Revive Our Hearts Podcast

My Personal Petitions, Day 3

Leslie Basham: Here's Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: The whole Roman empire was changed when the servants of God went out in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and amazing things happened! Why aren't amazing things happening today around so many of our churches and our lives? Could it be that we're not filled with the Holy Spirit? 

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Wednesday, January 20, 2016.

Nancy is continuing the the series "My Personal Petitions."

Nancy: We're looking for a couple of weeks at some personal petitions. I call them Nancy's Personal Petitions, but I hope they'll be yours by the end of this series. These are things that I have prayed frequently, repeatedly over the years, that I long for to be true in my life.

And I don't sit down, as a rule, and pray through all ten of these—though I think that's a great idea. To help you think that way, we're offering a resource, a little booklet that has all ten of these in it, with some Making It Personal questions, some quotes, some Scripture references, some places to journal, so you can meditate on these petitions.

Also, we're including five cards which each have all ten of these prayer requests listed on them. You can put them in different places, where you will find them: one in your car, one in your bathroom, one on your nightstand perhaps.Throughout 2016 we're seeking to become women of prayer. We want to be praying biblically for ourselves and then we'll be also talking about how to learn to pray for others.

Let me just read off these ten prayer petitions. We've already looked at numbers 1 and 2. Today we're going to look at number 3, and we'll be looking at numbers 4–10 over the next few days:

1) Guard my heart.

2) Fill me with Your love.

3) Fill me with Your Spirit.

4) Clothe me in humility.

5) Make me a servant.

6) Guard my tongue.

7) Give me wisdom and discernment.

8) Give me a grateful spirit.

9) Teach me the fear of the Lord.

10) Help me to walk by faith and not by sight.

I'm probably not going to say much, if anything, about any of these requests that is new to you—not if you've been around the faith any length of time. This is not rocket science. This is just a matter of meditating on these requests, these petitions and saying, "Let's flesh those out a little bit. What would it look like to be filled with the love of God? Today, what would it look like to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God?"

We want this study to get us to the place where we so long for these that we're asking God for the things we really need and the things He really wants to give us. "If we ask anything according to His will," 1 John says, "We know that we have the petitions that we've asked of Him."

We can ask in faith. I can ask by faith, "Lord, fill me with Your Spirit," because I know it's God's will for me to be filled with His Spirit.

You notice, you didn't see on this list of regular petitions anything like: "Give me this money," or "Give me this relationship." It's not wrong to pray for those things as there are needs, and as God prompts, but these are ten timeless ways to pray—not only for yourself but also for your mate, your children, your roommate, for other people that you love. You can make these petitions for others as well.

I think those of you who are married, your husband would be so thankful (especially if he's a follower of Jesus) if he knew he had a wife who was praying these things for him every day. He'd be really thankful if he has a wife who's growing in these things—praying these for yourself. Even if you're not married, these are things we need to continually be asking God to make true in our lives.

So, number 3: Fill me with Your Spirit. First of all, I think you know that the Holy Spirit is not an "it." He's a person. He's the third member of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is God! He's coequal, coeternal with God. He can be grieved. He can be offended. He can be believed in. He can fill us with Himself. He fills us with God—it's the Spirit of Christ filling us.

I don't think we stop and think often enough about how dependent we are as Christians on the Holy Spirit for every aspect of the Christian life. We are utterly dependent on Him. I think if we realized that, if we thought about it, we would pray more often, "O God, fill me with your Spirit."

Let me just make a list of some things that the Holy Spirit does—and we could add many more to this list (don't try to write all these down, because they'll be on the transcript, on our website). We know that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment. Until you have that (conviction) you're never going to know your need for a Savior.

Until you're convicted that you deserve the wrath of God, you'll never come to Jesus for mercy. So, who brings that conviction? The Holy Spirit, right? Who draws us to Christ? Who woos and wins our hearts to the love of God? It's the Holy Spirit.

I was saved at the age of four. You may have been four or forty-four, but you and I would never have turned to Christ in faith and repentance if the Holy Spirit had not wooed us to Christ—if He had not pursued our hearts and drawn us to Christ and made Christ to be beautiful to us and lovely.

