Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Prayer and Intercession
The “power tool” gifts of the Holy Spirit are very practical and helpful in everyday life, situations and circumstances at home or work. They’re not just for use in a public meeting such as a church service or conference. Here are a few examples, several from my personal life
ONE: In the 1970’s I lived out at Claussen, 13 miles from the Florence City limits. My neighbor Cathy and I both worked in downtown Florence and rode to work together every day. With a thirty-minute drive twice a day, we had many opportunities to share things from our lives, as well as things of the Lord and of the Holy Spirit. Over the months we got to know each other very well. Note – we attended different churches, hers a fundamental Baptist, mine a Pentecostal church.
Her husband Bob was a long distance truck driver, and when he was at home on weekends he usually sat in his recliner, eating snacks and watching television. Although a Christian, he seldom went to church with his family. He also seldom did any physical activity while at home and over the years had gained a great deal of weight.
Late one night I got a desperate phone call from Cathy. Come quick, she said, Bob has had a heart attack. I threw on my clothes and drove the quarter mile to her house, to find Bob stretched out on the living room floor. It was obvious to me that he had died – he wasn’t breathing and had no pulse.”Raise him from the dead,” Cathy yelled, “Raise him from the dead!” She was in full panic mode.
I knew full well that if the Lord gave me the instruction, I could command Bob’s spirit to return. I also knew the Lord had not given me that instruction, and so I prayed for guidance. What should I do?
Instantly I received a vision of Jesus speaking to Bob in heaven. “Do you want to go back?” he asked.
“No,” Bob replied. I could see that he was healthy, strong, still a big man but no longer overweight, and I could see that he was full of joy.
It was a very hard thing to do, but I had to tell Cathy what I was seeing. She had to know that this wasn’t my decision to make, and it wasn’t her decision to make. The Lord had made it Bob’s decision. Personally, I believe that Bob knew his wife’s faith was strong and he knew she and their two boys would be cared for. And they were.
So, was this a gift of the Holy Spirit? I think so, perhaps a combination: a word of knowledge given in a vision, plus a word of wisdom and a gift of faith to NOT try to do something that the Lord had not instructed me to do.
TWO: One day my two pre-teen kids and I were headed into town in my station wagon. We had gotten some miles from home on the Old River Road when the car began to run hot. The dashboard engine light came on, the heat gauge had risen to a high level, and I could smell that distinctive hot odor coming from under the hood.
Knowing it was dangerous to continue driving, I pulled over to the edge of the road in front of a nice brick house. I was disappointed to find nobody was home. I glimpsed around the house for a water spigot but didn’t see one – but I had nothing to put water in, anyway. Plus I knew better than to try to raise the hood or open the radiator with those wavy waves of hot air coming off of it.
We waited a few minutes, hoping for a car with a helpful driver to come along. But none did and the kids were getting restless. Out in the country, we were miles from either our house or the nearest gas station. And so I prayed.
Then I walked over to the car, laid hands on a cooler spot and commanded the engine to be normal. In an instant the waves of heat stopped, the hot smell stopped, and the entire car hood had cooled down. I got in and cranked it up. The engine light was now off and the heat gauge had returned to a normal level.
We drove on toward town and I stopped at the first service station we came to, asking the attendant to check the radiator. He found nothing at all wrong. The radiator was naturally warm but not overhot, the water level was normal, and he declared everything fine. We ran our errands with me singing praises to the Lord the rest of that day!
A gift of the Holy Spirit? Yes, a miracle. A very practical, helpful, miracle. I have never forgotten it. (It was the first of several car-related miracles over the years.)
THREE: While we lived at Claussen my husband Paul worked for the City of Florence in the Water Department. He and a helper read water meters all over town and out in the suburbs, and often after work Paul would stop at a little convenience store. He would sometimes linger quite late talking with friends, drinking beer, playing a pin-ball machine or sitting in on a back-room poker game. But he always made it home, even if it was after midnight. Until one day I woke up the next morning and he wasn’t there.
I suddenly had a mental image of his pickup truck parked in the lot behind the building where I worked. But I knew that would have been out of his way and he’d have no reason to be near that building. I dismissed the idea as just my imagination.
Well, there were three ways to get to Florence from our house – the Old River Road / Pamplico Highway, Old River Road / National Cemetery, and Old River Road / Claussen Road / Highway 76 out by Francis Marion. Thinking that perhaps he had run out of gas or maybe had a wreck, I started looking. I drove the first route all the way to the City-County Building and didn’t find him. I returned home by a different route. No Paul. So I tried the third route back to town – still no sign of him.
Finally I gave up looking and went on to work. And there was his truck parked behind my building, Paul sound asleep inside – right where the Lord had showed me. He’d stayed out late with friends at a local bar after work. Realizing he wasn’t sober enough to drive home safely, he parked where he knew I’d find him the next morning.
I would have saved myself a lot of worry and aggravation if I’d paid attention to the word of knowledge the Holy Spirit gave me with that mini-vision.
FOUR: Several years ago the national media published a story from the mid-west about a teenage girl and her father. They lived on a large farm and the dad was out on the large farm tractor plowing fields, a normal activity for a farmer. But when he didn’t come to the house for dinner, which wasn’t normal for him, the daughter went looking for him.
She finally spotted the tractor. It had fallen over sideways and her father was trapped underneath. Unable to free himself or yell loud enough for anyone to hear, he had lain there quite a while.
Not knowing how badly he was hurt or how long it would take to get help, the girl prayed, then lifted the tractor off her dad far enough that he was able to crawl out from underneath. That’s when they realized – she couldn’t lift that tractor! Neither could he. Even with adrenaline, the large tractor was just too heavy.
But she had done it – how? With two of the gifts, the gift of faith to believe she could lift it, and the gift of miracles to actually do it. Without the gift of faith she wouldn’t have attempted it in the first place. Combined with the gift of miracles, she was able to do it.
The story of her father’s miracle rescue soon spread across the nation in both secular and Christian newspapers and television, then across the world by way of the internet.
These are just a few ways in which the gifts can be practical, helpful, and actually life-saving in a believer’s everyday life. More later.