by Michael J. Holden - June 2001
(Partial fulfillment of the course Naturally Supernatural. Used by permission.)
The anointing for ministry, be it speaking or praying, I believe comes out of being yielded to the Holy Spirit for the specific occasion. However, the way we live our lives also affects the anointing. Our lifestyle should be pleasing to God.
I know that I have to keep very short accounts with God, constantly alert to my sinful tendencies and the ability of my mind to become easily distracted. To put it another way, I need to be disciplined in my daily life, not by falling into a routine, which would be another trap, but to be increasingly aware of God's still small voice calling me to prayer, repentance and/or action.
In preparing ahead of time for ministry, I have found it to be very helpful to be in prayer, to ask God for the infilling of the Holy Spirit, for His anointing and guidance and to receive prayer from others. It is as if I am filled with gifts to give away which will meet the needs of those to whom God knows I will minister. So, the anointing comes well before the time of ministry itself and continues until it is over, or there is no more for me to give away. Even when I no longer feel the anointing, the Lord can touch people.
Some may ask, "Is it all right to minister if one doesnt feel the anointing?" I believe that the answer is "Yes." This is what I believe God told me about this, "Michael, each anointing is of Me and what you feel, or anyone else feels might vary, but it is a sign of My presence and power to move in manifestations of My gifts. You will always know that I am there. Realize this, however, that it takes even greater faith to step out when you dont feel the anointing. After all, nothing is going to happen unless I am in it and its not your responsibility to make things happen. Thats My job. Your work is to believe as a vessel- whether you think you are worthy, or not. As some say; "Just do it!" As you do "the stuff" your faith will increase and so will the results."
Preparing to preach requires the same submission ahead of time. The anointing comes when asking God what He wants to achieve and then preparing under His guidance. Then, the ideas which flow out of His Spirit into my spirit may be put onto paper through a mind yielded to Him. He has never let me down when there has been a deadline. Praise God! I am still working on ideas He gave me in the past, meditating on them to determine if there is any further revelation, waiting for the time when He says now is the time to put these thoughts on paper and in order.
While I feel I must prepare to preach, I am also convinced that I have to be ready to put aside that which has been prepared if the Holy Spirit so leads and speak under His anointing as He would direct.
I want to become more aware of Him in my life and asked Him, "Lord, how can I be more aware of Your presence and enjoy Your anointing?" "Michael, just draw closer. Talk to Me. Speak to Me about all things. You have been grumbling about `all those Scriptures (a reference to my bad attitude toward The Anointing of the Holy Spirit Workbook!) and yet there werent many of them. You know when I touch you - the light touch on your forehead, the tingling sensation, the rising up of joy within." "Yes, Lord, I know I cant make it happen, but when it does, I cannot think of anything else I would rather experience. Lord, I have the feeling that You touch us sometimes just as a sign of Your Love. Thank You. It is a privilege to receive Your loving touch. I love You, Lord, and always welcome Your tangible presence."
I so much enjoy the anointing that often comes during worship. When the Spirit moves over the congregation as a whole and everyone sings in tongues in spirit moving harmony, it thrills my very being. Its as if heaven itself descends with angels singing His praises and God is very present. These are precious, awesome moments when everyone receives the anointing at the same time.
I want more anointing, so I asked the Lord, "Lord, I delight in the anointing when it comes. How can I have more and, Lord, what is its purpose?" "Michael, I delight to anoint those who are Mine. This is My way of encouragement. When I release anointing it is for those who receive to press into whatever they are sensing coming from Me. It may be a call to a particular ministry, or vocation. It may be an encouragement to be a channel of healing. It is for the moment. Can you have more? Yes, but I am sovereign in this. It is not to be taken lightly. As I asked John and James, `Can you drink this same cup?` If you want the anointing to the level in which I functioned, then you must be prepared to drink the same cup and listen to the Father as I did.
Michael, not all are thus called, only a very few. Do not desire the anointing for its own sake, but desire Me and I will give you whatever you need to follow in My ways.
Exercise your giftings. Trust in Me for the results whether you feel the anointing, or not. There is the potential in every Christian to raise the dead. Remember, do only what you see My Father do, or you will be into dead works, or worse."