Valerie, you were sitting in my house that day almost twenty years ago when the Lord opened your eyes, opened your heart, to show you your need for a Savior. I was teaching the class, but the Holy Spirit was drawing you to Christ. That's who draws all of us.

  • The Holy Spirit quickens us to respond to Christ once we've seen that He is the Savior and we need Him.
  • It's the Holy Spirit who regenerates us and gives us the new birth, who converts us.
  • It's the Holy Spirit Who baptizes us into Christ.
  • He seals us for the day of our final redemption (Eph. 1 and Eph. 4).
  • It's the Holy Spirit who illuminates Scripture to our understanding.

Do you find sometimes as you're reading God's Word and meditating on it that something just jumps off the page at you? It quickens your spirit; it quickens your heart. Who's doing that? It's the Holy Spirit. He's illuminating the Word. This [the Bible] is not some ordinary book! It's a book that the Holy Spirit makes alive—in us and to us and through us.

  • It's the Holy Spirit who reveals and personalizes Christ to us—makes Him real to us, makes Him lovely to us.
  • It's the Holy Spirit (according to 1 Peter 1) who motivates and enables us to obey God's Word.

I can read things in here, but I don't have the power to obey, or the desire to obey unless the Holy Spirit puts that desire and that ability in me.

  • It's the Holy Spirit who conforms us to the image of Christ.
  • It's the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us. 
  • It's the Holy Spirit who leads us.
  • It's the Holy Spirit who empowers us for witness.
  • It's the Holy Spirit who assures us that we're children of God. 
  • It's the Holy Spirit who produces the fruit of Christ-likeness in us.
  • It's the Holy Spirit who gives spiritual gifts for the building up of the Body, who anoints us for ministry. 
  • It's the Holy Spirit who washes and renews us (Titus 3).
  • It's the Holy Spirit who teaches us what and how to pray when we don't know what or how to pray. So, you'd better filled with the Holy Spirit if you want to be a praying woman!
  • It's the Holy Spirit (according to Romans 8) who delivers us from the power of sin and from the law of sin and death.

So many times we feel, "I want to obey God, but I just can't! This world is pulling me down, indwelling sin is pulling me down." Who sets us free from the law of sin and death? It's the Holy Spirit who does that in us.

  • It's the Holy Spirit who gives us access to the Father (Eph. 2).
  • It's the Holy Spirit who pours God's love into our hearts (Rom. 5).
  • It's the Holy Spirit who comforts us (Acts 9). 
  • In Isaiah 44 and 32, it's the Holy Spirit who restores and renews and revives. He quickens, He brings life. 
  • The Holy Spirit in us is the source of fullness and of life. It's the Spirit of Christ.

I love that passage in John 7, beginning in verse 37:

On the last day of the feast, that great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" Now this he said about the Spirit whom those believed in him were to receive. For as yet the Spirit had not been given because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Now we could do a whole series on those three verses. I won't. Let me just take a minute here: What it did it mean for Jesus to be glorified? He was glorified when He went to the cross. He was glorified when He rose from the dead. He was glorified when He ascended to the right hand of the Father. And when He did, the Holy Spirit was given by the Father to those who believe in Christ, to live in us. Christ in us! That's the Holy Spirit.

And as a result of Jesus sending His Holy Spirit to live in us, Jesus said, "If you believe in Me, you will filled with that Holy Spirit, and [as a result] rivers of living water will flow out from your heart . . . flow out of your innermost being." Do you want to be a fruitful woman, a woman who exhibits the fruit of the Spirit in your life? Do you want to be a woman who is a spring of life and joy to others? Then you need to get filled with the Holy Spirit, because that's where we receive fullness.

"Out of his innermost being [his heart] will flow rivers of living water." I don't know about you, but that's the kind of Christian I want to be—that's the kind of woman I want to be. I want to be a life-giving woman, a woman who is overflowing with the love of Christ and the joy of Christ and the fruit of Christ . . . a woman who blesses those around me, not just by what I do, but by them seeing the Spirit of Christ flowing out of my life to touch their lives.

And so, in this passage we see that it starts by being thirsty. We're always thirsty. And when we're thirsty, what does Jesus say to do? "Come to me!" Come to Him. Continuously thirsty, continuously coming to Jesus, continuously drinking, continuously believing, continuously being filled and satisfied with His Spirit. A continuous inflow of the Spirit into our lives makes what? A continuous outflow of that river of life, continuous fruitfulness—the fruit of the Spirit, being a blessing to others.

