Rev Dr Edgar Mayer – Living Grace Lutheran Church, Toowoomba – Date: 22 January 2017

For more sermons and other writings, please check the following homepage: www.livinggracetoowoomba.org

 

Believing Before Having

 

When Kenneth Hagin was fifteen years old, he was dying. (Two years after this experience, he would preach his first sermon and later become a preacher with a worldwide ministry which included television and radio programs, publishing books and magazines, founding a prayer and healing centre and Bible college.) Three times, his spirit left his body and descended downwards. He descended to the entrance of hell (it was hot and stifling), but just before he was drawn into the fire which was waiting for him, three times a voice spoke from heaven. He could not understand the language, but every time he was being released, ascended again, came back to his room and entered his body.

The third time, his spirit left his body (and he was dead with no pulse, no heart beat, cold flesh and eyes set), he panicked, because he knew where he was going. And he fought the experience, until he became a Christian:

 

As I began to descend in the darkness this third time, my spirit cried out, “God, I belong to the church! I’ve been baptized in water!” I waited for Him to answer, but no answer came — only the echo of my own voice as it came back to mock me…

The second time I cried a little louder, “God! I belong to the church! I’ve been baptized in water!” Again, I waited for an answer, but there was no answer, only the echo of my own voice through the darkness.

It would frighten a congregation out of their wits if I ever imitated the way I screamed the third time, although, if I could scare them out of hell and into heaven, I’d do it! I literally screamed, “GOD! GOD! I BELONG TO THE CHURCH! I’VE BEEN BAPTIZED IN WATER!” And all I heard was the echo of my own voice.

I came again to the bottom of that pit. Again, I could feel the heat as it beat me in the face. Again, I approached the entrance, the gates into hell itself. That creature took me by the arm. I intended to put up a fight if I could to keep from going in. I only managed to slow down my descent just a little, and he took me by the arm.

Thank God that voice spoke. I don’t know who it was — I didn’t see anybody — I just heard the voice. I don’t know what he said, but whatever he said, that place shook; it just trembled. And that creature took his hand off my arm.

It was just as if there was a suction to my back parts. It pulled me back, away from the entrance to hell, until I stood in the shadows. Then it pulled me up headfirst. As I was going up through the darkness, I began to pray. My spirit, the man who lives inside this physical body, is an eternal being, a spirit man. I began to pray,

“O God! I come to You in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I ask You to forgive me of my sins and to cleanse me from all sin.”

I came up beside the bed. The difference between the three experiences was that I came up on the porch the first time; I came up at the foot of the bed the second time; and I came up right beside the bed the third time. When I got inside my body, my physical voice picked up and continued my prayer right in the middle of the sentence. I was already praying out of my spirit.

 

This was dramatic. Kenneth Hagin learned by experience that it was not enough to go to church without actually committing your heart to Jesus. And it was not enough to receive baptism (to receive the washing away of sins in this action) without trusting Jesus and asking him to forgive your sins.

The third time, he came back to his body, he was being saved and a Christian. But he was still sick, and they still feared for his life. Kenneth himself expected to die, but now he knew that he would not go downwards. He would be with Jesus, and it was okay.

 

Kenneth Hagin: I Believe in Visions, p12-30 [He was 15 years old at the time]:

 

Doctors did not know anyone that had lived beyond the age of sixteen in that condition (a deformed heart and an incurable blood disease from birth). Heart was not beating right and was very weak. Lower limbs were paralyzed. Partly paralyzed in throat and lung. Alert in the morning but after 10 o’clock often lying in a stupor. Kenneth Hagin’s legs were just bones with a little skin stretched over them. There was no meat or muscle on the thighs or calves. He would lie in bed for sixteen months.

 

Through my experience, God brought me to a knowledge of salvation, which is the best thing in the world to know. I was so thankful to know that my heart was right with God, and to know that if I should die before morning I would go to be with Him. Every night when the lights were out and my family was in bed, I was left alone with my thoughts. I did a lot of thinking and praying. I remember thanking God that

I was saved and was His child. I told the Lord I was going to go to sleep smiling and praising Him, and if I should die during the night, they would find me with a smile on my face and a praise in my heart. While praising the Lord, I would drift off to sleep. I never had to take anything to help me sleep, and this is still true today.

The Bible tells us that God “giveth his beloved sleep” (Ps. 127:2). I am His beloved, as is every Christian, so we can simply take that verse, thank Him for it, and go to sleep peacefully. We don’t need any tranquilizers.

