203. Wait for the Spirit.
'On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem but WAIT ... in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."' ( Acts 1:4-5) After the ascension of Jesus, in obedience to the instruction he had given through the Holy Spirit to the Apostles he had chosen, 'they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives ... When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying ... they all joined together CONSTANTLY in prayer ...' (Acts 1:12-14) . Elsewhere we read: 'They stayed CONTINUALLY at the temple, praising God.' ( Luke 24:53) To constantly pray, they had to continually stay in one place. 'When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.' ( Acts 2:1) Moreover, to constantly pray, they decided to fast so that they will not be distracted by the task of catering to a large group. Though the narrative doesn't say so, the words of Jesus support this assumption. "The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast." (Matthew 9:15) The greatest outpouring of the Spirit in the history of the Church, happened when a group numbering hundred and twenty, stayed continually in one place and prayed constantly for ten days until the Spirit came upon them on the day of Pentecost. However, it didn't begin with that many but with a number less than twenty five - 'Those present were the Apostles, ... along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brothers.' ( Acts 1:13-14) But before long, many others joined them, and it became 'a group numbering a hundred and twenty'. (Vs 15) Wherever believers have come together to pray consistently, there they have witnessed revivals. This still remains the only proven way to start a revival because the history of every revival bears witness to this truth. However, it need not necessarily begin with a group but can begin with an individual, as in the case of the Asuza street revival of 1906 in Los Angeles, when William J Seymour confined himself to his room and began to pray constantly. Before long, others joined him and once the revival began on April 9th, they had to move out to a bigger place in 312 Asuza street.
Once a pastor was heard lamenting: "O these tarrying meetings are so tiring!" Yes, it can be for those who do not have the presence of the Spirit in them but for others who have the Spirit in them, it can be refreshing! Therefore Scripture says that 'those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. The will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.' ( Isaiah 40:31) Waiting on the Lord is an act of worship. It is said of Anna the prophetess that 'she never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying.' ( Luke 2:37) When we wait for the Lord, it signifies his importance in our lives and our dependence on him. But Saul was too impatient to wait for the Lord and therefore was rejected as king. ( 1 Samuel 13:8-14) The Lord sought out a man after his own heart and found David, who knew very well the importance of waiting on the Lord. So he said: "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." (Psalm 27:14) It takes a strong faith and a glad heart to pray and praise constantly as the Apostles did, while they waited for the Spirit. We are too busy to wait for the Spirit but they were not! If Jesus could find time to wait in the wilderness for the power of the Spirit (Luke 4:1,14), all his servants too must find time to wait for the Spirit. We have no business being busier than Jesus! 'Be still and know that I am God.' (Psalm 46:10) Amen.