Alex & Hannah Absalom
If you want to see your church, group and personal leadership grow, perhaps the most vital area to address is our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. We want to be men and women who walk closely in step with the Spirit.
Paul wrote in Romans 8:9: “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” Our part, therefore, is to actively pursue the Spirit-filled life, doing all we can to become more attentive to His ways and priorities.
There are a huge number of disciplines and concepts that could be recommended – but to make things simple, here are 5 resources that might be useful to you in this journey. They consist of two books, two practical tools, and a set of teaching videos – so, something for everyone!
1. BOOK – REVIVAL STARTS HERE by Dave Clayton
Subtitled, A Short Conversation on Prayer, Fasting and Revival for Beginners Like Me, this excellent (and genuinely short at 80 pages!) book by Dave Clayton has caused quite the stir in the Nashville region. Dave writes with clarity, grace, and a warm invitation to step further into exploring the power of prayer and fasting, giving LOTS of practical coaching and tips on all aspects of what goes on.
One result of this book was that the Holy Spirit stirred up churches across the Nashville region to commit to pray and fast for every person by name who lives in the city at the start of 2019. By coming together in unity and prayer, churches were able to collaborate and see vital spiritual foundations laid down across their city.
2. TOOL – A 5 WORD PROCESS WHEN HEALING THE SICK
We are commanded by Jesus to go and heal the sick (not simply pray for the sick!). Yet when we find ourselves with someone who needs physical healing, we can find ourselves uncertain of what to say. To help you, and those you lead, here are 5 simple words that will create a pathway for you, and those you lead, to follow:
- LISTEN – Identify the real issue.
This means asking the person what they really want, and listening clearly to both them and the Spirit simultaneously.
- DISCERN – “How should I pray?”
A vital discipline is to pause in God’s presence before we start praying, so that we can gain clarity from the Spirit about what sort of prayer is needed. For instance, the way you pray for healing from a headache is different to when someone is seeking deliverance from an addiction.
- PRAY – Share the Father’s heart.
The top purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is that people encounter the love of God. Thus when we pray for sick, the great test is not were they healed (although we very much want that), but did they experience the Father’s love for them.
- REVIEW – “What’s going on?”
While still in an attitude of prayer, you ask the person what they feel any better (if that can be measured) and/or what they are sensing from God. This then will help you assess if you need to pray further or in a slightly different direction.
- CLARIFY – How to move forward.
Here you give the person who received the prayer ministry tips on their next steps – such as finding someone to share their story of healing with, or encouraging them to keep coming back for prayer until they are healed, or making a doctor’s appointment to check out what has gone on!
These five words – Listen, Discern, Pray, Review, and Clarify – will give you a clear framework when seeking to heal the sick, and help set you and them up for a Kingdom-expanding experience.
If you would like a fuller teaching on this topic, either check out the free coaching video we produced – http://www.dandelionresourcing.com/2019/04/18/how-to-heal-the-sick/, or look out for our new book on this topic later this year.
3. TOOL – “CAN I PRAY FOR YOU?”
When was the last time that you intentionally placed yourself in a position where if the Holy Spirit didn’t clearly respond to your prayer, you’d end up looking pretty foolish?
We felt the Lord challenge us about this a number of years ago. It is so easy to simply offer our considered words of (possible) wisdom, and rarely (if ever) offer a response that clearly demonstrates that we have a vibrant, minute-by-minute relationship with the mighty Creator Lord and King of the universe, who loves to intervene in our lives today!
This is especially true when we are spending time with non-Christian friends, neighbors and colleagues. Too often we fear being ‘outed’ as a spiritual person who really believes that Jesus is alive and is answering prayer today! Yet we have found that SO many Gospel conversations open up when we take the step of faith to operate like a truly spiritual person.
Specifically, this means that one of our first responses to any situation is to ask, ‘Can I pray for you?’ It’s fine to start by practicing on Christians (be warned: a surprising number will not really want prayer), but let’s also live this out amongst the lost. “I’m really worried about my child’s behavior. My boss is as mean as a snake. Money is so tight and I don’t know what to do. I’ve had this messed up knee for months now.” All are opportunities where we could simply respond with sympathy and word of wisdom… or we could start by acting as women and men, and girls and boys, who know that the Holy Spirit lives inside us and that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us who believe.
“This might sound a little strange, but I think God would love to help you in your situation. Would it be okay if I prayed for you now?”… and see what happens when you place yourself in the position where you are absolutely dependent upon the Holy Spirit!
4. BOOK – MIRACULOUS MOVEMENTS by Jerry Trousdale
Sometimes what we really need is some inspiring testimony… and this book packs it in! Built around stories from Christians in the Global south, they especially focus on how millions are coming to Christ in Muslim majority nations, where often there is persecution of those who convert. Stories abound of the Holy Spirit doing incredible things (dreams, miracles, healings, protection from armed violence, provision, etc), and how this stirred faith and all-in commitment to Jesus.
Alongside the stories, Trousdale also draws out a number of the key principles that the churches in these nations are implementing in order to build disciple-making movements. These include prayer and fasting, looking for the Person of Peace, Discovery Bible Studies, and making everything so simple to reproduce. There are countless lessons for us in the West, and so much fuel to change our practices and priorities, and our trust in the Holy Spirit’s leading.
5. TEACHING VIDEOS – PRAYER, FASTING, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT
At Exponential Orlando 2019, there were multiple workshops on these topics, taught by leaders such as Mark Batterson, Sam Stephens, Steve Pike, and Travis and Amanda Garner. And now you can access these recordings. These are incredible training tools, both for those you lead, as well as for your own development. Click here to jump to the Exponential page and check out a FREE sample from the kit (https://exponential.net/register/prayer-fasting-holy-spirit-kit/) where you can register for access!
Alex and Hannah Absalom lead Dandelion Resourcing (http://www.dandelionresourcing.com) – where churches, networks and leaders are equipped to enter into naturally supernatural lives as they go in mission to form disciple-making disciples of Jesus. Check out their free TED talk-length coaching videos, which give you great content to train those you lead, or their Naturally Supernatural Coaching Cohort for an immersive equipping process into the supernatural lifestyle.