So we need constant inflow. "Lord, fill me with Your Spirit." This produces continuous outflow. "Lord, flow through me to others around me." And that fruitfulness isn't just for women who have public ministries or those who are Bible teachers or small group leaders. That's for you!

He wants your life to be fruitful—in your home, in your workplace, in your school—wherever God has put you. He wants those rivers of living water to flow out from you to those around you.

So in Ephesians 5 (I invite you to turn there in your Bibles), we're told in verse 18 (you're familiar with this), "Be filled with the Spirit." This is how we know we're supposed to pray this. "Lord fill me with Your Spirit, because You've told me to be filled with the Spirit."

You've probably heard this taught, that this is not a suggestion, this is a command. "Be filled with the Spirit." It's not a one-time thing. It's an ongoing, continuous filling—a way of life. "Be being filled with the Holy Spirit." All the time. Keep being thirsty, keep coming to Jesus, keep drinking, keep believing. It's a keeping be filled with the Holy Spirit—continual intake, input; a continual outflow.

Now the question is, "How can we know if we're filled with the Holy Spirit?" I'm glad you asked, because this passage goes on to tell us! (Ephesians 5:18 through most of chapter 6) I want to just walk quickly through it, touching on highlights of the rest of this chapter and the next, to show you some characteristics and some evidences to know if you're filled with the Holy Spirit.

Verse 18: "Do not get drunk with wine (for that is debauchery) but be filled with the Spirit." So, if you're filled with the Spirit you're not going to be controlled by any substance—which could include an activity, a relationship, anything—that leads to excess, to dissipation, to wickedness. Instead, you're going to be controlled by Christ, by His Spirit.

Then, verses 19 and 20 talk about worship as an evidence, an expression, of being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another [this is our public worship] in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart [that's our private worship—private worship/public worship], giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

How do you know if you're filled with the Holy Spirit? One way to know is, Are you a worshiper? Do you have a Godward focus? Do you have a thankful heart? Do you sing to the Lord? Do you worship Him in your heart, privately? Do you worship Him publicly? Do you enter in to the worship in your church services?

You may not love the style of music. I've pretty much decided there may not be a church where I'm going to love all the music until I get to heaven. And then somehow we're all going to love all of it. I don't know how that's going to happen.

But I know this: When I go to church and I engage—I sing, I sing out, I participate, I worship the Lord—God does something in my heart. It's an expression of being filled with the Spirit. Thankfulness is an expression of being filled with the Spirit.

And then to be filled with the Spirit affects our relationships in multiple ways. First, our relationships in the Body of Christ: "Submitting to one another out of reverence to Christ" (v. 21). This is all an expression and evidence of being filled with the Spirit. Be filled with the Spirit, submitting to one another out of reverence to Christ. What does that mean?

I think it means that in our relationships in the church, in the Body, with one another, we're not going to be dominating, intimidating, resistant, contentious; instead we're going to honor one another. We're going to defer to one another. We're going to submit to one another out of reverence and respect and fear for Christ, who is the Head of our Body.

We are one with Christ, so if you are one with your Head, then you're one with every other member of the Body. So we're not going to have divisions and schisms and contention. And if we do, we're going to deal with them in repentance. Right?

There are some women here today from two different churches that have come together, through a whole series of circumstances, and they have become one local Body here. And it sounds like God is doing a sweet work because of those two churches both having needs and having come together.

I don't know all the details on that, but I think there is probably some submitting to one another that has to go on for that to happen.

Relationships not only in the Body, but (here's where the rubber meets the road) in our families. The relationships in our families, if we're filled with the Spirit, will be characterized by order, by sacrificial, purifying love and respect and honor. Listen to this from Ephesians 5:22—this is all an expression and outflow of being filled with the Holy Spirit. "Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. . . . Husbands love your wives" (vv. 22, 25).

