“And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. – Acts 4:29-31 (ESV)

“Holy Spirit – I just don’t understand what’s going on and when things are going to change… I don’t see what you’re doing and it just feels like we’re stuck at every turn. We just need a breakthrough…”

That was the prayer I prayed out loud, one Wednesday evening in November 2021. Standing alongside my wife, Krista, we prayed with passion and a touch of despair as we were both desperate to see God move in our church.

By that point, we’d spent 20+ months doing our best to lead, carry, and push Meta Church forward despite innumerable challenges, setbacks, and resistance. Yet, no matter what we tried, or what we thought we were supposed to do, it seemed to have little-to-no staying power. For every one or two successful steps forward, it felt like we’d somehow fall backwards down another flight of stairs, erasing any semblance of progress.

So there I was – at a Meta Church prayer gathering – desperately calling on the Spirit to tell me what He was doing and pleading with Him to move on our behalves.

“We just need a breakthrough…”

As I uttered those words, my mind and spirit were immediately flooded with an image and a message from the Spirit above. No sooner than I spoke those words out loud, the Holy Spirit gave me a vision of an old school science experiment…

It was a picture of one of those plant-growing kits, filled with soil and a transparent pane so you can see what’s taking place.  In this kit was a small seed. But the seed wasn’t idle, for it was beginning to sprout. I saw this sprouting seed fighting its way through the soil, almost as if it was expending every bit of energy and courage it had just to get to the top of the display case. As it made its way to the surface of the soil, there was a brief pause – as if the “game” was over – before a shoot of green burst through the dark, damp soil! And there, after the struggle and the toil, appeared the small and fragile foundations of a bright green stalk.

All of this appeared to me in an instant, and just as quickly were the Holy Spirit’s words to me:

“This is what I’m doing with Meta Church… You’re a small seed that’s been planted. And you’ve been fighting for every bit of microscopic territory, just trying to make your way to the surface. Your seed is sprouting, but it’s all underground so it looks like nothing is going on. But in this next year – there will be breakthrough! Not the sort of breakthrough we typically envision where doors are being busted open and walls are crashing down all around us, but a breakthrough nonetheless. In this next year, you will see your seed start to sprout. And the evidence of the life and the work that’s been taking place in a hidden space, will start to reveal itself in a visible manner.”

Despite facing different circumstances, I had just experienced my own Acts 4:29-31 moment! A moment in which a group of believers gathered together during a time of confusion, uncertainty, and without clarity, to pray and to understand what the Holy Spirit was doing in their midst.

In that moment during Acts 4, and in my moment in November 2021, the Holy Spirit appeared and responded in demonstrable ways. In Acts 4, He chose to show Himself through the power of His indwelling in their lives, affirming their mission; and in November 2021, He chose to show a prophetic visual and speak clearly with the interpretation, instilling confidence in things to come.

That’s the thing about the Holy Spirit:

He’s always active and He’s always at work. He’s always on the move and He’s eager to bring us – you and me – into the fold!

So much of walking in the Spirit is about attuning and aligning ourselves with what the Holy Spirit is already doing. But this is far easier said than done. It’s sort of like an old school radio where you have to manually turn the dial and keep adjusting it until you’re able to tune in to the right frequency. (If you were born circa 1995 or later, you probably need to Google what I’m talking about, ha!)

So how do you tune in, or dial in, to the Spirit?

Well, clearly Prayer is a mechanism for doing just that. But it’s not just any prayers. It’s specific prayers… It’s prayers that take the focus off of, or away from, me and that fix my focus and concentration on Him.

This is the key. As you seek to walk in the Spirit, or learn how to begin, you must set your attention on Him (just as I shared in the first devotional in this series). You must learn to look for Him. You must learn to call out to Him. You must learn to listen for His voice. You must learn to trust how He responds. And you must learn to accept that His revelation will come in different ways.

So as you pray, here are three simple prayers you can begin utilizing and leveraging to help you increase your awareness to the Holy Spirit’s activity in your life:

  • Holy Spirit, show me what you’re doing. 
  • Holy Spirit, tell me what you’re doing. 
  • Holy Spirit, help me be a part of what you’re doing.

I’m confident that as you begin to incorporate these types of prayers into your weekly rhythms and routines, you will begin to hone into the Holy Spirit’s frequency and become aware of His activity.

Oh, and by the way – in case you haven’t noticed, that little Meta “seed” that was fighting its way through the soil is starting to grow quite nicely 😉