The next morning, I was awakened by the sun streaming across my bed. The first thing I did was to praise God. I thanked Him for the light of another day. I thanked Him for the sun, trees, flowers, grass, and leaves. I thanked Him for the songs the birds sang. I praised Him for all of these little things that are so wonderful, marvelous, and beautiful.

I had never heard anyone praise God like this, but when one’s heart is in tune with God and he knows he is ready for heaven, there is an automatic praise in his soul. I didn’t know anything about divine healing. I didn’t know that God answered that kind of prayer. But I thanked God that I didn’t die and go to hell!

At noon, when Granny would bring my lunch to me on a tray, I would pray and thank God for food. Then I would say, “Lord, I guess I won’t be here by the time the evening shadows fall. I’ll probably slip away this afternoon. But I’m so glad I am saved! I’m so glad You didn’t let me die and go to hell! I’m so glad I didn’t have to stay down there!”

After a while, evening would come, and soon I would be alone in the dark once more. Again, I would praise the Lord for salvation. I would tell Him that I probably would pass away during the night, but I was thankful to be saved and ready to meet Him. I would go to sleep smiling and praising the. Day after day, week after week, month after month I did this.

 

Month after month, Kenneth expected to die, but he was glad and joyful over his salvation. Then, he was feeling a little better and there was a change coming.

 

In the fall of that year, when the weather became cooler, I began to feel somewhat better. Granny would prop me up in bed. Then she would bring her Bible to me and prop it up in front of me. I often say that I was a Baptist boy reading my grandmother’s “Methodist” Bible.

When I first started reading the Bible I could read only 10 minutes at a time — I couldn’t see after that. The next day I would read for another 10 or 15 minutes. After a few weeks of reading this way, I could read for an hour at a time. Finally, I could read for as long as I liked.

I had been brought up in Sunday School. I can’t remember the first time I went to church, nor can I remember the first time I ever read the Bible. It seems, too, that I have prayed all my life. But until that Saturday night when God permitted me to have a glimpse of hell, I really had never been born again.

You can be religious and not be a born-again child of God. When you are born again, however, the same Bible that you have been reading all your life suddenly looks different. As I read Granny’s Bible, I found that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The doctors said that I could die at any time, so when I began reading the Bible I began with the New Testament. I reasoned, “I have to utilize this 10 minutes, or whatever time I have, so I will start with the New Testament.”

I read through the Book of Matthew and began reading in the Book of Mark. There I read a verse which was to transform my life: “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24). [Mark 11:24 NKJV: “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

Salvation is, of course, the most important thing that can happen to a person. But you cannot possibly understand the all-consuming desire a person can have for health, healing, and life when he never has had a normal childhood, has been sick all of his life, and then lies bedfast month after month, knowing that this will be his deathbed before long. The greatest desire of my heart was to be well and strong. And here in this verse of Scripture Jesus said, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” [“Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”]

It seemed as if someone had turned on a bright light in a very dark room. And you cannot imagine how dark it can be, even in the daytime, when you are shut in between four walls and are staring at the ceiling all the time with a feeling of utter hopelessness.

I didn’t know that the Psalmist had said, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105). But without knowing the Word, I had the experience. The whole room suddenly seemed engulfed in light, and there seemed to be light on the inside of me. I never have forgotten that experience or that Scripture. It is as if it were branded on my heart.

 

Kenneth Hagin: Bible Faith Study Guide: I prayed many hours a day, day after day, week after week, and month after month. I was born again – but I wasn’t getting any results as far as obtaining my healing. I’d pray and was sure God had heard me and had healed me because I sort of had the feeling that He had. I don’t mean I felt it physically, because I didn’t feel any different. But I just felt like He had heard me. I can’t say that physically I felt that God heard me; but I’m talking about a spiritual sense of some kind.

When I would pray for healing, I would sense, this is it; my prayer has been answered…

 

Kenneth Hagin: Understanding the Anointing, Faith Library Productions 1994, p23-24: I remember the night I was born again: I was born again the 22nd day of April 1933. I know that an unction or anointing came into me that very night. I am just as conscious of it on the inside of me as I am of my two ears on the outside of me.

The Holy Spirit began to try to teach me a lot of things, but my head wouldn’t go along with it. I didn’t know to listen to Him. So often we have been religiously brainwashed. Our heads are all cluttered up with religious things, and we have not been trained to listen to and follow our spirits.

But it was there on that bed of sickness as a 15- and 16-year-old invalid that I got into the Word, and the Spirit of God taught me about divine healing.