He goes on to say that to love them is to nourish them, is to cherish them, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. Verse 33: "Let each one of you love his wife as himself and let the wife see that she respects her husband." Listen, if you don't respect your husband, if you don't reverence him, if you don't submit to him out of fear for Christ, if your husband is not loving you in a sacrificial, selfless, serving way, then there's an absence of the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

The founder of our ministry (who's been with the Lord for many years now) used to say (back in the seventies and eighties when people were writing a lot of new books on marriage and families and there were conferences and seminars), "You know what? If you want to have a good marriage and a good family, you can read all these books and go to all these conferences—a lot of good ones—or you can get filled with the Holy Spirit."

That doesn't mean the books and conferences aren't helpful, but you can read the books and go to the conferences, and if you're not filled with the Holy Spirit, you're not going to have things right in your home.

Continuing in chapter 6, verse 1: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor your father and mother [That doesn't have an age limit on it, by the way.] . . . Fathers do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (vv. 1, 4).

Do you see how family life is an expression of being filled with the Holy Spirit! Or, not! Right? So think about the climate, the atmosphere in your home, in this season, and ask, "Is there evidence that, as the woman in my home, I'm filled with the Holy Spirit?"

You may not be married. You may be single. You may have a roommate. Maybe your "home" is more your workplace environment. But just ask where you spend a lot of your time, in the relationships that you are closest to, is there evidence that you are filled with the Holy Spirit?

That doesn't mean that everyone else in your home or your workplace or your world is going to be filled with the Holy Spirit. There may be cantankerous people, there may be ornery people, there may be people who are really difficult to live with, but if you're filled with the Spirit, there will be a fragrance of Christ there that will make a difference. It will make a difference in you; it will make a difference in those around you.

Here's another evidence of how being filled with the Spirit affects relationships, and that's in the workplace. Continuing in Ephesians 6, verse 5. I won't read all of this, but verses 5 through 9 talk about servants and masters, about treating each other with respect, about serving as if you were serving the Lord. If you're the one in charge, if you're the boss, don't threaten the ones working you because you've got a Master in heaven that you work for. So again, if you're filled with the Spirit, then these work relationships are going to be right.

Look at verses 10 through 18 in Ephesians 6. Not only in our relationships, and in our work, but in our warfare. Again, I won't read the whole passage, but this is an evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit. "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil."

We live on a battleground. This Christian life is not a playground, this is a battleground. Being in this world as servants of Christ puts us up against the forces of evil. You don't have the strength to deal with those. You don't have the smarts to deal with those.

Barb is a counselor. She's talked about some of the counsel she gives. People today are so confused; they're so disordered, so dysfunctional. They have so much baggage, so much hurt, so much pain. You can't sit for one hour or two or six weeks or six months or whatever and meet people's needs when they have given their lives over to the deception of the enemy and to wrong ways of thinking if you're not filled with the Holy Spirit.

If you're filled with the Spirit, you will see God doing things in and through and around you that will cause you to just stand back and say, "I'm not smart enough to have done that. I'm not good enough. But God did it! God turned their heart. God changed their mind, God changed their thinking. God brought them to repentance.

They're people you're burdened for and you can see a battle going on in their lives—maybe they're your children, maybe somebody in your family, somebody in your workplace. Are you filled with the Spirit so that you can go into that battle and be helpful and be wise and be effective?

And then, verses 19 and 20 of Ephesians 6: Our witness in the world is affected by our being filled with the Holy Spirit. Verse 18: "Keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak."

Now that's not just for the apostle Paul. We're all supposed to be declaring boldly, as God wants us to speak, in our world, our witness for Christ. How in the world can you do that if you're not filled with the Holy Spirit?

We live in a world that is decidedly anti-Christ. They're pushing Christians back into the corner and saying, "You stay there! Don't open your mouth, don't breathe, don't think, don't act, don't be a Christian!" What do we do? So many of us just slink back into the corner and get in our little holy huddle and hold hands with our fellow Christians and hope for the rapture. Right? 

And God says, "No! You're supposed to be the Church out in the world. Go out there! Love them, serve them, proclaim Christ. Do it wisely, do it winsomely, do it in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Listen, when a small band of believers did that in the book of Acts in this great pagan, wicked, evil Roman empire, the whole Roman empire was changed because the servants of Christ went out in the fullness of the Holy Spirit and proclaimed Christ with boldness and with love and with winsomeness and with fearlessness. They went out there and Jesus filled them with His Spirit, and amazing things happened!