During this course I have been much encouraged to let go of prepared, written material to which the teacher in me wants to cling in order not to miss anything important, for I value the truth above my own understanding. Rather, I have learned that what I believe others need to hear is not important. It is what God wants the listeners to hear at the moment of delivery that matters. I am to serve Him by serving them, in obedience to Him.
What does God want from me in the future, apart from obedience to Him, I do not know. I am at the school as an act of obedience and have asked Him several times what He wants of me when the two years are up. All He has said so far is that I should concentrate on what I am asked to do at the school and when that is completed, He will show me the next step. There is an implication that if He told me now, it would be difficult to concentrate on what is required at the school. So, I am content to wait and learn all that I can.
I asked God about receiving the anointing for the ministry function to which He has called me. "Michael, I give the anointing at My pleasure and at times of need. The first is just to say, `I love you as a sign of encouragement and confirmation. The second is both for long-term ministry and short-term needs. All believers are called to ministry, but ministry without anointing is like a car without gas, or an electrical instrument with no power. My power - energy in the spiritual realm - is needed to accomplish spiritual things. Being born from above is the beginning of My power potential operating through you. Again, like a car, it can be filled with energy source (gasoline) but until the engine is in proper working order, it is incapable of fulfilling its function. So you, My beloved, are being cleaned up, having your spiritual spark plugs cleaned, your emotional needs properly balanced, your whole engine put in proper working order, so that finely tuned you may function according to the manufacturers blue print and design."
I was encouraged by this word as He confirmed that I am where He wants me to be for now. I asked Him about anointing upon my life and His direction for anointing for the present time. "Michael, you know that I have anointed you for healing and teaching and in administrative gifts. Whatever else I have for you will emerge as you learn. Always keep yourself open to learning more. My revelation gifts are part of My grace. Never ever think or believe you have arrived. Always there is more. Truth - seek truth. Never be content to rest in your current understanding. Press on, but be sure that it is toward Me, always toward Me, rather than the thing. My blessing will be yours. Michael, I love you." Lord, I love You, too. Thank You for everything. You are beyond my understanding, but I want to press in, nevertheless.
I asked the Lord about maintaining the anointing. "Michael, you do need to become more aware of My abiding presence, for I am with you wherever you go and whatever the circumstances. Fasting is more than refraining from certain foods, or going without at certain times. That can be, and often is, nothing but religiosity and when it is that, it does not please Me. Fasting is giving up something which you could have according to your resources and opportunities and choosing instead to give those resources, or your time to Me. You go without for My sake. Yet, I do not need what you have except that I choose to use you as an instrument of My generosity, or outreach. So, going without food is beneficial to your body, for its cleansing from time to time and will allow you to come closer to Me when you pray and seek My face. Yet I would rather that you set for yourself a continual lifestyle of self-sacrifice, joyfully walking in My ways in the Kingdom, enjoying the benefits of being a consecrated vessel pouring out My provision, as the widows jars did in Elijahs time. This is what will maintain My anointing and My presence and My ability to use you as a vessel submitted to Me. Love is the key, is it not? Thats My new command and the key to entering in to all Christian activities. Look first to Me and love Me for Who I am. Let Me fill you with My love. You will be motivated, gifted and anointed, consecrated to carry out My wishes. For I would rather work through surrendered vessels than move sovereignly. Thats why I am forever looking throughout the world for those who are prepared to be fully submitted to Me. When you are, you have no agenda of your own. When you have become a cleansed vessel there is no limit to the power that can be released. Only believe that all things are possible, for it is My power at work and has nothing of dependence on you. Thats why the more of you that is out of the way, the more I may achieve through you. And yes, I know you want to go to Israel. Do you believe that is possible, that I will arrange it for the right time, in the right place for the length of time that is in your heart?" Yes, Lord, I believe that all things are possible for You and with You. Please guide me in my research and connect me with those You have already selected."
Through this course I feel released into a greater awareness of the work of the Holy Spirit and encouraged to take off all limits to what God can do in my life as I have come to know that my vision up to this time has been far too small.