Five doctors had told me, “You’re going to die—that’s all there is to it. You can’t live. There’s not one chance in a million for you to live.”

But something inside me—that anointing that teaches you all things—that inward “something”—said, “You don’t have to die. Not now. Not at this age. Not as a teenager. You can live. You can be healed!”

I said, “Can I?”

Something inside me said, “It’s all in the Book. Get in the Book. The Bible—that’s where it is!” And thank God I got in there, and He taught me. I didn’t have an earthly teacher.

It was difficult, however. It’s easier to learn spiritual things if you have a human teacher, because you can see the teacher, listen to him or her, and the witness of the Holy Spirit on the inside of you will let you know whether or not they’re teaching what is right.

Thank God, He taught me. I listened to Him, and He led me right into the Word, right into faith—and right into healing.

 

Kenneth experienced another Bible truth – Romans 10:17: “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” Faith comes from hearing God. Faith comes from hearing God speaking to you, and he speaks to us through the Bible, the message about Jesus Christ and all of his promises, and what they mean for us today. (And then there also prophetic words that are in line with the Bible truths.) When Kenneth Hagin stumbled over Mark 11:24 – [“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”] – he experienced the turning on of a bright light in the darkness of his despair. He also said that the words of this Bible verse branded themselves on his heart. Somehow God used his word – a verse in the Bible – to take hold of this young man, and his journey of faith began. He believed. He dared to believe God.

Somehow, he had a sense that this Bible verse applied to the healing of his body, if he only believed. Maybe this is important to highlight that you want to hear from God about your condition – or your specific request – before you commit to exercising faith.

It is not so difficult when it comes to healing, because the Bible is quite specific to believe for healing and pray for healing. So, whenever we are not quite sure what to do, there are enough Bible passsages to teach us this lesson: If in doubt, believe for healing. This is what Paul did about histhorn in the flesh”. He naturally prayed believing for his own healing, and only stopped when Jesus deliberately taught him otherwise – 2 Corinthians 12:7-9: “… because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’”

However, when it is about another course of action – maybe taking out a loan or moving somewhere else or taking greater risks – we want to be sure that we have heard from God first. Peter walked on water by faith, but only after he heard Jesus beckon him to come out of the boat towards him (see Matthew 14:28-29).

Kenneth Hagin had heard from God about his healing, but it would not come to him easily.

 

Naturally, the devil was right there to plant doubt in my heart. The minute the light came, he came, too. I didn’t know at the time, however, that it was the devil. I didn’t have enough spiritual discernment or knowledge of the Word to know.

Subtly the thought came that maybe the words “. . .whatever things you ask” didn’t apply to physical things, but just to spiritual things. Maybe it just meant “. . .whatever things you ask” spiritually.

The light went out. Doubt had blown out the candle of faith, and I was in the dark again. I had believed what the devil had told me, and again I thought there was no hope. I thought I had to die!

I decided to send for my pastor and ask him exactly what Mark 11:24 meant. Looking back now, I see how foolish it was to send for someone to ask if Jesus really told the truth or not! But this was all so new to me, and I had great confidence in my pastor up until this time. I would have believed anything he told me. I was just like so many other people who are following men and not really following God.

I try to tell people whom I minister to not to believe something just because I say it. That doesn’t make it so. If I cannot prove by the Bible that what I am saying is truth, then don’t believe it. Don’t accept it. I have no right to force any of my theories or pet doctrines on someone else. I would not want to impose any of my convictions on others. Let us live by the Word of God.

Longing to talk to my pastor about this Scripture, I called Granny to my bedside and asked her to go get the pastor, who lived about four blocks from our house. She walked to the parsonage, asked to see the pastor, and told him that I wanted him to come to see me. He said he was very busy that day, but he would come two days later.

She suggested that he come early in the morning, because I was more rested and alert then than later in the day. (After about 10 o’clock in the morning, I usually lay in a stupor for the rest of the day.) He said he would come about 8:30 in the morning.

During the years before I became bedfast, I had been very faithful in attending Sunday School. I never had missed. Yet in all the time I had been sick, the pastor had not been to see me once.

When Thursday morning came, the day appointed for his visit, I eagerly looked forward to seeing him and asking him the questions that burned on my heart. Eight-thirty came and went. Nine o’clock came, and I looked anxiously for my pastor. Nine-thirty, then 10 o’clock, but still no word from him. And even though I lay on that bed for another entire year, he never did come to see me.

Although I was crushed with disappointment and disillusionment at the time, I could look back later and see that it was best that the pastor did not come, for he would have told me the wrong thing. Rather than inspiring my faith to believe God for my physical healing, he simply would have reinforced the doubts I already had.

