Come Holy Spirit: Learning To Respond To The Spirit

This articles explores the priority of putting the Spirit at the center of our gathered meetings and our practice of becoming sensitive to His leading.


Vineyard USA

Extending the Kingdom of God through church planting and missional living.

Putting The Spirit At The Center

Central to the Vineyard’s understanding of how we “do church” with the Holy Spirit at the center is this one important idea. We believe that  we can learn and grow in our capacity to discern the Spirit’s activity all around us.

To do this, we cultivate an awareness that we call “looking for what the Father is doing.” When we see Jesus at work in someone’s life, whether it be a neighbor whose heart is becoming soft to God during a painful divorce, or a child beginning to lead his or her peers in faith, we want to be quick to partner with the Spirit in that work in the person’s life.

One early story in the Vineyard illustrates this well. John Wimber was praying for a woman after a service who had arthritis and some problems with her digestive tract. As John began to pray, he had a sense from the Lord that the woman was angry with someone. When he asked her about it, she definitively said she was not angry with someone. John, listening to the Holy Spirit and the impressions forming in him, asked her if she was angry with her sister. The woman was shocked. “How did you know about that?” she asked. She went on to share the bitterness she was holding toward her sister. John prayed with her, encouraging her to forgive her sister. The woman went away and later wrote a letter to her sister. When the letter hit the mailbox, “her pain began to subside. Within three days, all the symptoms of her illnesses had disappeared.” (Wimber, Kingdom Mercy, p. 33-34)

Becoming Sensitive To The Spirit

As we grow in listening and looking for what the Father is doing, we can become increasingly more sensitive to the Spirit’s activity. If we believe that the Father is always at work, we as Christians can learn to perceive what God is doing and to join him in his work.

This takes practice. We have many stories in our history where a person had a picture show up in their mind of a part of someone’s body that needed healing. When they shared it in a time of prayer ministry, a person in the room had that exact ailment and received prayer. In many cases, they were healed. When people allow God to use them in others’ lives, Hope enters the room.

Learning to respond to the Spirit doesn’t just happen in church settings. As we cultivate a life of personal prayer, purity, and worship, our hearts are sensitized to the whispers of the Holy Spirit everywhere we go.

When we go out in public, in our neighborhoods, schools, grocery stores, and workplaces, God often has gifts he wants to give to those who don’t yet know him. This is one of the great privileges of learning to hear the Spirit’s voice. We can join him in touching someone’s life in a dramatic way.

We have many stories across our international Vineyard family of the Holy Spirit speaking a very specific word of insight to a person, who then shares what the Lord spoke to them with a non-Christian. Often, the insight is exactly applicable to that person’s situation, and they are so touched that God would care about them that much, they come to faith in Jesus. Sometimes people come to faith in Jesus when a believer, with a sense that they are to pray for that person’s illness, asks God to heal them. In many cases, they are completely healed! After someone is healed, we have found that they are very open to God’s leadership in their lives, and they come to faith in Christ. We call these “power encounters,” and often God uses our local church communities to reach people through these kinds of “signs and wonders.”

Jesus said he would send power from on high to equip his Church, and he was faithful to follow through. Click To Tweet

We Can All Welcome The Spirit

But these average people in our congregations aren’t spiritual super heroes. They are just everyday Christians taking Jesus at his word. They are mothers, children, mechanics, business people, medical professionals, and more – who are learning to obey the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said he would send power from on high to equip his Church, and he was faithful to follow through. Now we, as the Body of Christ, can become people led by his Spirit in all of life. In our worship, in our prayers, we can be aware of God’s presence in us and with us.