter what that meant or where we would go. I said yes.
There Is More Than One Glorious Moment With Jesus
Surrendering to Jesus was the most important decision I have ever made. But there will be a lot of Yes's that Jesus asks us to make after that initial one, and greater glory and intimacy follows each one that we submit to.
A few years following my surrender moment I felt a little lost again. In the moment I surrendered, I experienced an incredible love and warmth that I had never felt before. Jesus filled my entire being and healed some places within me that I didn't know needed healing. He helped me walk away from my then-boyfriend. He changed my future!
But I felt like I was missing something, missing the power that Paul and Peter talk about that comes with the Holy Spirit. I was walking with Jesus, yet it felt like that which was in the world was greater than that which was in me. Do you know what I mean? Like you're trying to walk with Jesus, trying to do this life well, but there isn't power within you to keep the enemies at bay? That's how I felt.
My Bible says, "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4) But I didn't feel the truth of this verse, and I realize that feelings are fickle, but it truly felt like the power of the devil was far stronger against me than the Holy Spirit residing inside of me.
If you have felt like this, trust me, there is greater glory available to you. The disciples learned this as well.
After Jesus was crucified and resurrected, He received His glorious new body. And because of the glorified body and Spirit within Him, we are able to receive the same Spirit, anyone who cries out to Jesus receives this SAME Spirit! We have the Spirit of Jesus Christ!
The disciples received this Spirit in John 20:21-22 "So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit."
In that moment the disciples were saved from death unto life. Jesus breathed on them and they received the Holy Spirit within their heart of hearts. The same thing happens to us when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. He breathes on us and the Holy Spirit fills us completely and we experience this incredible love and saving power of His grace.
But there's another power that the Holy Spirit gives, and it happens during the baptism of the Holy Spirit. There is a fire, and the power of heaven fills us!
I said I felt like something was missing, and that something came a few years after my first surrender moment. I was crying out to the Lord during my quiet time one morning and praying, "Jesus help me! Save me from myself! Save me!" Suddenly in that moment, while I was crying out to Jesus, I was filled with the power and glory of the Holy Spirit. I didn't know what I was seeking for and what I needed. I didn't realize that I needed the baptism of the Holy Spirit to fill me with power.
During that moment, it felt like a lightening bolt hit the top of my head, and fire ran from my head into my heart. My entire being was consumed with this heavenly inferno, and power filled me that I didn't have before.
It was after this moment, after the Holy Spirit filled me with strength and with power, that my thinking became clearer and my prayers became bolder. I noticed I no longer felt powerless, crying out to Jesus to save me. Instead, every time I prayed I could feel the Holy Spirit within me working, feel the power of the living triune God going to work on my behalf.
"When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Acts 2:1-4)
The first sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues. Paul spoke about praying and speaking in tongues, often! "I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all..." (1 Corinthians 6:11)
About a month following this glorious moment I began praying in tongues. It was slow at first, and I stuttered the words and barely was able to get them out, but I started learning this prayer language that the Bible talks about.
Praying For The Baptism
It's been 10 years since that day and I am so thankful that God answered my prayer when I knew not what I needed. We have this wonderful prayer language, this language of the Holy Spirit, and praying in this way allows us to commune with Him in an intimate way.
Praying often in tongues allows me to hear the Holy Spirit better, to hear His voice and how He wants to guide me. Praying this way has opened up my heart to hear heaven more clearly, and to commune with Jesus more effectively.
There have been moments or days when I am sad or depressed or anxious and I'll ask the Lord for help, and the Holy Spirit will whisper into my heart, "Pray yourself into peace Jessica. Go somewhere quiet, and pray yourself into peace."
As I spend time and pray in tongues, a warmth and peace envelopes my heart. Tears pour down my face as I experience the glory and wonder that only heaven can bring into our lives. Praying in tongues is like experiencing a little bit of heaven on earth. And it only takes 10-20 minutes in prayer before I find myself completely at rest.
If you have never prayed for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I want to encourage you to do so. And once you have, begin listening to pastors who pray in tongues. Find Christians and their podcasts or teachings where you can hear them pray out loud, and then open your mouth and pray in this way.
Practice it over and over and over and you will find yourself filled with the glory of the Lord, with your mind stayed on Him, and a peace that fills your whole being. Amen!
Lord Jesus, thank you for giving The Promise,
Your Promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus, today I ask you to baptize me with the Holy Spirit
and with power from on High!
In Your name Jesus, by Your resurrected power,
baptize me with the Holy Spirit
and fill me to overflowing!
In Your name Jesus, I pray,