When my pastor didn’t come to see me, my grandmother walked to another part of town to see yet another preacher in whom she had great confidence. She told him about my condition, and that I had asked to see a preacher. He told her that he would come, but he, too, failed to keep his promise. Again, I cried with disappointment when he did not arrive, and again it really was a blessing that he didn’t. (Many things we cry about are for our own good, but we don’t realize it at the time. We wouldn’t be crying if we could just see into the future.)

My aunt, who was a member of another church, said her pastor would come to see me. However, by this time I was certain that he, too, would not come. My aunt was superintendent of the Junior Department in the Sunday School of her church. During the years I was eligible to go in her department, when I was 9 through 11 years of age, I went to Sunday School with her and never had missed a Sunday. I had met her pastor, of course.

One day I heard someone knocking on the front door. A member of my family answered the door, and the minute I heard the voice of the caller, I recognized it as the voice of my aunt’s pastor.

Suddenly my heart leaped with joy because I thought I could ask him what this Scripture meant. Surely, he would know and could clear up this confusion in my mind. I knew if this Scripture meant what I thought it meant, I was coming off of that bed! At that time, only one person at a time was allowed in my room, so the pastor came in alone. Until he stooped over me, I couldn’t see him too clearly. Then his face came into focus.

Partially paralyzed in my throat and tongue, I could not speak distinctly, and I would say a lot of things backwards. Sometimes it would take me a long time to get my words out. Often, I would have to stumble around for 10 minutes before I could ask a question. My brain didn’t seem to work right.

I moved my mouth and lips, trying to say something. I tried to call his name. I tried to tell him to get my Bible and turn to Mark 11:24 and tell me what it meant, but I couldn’t get the words out. I was just stuttering; I couldn’t frame the words.

Before I could say anything, he thought that I was unable to talk. He patted my hand and drawled in his professionally pious voice, “Just be patient, my boy. In a few more days it will ALL be over.” Then he laid my hand down and left the room.

Although this pastor had prayed no prayer with me, he went into the living room and said a prayer with my family. For some reason, my hearing was very keen at this time, and I could distinctly hear every word he said, although he didn’t pray very loudly. He said, “Heavenly Father, we ask You to bless this dear grandmother and grandfather who are about to be bereaved of their grandson. Prepare their hearts for the dark hour that is about to come upon them.”

As I listened to this prayer, I was like the naughty little boy who was being punished by his schoolteacher by having to stand in a corner. He might have been standing up outwardly, but he thought to himself that on the inside he was sitting down. I felt just as rebellious as that little boy. Although I couldn’t speak the words audibly, on the inside of me I was shouting, “I’m not dead yet!”

I listened as this pastor continued his prayer. “Bless this dear, brokenhearted mother who is about to lose her son.” My mother had had some hope until then, but he robbed her of what she had, and she started crying.

After the preacher left, my grandmother came into my room and asked me if it would be all right for this preacher to preach at my funeral, as he was the only one who had come to see me. I agreed that this would be all right. Granny then asked me what songs I wanted sung at my funeral. I told her I didn’t have any favorites. They could sing whatever they wanted. She suggested two or three, and I said they would be all right. Then she asked me about pallbearers. She suggested some, and I told her they would be all right. My mother asked me if I wanted to be buried in a certain place that she mentioned, and I agreed. Then they left my room. Although the sun was still shining brightly outside, it seemed ever so dark in my room.

All of this so stunned me that I lay motionless on my bed for 30 days. 1 gave up and wanted to die.

 

Wow! Let down by three pastors! Why did Jesus not send someone to explain the Bible verse to him? Thirty days, Kenneth lay motionless on his bed, filled with disappointment, grief and despair. But God had a plan, and Kenneth needed the depth of this experience – all the disappointments and slow victories – to learn the lesson which would sustain him and his ministry for life. (Sometimes, you cannot rely on the opinion of others but need to discover the truth yourself.

 

After about 30 days, I began to read the Bible again. I still couldn’t seem to get away from Mark 11:24: “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” [Mark 11:24 NKJV: “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”]

Later in the fall I became bolder. I told the Lord I had sent for two preachers who didn’t come. The third came, but I realized that it would have been better if he hadn’t. I told the Lord that when He was on earth He said, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them,” and that I desired to be healed.

I told Him I was going to take Him at His Word: I was going to believe He told the truth, and this verse meant what it said. If the New Testament was true, then I was going to come off this bed. I told Him I was going to live and not die. “If I don’t get off this bed, then the Bible isn’t so, and I am going to have them take it and throw it in the trash can.” I meant business!

