For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline [or a sound mind]. (2 Timothy 1:7)
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. (Ephesians 6:10)
Our November prayer focus is inviting and seeking the Holy Spirit to fill us with power. In addition to the nine qualities identified in the fruit of the Spirit list we find in Galatians 5:22-23, we are told in 2 Timothy 1:7 that the Spirit also gives us “power, love, and self-discipline.” In February, we prayed for the Holy Spirit to fill us with love—so we will take November and December to pray for these two remaining qualities: power and self-discipline (which, as noted above could be translated as “a sound mind” [KJV/NKJV; Phillips]).
The Greek word for power used in 2 Timothy 1:7 is a form of dunamis, which many preachers/teachers will note is the origin word for our English word dynamite. But unlike dynamite which even at its best is a power that is only capable of speeding up destruction, Holy Spirit power always heals and restores people (and creation) in the direction of God’s Kingdom. Holy Spirit power makes Christian witness more effective (Acts 1:8; Rom 15:19) and Christian hope more of a personal reality (Rom 15:13; Eph 3:16). Holy Spirit power turns hearts and minds toward King Jesus and away from all the misplaced affections and preoccupations that make hollow promises about finding life there. Holy Spirit power attacks the very gates of Hades or death (Matt 16:18) that cannot stand against it.
Any mention today of the word “power”—inside and outside the church—is often met with associations of “power abuse,” self-serving narcissism, or TV preachers promising miracles to those who give large donations “to the Lord.” However, the New Testament does not shy away from using the word “power” as a key characteristic of God (Matt 22:29; Acts 13:17; Rom 1:20; 2 Tim 1:8; Rev 19:1), of Jesus (Matt 24:30; Luke 4:14; Acts 10:38), and of God’s Kingdom (Mark 9:1; 1 Cor 4:20). Power is also something promised to Jesus’ disciples (Luke 9:1; 24:49; Acts 1:8; 6:8; Eph 6:10).
But this power that we pray for is always a power that builds, creates, refreshes, and restores in the direction of God’s Kingdom (or God’s Shalom). Therefore God’s power creates Christlike character in us so we can serve others more faithfully, love others more sacrificially, and live God’s truth more effectively. From that foundation, we have power to fight not against “flesh and blood” but against spiritual forces (Eph 6:12) who, although ultimately defeated by Jesus, are still trying to steal, kill, and destroy.
Holy Spirit power continues the work of Jesus bringing us and others life to the full (cf. John 10:10). Holy Spirit power looks like Jesus, smells like Jesus, and behaves like Jesus. This is the type of power that we are praying for.
As we pray the words “Holy Spirit—fill us with your power!”, we are asking for power that will draw our neighbours, co-workers, and family members toward King Jesus. We are asking for dynamite power that heals, restores, and brings life—and where all the glory, praise, and adoration does not get directed back toward us but entirely to Jesus and the Holy Spirit who are the source of that power.
Will you join with me to pray for that kind of power that is so desperately needed in our families and church communities?
- Where do you desperately need Holy Spirit power to transform your own character, affections, and desires in the direction of Jesus?
- Where do you desperately need Holy Spirit power to be a greater witness to Jesus and the gospel in your sphere of influence? (family, workplace, community?)
Pray words of invitation and welcome to the Holy Spirit for your own heart:
- Welcome Holy Spirit! Come and fill me today with your power!
- Welcome Holy Spirit! Give me power to worship you and you alone. Give me power to seek first your Kingdom and your righteousness. Give me power to be a faithful witness where you have placed me.
Pray words of invitation and welcome for the church:
- Welcome Holy Spirit! Come and fill ___________________ Church today!
- Welcome Holy Spirit! May your Holy Spirit fill our church family with your kind of power that heals and restores, invites and loves, overcomes and truly lives in hope of your coming Kingdom!
- Welcome Holy Spirit! May your Holy Spirit power be evident in ___________________ ’s life who is facing ___________________ . (Repeat this with specific names of those in your church, family, and community.)