Why aren't amazing things happening today around so many of our churches and our lives? Could it be that we're not filled with the Holy Spirit? Pray, "Lord, fill me with Your Spirit!"

If you want to know more about what it looks like to be filled with the Holy Spirit, look in Galatians chapter 5. That's where you see the fruit of the Spirit. "Walk by the Spirit and you won't gratify the desires of the flesh."

Here's another evidence that you are filled with the Holy Spirit, and that's that you'll have supernatural power. That's what we were just talking about. We cannot do what God has called us to do; we cannot be who God has called us to be in this world apart from being filled with His Spirit.

There's a quote by Corrie ten Boom, that's written on a sign in the Corrie ten Boom museum in Holland. It says,

Trying to do the Lord's work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting and tedious of all work; but when you're filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you. 

That's what we want!

When Mary said to the angel, "How can this be? You've chosen me for this task?" She's a young teenage girl; she's never been intimate with a man. The angel says, "You're going to have a baby, and the baby's going to be the Son of God." You talk about just blowing all your circuits!

"How can this be? It's impossible!" It truly was impossible. Do you ever feel that what God has called you to do is impossible? It is. I feel that all the time in the work God's called me to. God's asking me to do some things in this season of my life, and I'm saying, "This is impossible. I can't do this. How can this be?"

I love the angel's answer in Luke 1:35: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you."

Ask God to fill you with His Spirit. The Holy Spirit, Jesus said, is a good gift. And if you are a child of God, the Holy Spirit lives in you. You're indwelt by the Holy Spirit. You don't need that to happen again, but He wants to fill you—every part and parcel and particle of you—with Himself, with His Spirit . . . your words, your speech, your actions, your attitudes, your thoughts, your perspectives, your worldview, your day, your night, your everything! He wants to fill us. So as we're dependent upon the Spirit, directed by the Spirit, energized by the Spirit, the supernatural power of Christ will be manifested in and through our lives.

So as you think about what God's called you to do in this season, are you depending on your own abilities, your own resources, your own natural abilities, or on the power of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God, to live the Christian life and to serve Him?

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth will be right back to lead us in prayer. She’s walking us through ten things she prays for herself.

We’ve heard three petitions so far in the series: Guard your heart. Fill me with Your Love. And today, fill me with the Holy Spirit. We want you to grow in all of these. Now, a teaching session like this one is great. It’s very helpful. But if you only hear it and forget, it won’t do much good. We want you to hear these important truths and remember them.

So we’d like to send you a booklet called "My Personal Petitions Prayer Journal." You’ll go through each of these ten personal petitions. You’ll read some thoughts from Nancy on each topic. She’ll provide Scriptures to look up and ponder about each topic. Then you’ll answer “Making It Personal” questions to see how you’re doing in each area. And you’ll be able to journal your own thoughts and prayers. If you’re looking for a new Bible study for the new year, this would be a great choice. Along with the journal, you’ll get a series of cards listing the petitions. These will be easy to carry around and refer to throughout the day.

We’ll send you "My Personal Prayer Journal" when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. You can do that by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com, or ask for the booklet when you call 1–800–569–5959. We’ll send one booklet per household through the end of the series next week.

One more question. When you see a picture on someone’s phone, whose face do you immediately look for first? Your own? Why do we do that? Nancy will explore self-centeredness and humility tomorrow.

Now she’s back to wrap up today’s discussion of “My Personal Petitions.”

Nancy: Let's bow our hearts and pray. Each of these days I'm praying a prayer and inviting you to make it your prayer as we lift these petitions up to the Lord.

So, thank You, Father, for sending Your Holy Spirit to live in me and to comfort, lead and purify me. Please empty me of myself. Fill me with Your Spirit, and produce in me the likeness of Your Son, Jesus. I want to live in the realm of the supernatural, not depending on my natural strengths and abilities but drawing upon the power of Christ.

Anoint my life, my worship, my work, my relationships, my witness, my service for You with the supernatural power of Your Spirit flowing through me. Please, Lord, fill me with Your Spirit. And by faith I believe that You have and that You will, and I thank You for that. In Jesus' name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of LifeAction Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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