I was determined to get up from that bed, but I still didn’t know how to act my faith in that verse of Scripture. A person can cry, pray, and do everything he knows to do, but if he doesn’t have faith, he will remain the same. Jesus didn’t say just to pray. The key word in this Scripture is believe.

At this time, I didn’t fully understand faith. I prayed and prayed, but I didn’t get any results. I was sure that God heard me, and I had a good feeling inside me. Yet my heart still wasn’t beating normally.

What I didn’t know then is that we have to go by faith, not by our feelings. We have to stand on the promises in God’s Word and not look at the circumstances surrounding us.

I did improve to the extent that I was able to use my hands. Sometimes Granny would prop me up in bed for a short time. I would reach down and feel my legs. There was no muscle at all, just bone. I was extremely skinny. I seemed to be making no real headway, and I said, “Lord, I thought You would heal me.” I was so sure that He had heard me, but I felt no better. I know now that just feeling better after you pray is no sign that God heard you; likewise, feeling no better after you pray is no sign that God didn’t hear you.

We cannot rely on how we feel. We have to come back to what God’s Word says about the matter. For months, I struggled this way.

 

Kenneth grew bolder, saying: “‘If I don’t get off this bed, then the Bible isn’t so, and I am going to have them take it and throw it in the trash can.’ I meant business!” But nothing happened despite his boldness and despite his prayers and despite his expectation that he would be healed. Nothing happened.

 

When New Year’s Day 1934 rolled around, it was moving day. Grandpa owned several houses in town, and he decided to move into another one of them. He had told the people who were renting this certain house that he wanted it for his own use. When they moved, he had it redecorated, and then we were ready to move in.

When the movers came, they moved the furniture from the other parts of the house first, saving the furniture in my bedroom until last. When they came to move my furniture, an ambulance came and moved me. While I was riding along in the ambulance, one of the attendants remarked that he had heard I had been in bed for about a year now.

“Nine months, to be exact,” I told him. He said that if I felt like it, they would take me for a little ride through the residential areas so I could see the scenery. I was so happy for this chance to see things I had been missing for so many months. The smallest joys, which we so often take for granted, can bring immense pleasure to one who has been deprived of them for so long.

I was able to move my head to look out the window as they drove slowly through the town. Then the ambulance attendant said, “Son, if you feel up to it, we’ll drive down to the square. Since it is a holiday, there probably won’t be much traffic, and you might enjoy it.” How wonderful, I thought, to get to see that old courthouse again, the stores, and other buildings in this beloved little town of McKinney with its population of 8,000 or 9,000.

I saw the familiar old drugstore on the corner. I saw the J. C. Penney’s store. Next to that was the Mode O’Day dress shop and next to that was Woolworth’s. On down was a shoe store and on the next corner a ladies’ ready-to-wear shop. Then we turned to go down the south side of the square. I drank in all of these sights, not knowing when, if ever, I might see them again.

Just as we turned the corner and started down the south side of the square, I turned and looked at the old courthouse that sat in the middle of the square. I shall never forget that moment as long as I live. In that instant, something said to me, “Well, you never did think you would ever see these old buildings again. And you wouldn’t have, if it hadn’t been for the kindness of the man who is taking you.”

Then I remembered the verse in Mark 11:24: “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them,” and I recalled the verse that went before it which said, “he shall have whatsoever he saith.” [Mark 11:23-24 NKJV: “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”]

As I said it in that ambulance that day, tears rolled down my face. I didn’t understand all that I know now. I had just one small gleam of light. It was like a little light that might peep through a crack in the door, but it was a beginning point for me this first day of January 1934 about 2 o’clock in the afternoon.

I said, “Yes, I will see these buildings and this courthouse again. I will come and stand in this courthouse square, because Jesus said that what you believe in your heart and say with your mouth shall come to pass.” I had committed myself.

 

God used the ride in the ambulance to build faith in Kenneth. Hedrank in all of these sightsof his home town, looked at the old courthouse that sat in the middle of the square in the centre of town, and – in a moment that he would never forget as long as he lived – realized the weakness of his faith so far: “Well, you never did think you would ever see these old buildings again. And you wouldn’t have, if it hadn’t been for the kindness of the man who is taking you.” And then something rose up from inside of him, he remembered Mark 11:23-24 with purpose, and committed himself: “Yes, I will see these buildings and this courthouse again. I will come and stand in this courthouse square, because Jesus said that what you believe in your heart and say with your mouth shall come to pass.”

