We are often told – especially in prayer meetings – that we must pray to God for a new outpouring of His Spirit. We therefore say prayers like “God, send Your Spirit”, or “pour out Your Spirit afresh” and so on. The scripture most often referred to; the promise of the outpouring of the Spirit from the book of Joel in the Old Testament, was recited by Peter in his sermon on the first day of Pentecost:
17And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. 18And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. 19I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. 21And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts. 2:17-21)
As stated, this was a quote from the Old Testament regarding the promise of a future outpouring of the Holy Spirit. However, the reason Peter quoted these verses from the book of Joel on the day of Pentecost, was not because he expected this to happen in the future, but because the promise of the Spirit now, on that very day, had been fulfilled!
Before the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was not poured out on earth as today. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit was mainly working through the Priest, the Prophet, and the King. He wasn’t available for all, since He had not yet been poured out on the earth (which could only happen after God through Christ had reconciled the world to Himself).
However, on the first Pentecost the prophecy from the book of Joel was fulfilled. Since then, the Holy Spirit has been poured out for the past 2000 years! We therefore don’t have to pray for a new outpouring. The Holy Spirit is available for every believer today!
Instead of asking God to do what He has already done, we should say to God: “Thank You that the Holy Spirit lives in me. Help me to cooperate with Him today”. To pray for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit, is only a waste of time. It is better that we start believing that He actually lives in us, and prayerfully go out and preach the Gospel!
Prayer meetings, where we ask God to pour out His Spirit again, are not only expressions of ignorance and unbelief – they can easily become an excuse for passivity. Instead of doing what Jesus has told us to do, to go out, we hide inside our churches and wait for a feeling, or for God to somehow fall upon us (like on the day of Pentecost), so that our churches suddenly and automatically are filled with people who hunger for God.
If you are a born again, Spirit-filled, believer, the Holy Spirit already lives in You in full measure (Jn. 1:16, Col. 2:9-10). Instead of waiting for a new outpouring, start believing that the Holy Spirit lives in you and works through you! When we step out of our convenience and start doing what Jesus told us in the Great Commission, the Holy Spirit goes with us.
The great Evangelist T. L. Osborn said, “I don’t pray God down, I preach Him out”. When Jesus is preached and presented accurately, the Holy Spirit always shows up and confirms the message.