Recently, Pastor Parrish declared a Holy Ghost Sunday. He asked us as a congregation to pray during the week before in preparation for that service. His goal was to see people filled with the precious gift of the Holy Ghost. When Holy Ghost Sunday came, you could feel that there was something different. Not only had people prayed in faith for this service, but people had come expecting a mighty move of God. Even if no one had received the Holy Ghost, there was something different about that service. Because people had come expecting great things, they responded to the Spirit as if those things had already happened. During song service, not one person was “dead”. Everyone was up and moving, worshiping God with unusual fervency. And while Pastor Parrish was preaching, the congregation was right behind him, backing up every word he said. When altar call came, there was an eagerness to get to the altar. People were ready to see people filled with the Holy Ghost, and were willing to step out of their comfort zone to make it happen. The expectancy paid off. Three people were filled with the Holy Ghost.
Observing all of this from my usual spot, I was amazed. There was something in the air that was not usually present. There was a willingness to step out in faith and pray for others. There was an eager response to the moving of the Spirit. The expectancy that was so strong in the hearts of the congregation prompted them to respond to the Spirit without reservation. Because of this willingness to respond, God moved.
The phenomenon is not unknown, nor uncommon. In Acts 2, one-hundred and twenty faithful followers of Jesus were waiting in an upper room. Their sole purpose was to wait for the promise that God was going to send. They waited ten days. They knew that God keeps His promises, so they were expecting it to come. And it did. (Acts 2:1-4)
“1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fore, and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Powerful things happen when expectancy is high. Have you noticed how different the atmosphere is in our yearly Family Camp or Youth Camp? Saints put in prayer, and sometimes fasting, and come expecting God’s Spirit to be present. God’s presence isn’t stronger at these camps, but peoples’ willingness to respond is.
This brings exciting possibilities to mind. What would happen if we as Spirit-filled, oneness, Apostolic Pentecostal believers came to every service expecting God to move? What kind of breakthroughs would we have as a church if we started praying and fasting in faith? What changes would we begin to see in our city if we got excited about the things God is planning for our future? What would happen if we seized the power we have in Christ, and used it?
The answer is, “I don’t know.” But God does. He is able to do “…exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20). All we have to do is realize, and utilize, the power of expectancy.