God let him see the old courthouse and hometown to give him a taste and fresh desire of what he will do for him. In the Bible, God did do the same with Abraham. Please also notice how much God worked with Kenneth’s personal desire to be healed and Abraham’s personal desire to have a son. God is not against our heart’s desires, at least they are not always rejected on the basis of being selfish.

 

David Yonggi Cho: The Fourth Dimension (Volume I), Gainesville: Bridge-Logos Publishers 1979, p33: God has been using this language of the Holy Spirit to change many lives. Look carefully when you read Genesis 13:14-15, “And the Lord said unto Abraham, after that Lot was separated from him, ‘lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, northward, southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever.’” [Genesis 13:14-15: “The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, ‘Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.’”]

God did not say, “Oh, Abraham, I’ll give you Canaan. Just claim it.” No, very specifically, God told him to stand from his place, look northward, southward, eastward, and westward, and that He would give that land to Abraham and his descendants...

Seeing is possession. Abraham saw the land; he then went back to his tent, and to his bed, to dream of the lands which were going to become his. In his fourth dimension the Holy Spirit began to use that language. The Holy Spirit began to carry out dominion.

 

Genesis l5:2-6: But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless…” And Abram said, “You have given me no children…”

Then the word of the Lord came to him: “… a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

 

But something was still not working for Kenneth Hagin:

 

January and February went by, and I was still bedfast. March, April, May, June, and July went by. The devil might have said it wasn’t working, but I held onto my confession and refused to give up. I kept telling the Lord that I was going to hold on, that I was standing on His Word, and it had to work!

Finally, I saw what I had been doing wrong: I wasn’t really believing what God’s Word said. I was saying it in my mind, but I wasn’t believing it with my heart or acting upon it with my heart.

I realized that for months [seven months] I had been hoping I would grow better gradually. I was praying with hope, not faith, and that won’t get the job done. I realized that my faith was not yet based on what God’s Word said, but only on what I could see and feel. I could feel that my heart wasn’t beating right yet. I often would look at my legs and arms and start crying because they were unchanged. I was believing only what I could see with my physical eyes.

Thus, I came to the second week of August 1934. That Tuesday, I prayed through the early morning hours. At the usual time my mother came in and helped me with my bath. It was about 8:30 when she left the room. I continued to pray.

I had been struggling with Mark 11:24 for a long time, but I still wasn’t any better. I told the Lord, “You said when You were on earth that ‘what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ [‘…whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.’] I desire to be healed, and I believe. If You were to stand here in my room and I could see You with my physical eyes and take hold of your hand, and if You were to tell me my trouble is that I’m not believing, I would have to say this isn’t true. I am believing.”

Then a voice on the inside of me spoke so clearly it seemed as if someone had spoken audibly: “Yes, you are believing as far as you know, but the last clause of that verse says, ‘and ye shall have them.’

I believed as much as I knew how to believe, but I didn’t know enough. A person cannot pray and get faith. The Bible says that faith comes “… by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). We need knowledge of the Word. When this light of knowledge from the Word comes, faith is automatically there.

In this moment, I saw exactly what that verse in Mark 11:24 meant. Until then I was going to wait till I was actually healed. I was looking at my body and testing my heartbeat to see if I had been healed. But I saw that the verse says that you have to believe when you pray. The having comes after the believing. I had been reversing it. I was trying to have first and then believe second. That is what most people do.

“I see it. I see it!” I said with joy. “I see what I’ve got to do, Lord. I’ve got to believe that my heart is well while I’m still lying here on this bed, and while my heart is not beating right. I’ve got to believe that my paralysis is gone while I’m still lying here helpless, flat on my back. “I believe in my heart that You have heard my prayer! I believe that my heart is healed and that my paralysis is gone! I believe in my heart that I have received healing for my body!” [This is going to happen ó This has already happened.]

 

Six more months! God allowed seven more months to pass with Kenneth lying on his bed paralyzed before the next lesson came. Kenneth argued that he had faith, but he had hope, not faith. He had been misreading Mark 11:24: “…whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” He writes: “The having comes after the believing. I had been reversing it. I was trying to have first and then believe second. That is what most people do.” Kenneth kept checking his symptoms and diagnosed himself by what he could see and feel rather than believing the truth of his healing: “I realized that my faith was not yet based on what God’s Word said, but only on what I could see and feel. I could feel that my heart wasn’t beating right yet. I often would look at my legs and arms and start crying because they were unchanged. I was believing only what I could see with my physical eyes.He learned that you have to believe first – you come to a place where you sense that you have it (what you pray for) – before you receive it.

This insight also sheds new light on a testimony which I have shared previously but never really understood its meaning:

 

A young Southern-Baptist missionary (David Hogan who later would be known for healings, even raising the dead, and fruitful evangelism) – not yet out of language school – attended a worship service in the jungle of Mexico. There were about 400 Indians standing around and – in his own words – the Holy Ghost was everywhere in the meeting. They brought a little girl to him who was four years old. They set her down. He didn’t know what was wrong with her. She couldn’t hear. The problem was that she was born deaf. So, he knelt down there. He had watched the power of God fall in the place and knock everyone down. He had watched people wailing and moaning. Jesus came and he was amazed at what was going on. Benches and benches full of people were falling and wailing and moaning. He had never seen it before. He – in his own words again – he was just a little Baptist guy. But it didn’t matter to him. He didn’t value manifestations. He valued Jesus. He wanted Jesus.

So, he was holding onto this little girl. He was down on the floor. He had seen other things already get healed in the meeting and he was impressed with Jesus and his heart was almost ready to burst with joy and faith. He just knew it was going to happen. And he knew that he was going to run off that mountain like a madman, screaming and yelling and glorifying the King. And he prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and the healing did not happen. That impressed him. There was that much of Jesus, and what he could see and what he could feel, and the little bits of knowledge that he did have in him, and it bothered him and irritated him that she was not healed.

He was weeping. He was complaining. He was screaming. He was commanding. He was jumping. He was very frustrated and she stayed deaf. All right. He was humiliated now. All of the great wonders of God were going on all around him and this baby that he wanted to be healed so much, she was still deaf. He didn’t like that. Something had to change.

And now I quote from his account. He said: “… So as I was on my knees weeping and holding this child, I called out to Heaven, ‘Please, would you help me? Just a little bit?’ And He did, there was a vision. I haven’t had a lot of them, just a few, probably four, maybe five open visions where it is like a movie and I was there. What happened was, there was this awesome pasture, and it was beautiful, lush, and green and full of nutrients. The right things were there. And there was a huge beast, a big bull that was very strong, that represented me. He was snorting, and ripping the ground, and eating the right nutrients, and the power was definitely there. And the bull was tearing up the field with its horns. And then, suddenly in the middle of this huge beautiful pasture, there was a little present placed there by the Holy Ghost. And this huge, power bull walks up to that present, and with all of his power and might and all of his great ability, he could not open that present. In the next moment, there was a baby, ten or eleven months old, maybe fifteen months old at the most, sitting in front of that present and was very happily and easily opening the present. The big bull was tearing the ground up, was very powerful, was eating the great nutrients, but it was the baby that opened the box, not the big bull.

And I said to Jesus, ‘Either make me that baby or I’m not going to preach.’ And He said, ‘You must become like a little child to enter the Kingdom of God.’ It’s not the manifestations; it’s not the great power you possess; it’s not your great abilities, it’s becoming like a little child and using the gifts of heaven in your life. That’s the answer. That’s it! And so, I’ve been working on that ever since” (David Hogan: Faith to Raise the Dead).

 

What is the difference between the big strong bull and the baby, not even a year old? The big strong bull represented David Hogan. Did he have faith? Yes, he knew that he would be running down the hill celebrating the healing of the four-year-old girl who was deaf. But it did not happen. Why? The bull was tearing up the field with its horns, trying to open the present with all of its power and might, and all of his great ability. Then, the baby simply unwrapped the little present. What went wrong for David Hogan?

I used to say that God does not want us to be striving, and this is true as far as it goes, but I was simply advocating another method: “If you relax and allow the Spirit to flow through you, then the ministry works better.” But now I think that the truth has to do with faith. The baby knew that it had a present and also knew that the wrapping paper is not really a problem for anyone, just makes the present look nice. The bull still thought that he had to work on overcoming the thin sheets of paper. He believed that he could open the present, but did not believe that he already had it. David Hogan needed to have the conviction first – believe first – that the child had already been healed in God before the deaf ears would open in front of him. Believing before receiving. Faith first – not working yourself up like a bull trying to achieve the outcome with your strength – simple faith first (like a child), then the healing.

This is what Kenneth Hagin learned from Mark 11:24: “…whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” But it was still not easy:

 

As I said this, the thought came to me, “You’re a pretty thing. Just look at you, claiming to be a Christian and here you are lying. Don’t you know the Bible says that all liars will have their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone?” “I am not a liar,” I declared. “Certainly, you are, because you said you are healed and you’re not.” “I didn’t say that I am healed because I feel like it,” I stated. “I’m healed because I believe it. And, devil, if you say I am not, then you are a liar. I am acting on the Word of God. If I am not healed, then Jesus is a liar. Go argue with God about it; don’t fuss with me.” With this, the devil left me alone. Then I said, “Thank God, I’m healed.” I lifted my hands and praised God.

Momentarily, I started to feel my heart to see if it was beating normally, but I caught myself and stated that I wasn’t going by feelings but by faith. I kept saying that my heart was well. I praised the Lord in this manner for about 10 minutes.

Then the Holy Spirit spoke as an inner witness on the inside of me and said, “You believe that you are healed. If you are healed, then you should be up and out of that bed.”

I felt this was right, so I pushed myself up to a sitting position with my hands. Then I reached down, got hold of my feet, and swung them around to the side of the bed. I couldn’t feel them, but I could see them. Then I said that I was going to stand and walk.

 

[Bible Faith Study Guide - Kenneth E Hagin: You see, now I was in faith. I was believing and taking God at His Word. Believing faith is having by faith what you asked God for. Believing is taking a step of faith. And to be in faith, you have to take steps of faith because faith requires corresponding action.

In my case, I had been bedfast, and I needed to get up out of bed. That was the corresponding action I needed to take in order to act in faith. I didn’t look better. I didn’t feel better. And I didn’t have any feeling from my waist down. If I had gone by feelings, I’d have to say I wasn’t healed because I was still partially paralyzed. But I knew I’d been healed regardless of how I felt. I pushed myself to a seated position in bed. Then with my hands I pushed my limbs and feet off of the bed, and twisted my body around so that I was sitting on the edge of the bed. My feet fell down on the floor like a couple of chunks of wood.

I knew my feet were down there on the floor. I couldn’t feel them, but I knew they were there because I could see them. The devil was trying to fight me every inch of the way.

Negative thoughts were coming to my mind, just as fast as a machine gun fires bullets.

The devil said, “You can’t walk, and you know you can’t. You’re not healed, and you know you’re not. You’re lying about it, and you’ll fall right here on the floor, and you’ll have to lie there.” Then the devil continued, “Don’t you know, it hasn’t been thirty days since you last fell out of bed, and you had to lie there forty-five minutes until your oldest brother came in, picked you up, and put you back in bed. Your grandmother is old, and your mother is sickly. They can’t lift you.”

I only weighed eighty-nine pounds, but I was just as tall as I am now. Then the devil said, “None of the neighborhood men are home, and your oldest brother has gone back to Oklahoma. You’ll just have to lie there on the floor until 5:00 this afternoon, until your grandpa comes in from work, and then he’ll have to put you back in bed.” But you know the best way in the world to put the devil in his place is to just completely ignore him.

The Bible says, “Neither give place to the devil” (Eph. 4:27). I ignored him, and just simply acted like he hadn’t said anything.

I grabbed ahold of the bedpost, but my knees wouldn’t function. My limbs wouldn’t function, so with my arms around that bedpost, I just hung there, sagging at the knees.

As best I could, I lifted one hand a little bit, and said, “Thank God, I’m healed. I wanted to declare in the Presence of Almighty God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the angels of heaven, and in the presence of the devil and evil spirits, that the Word of God is true. I believe I’m healed. I believe it!” That old room started spinning because, you see, I’d been lying flat on my back for sixteen months.

The floor seemed to be where the ceiling was just minutes before, and I could see the chest of drawers moving as that room seemed to spin around and around. Everything was just spinning. I just shut my eyes and held onto that bedpost. In a few minutes, I could tell everything had quit spinning. I opened my eyes and everything was in place. I said it again, “Thank God, according to the Word I’m healed. I believe that.” Then for the first time in many months I felt something. Feeling actually returned to me. It seemed to start in the top of my head, and went down over me, like you might take oil or something warm and pour it over someone’s head.

For example, if you poured a lot of oil on someone, it would just run down over the whole body. This feeling, like warm oil being poured on me, went down all over my body. And when it got to my waist, feeling came, as that warm oil went down and out the end of my toes. Every nerve in my limbs was reactivated, and I felt like two million pins were sticking me in my limbs.

Then I just simply felt normal. My paralysis was gone. I said, “I’m going to walk now,”
and I did. And I’ve been walking ever since! That is when I first learned what it means to have faith and to act on my faith. Here’s what I’m saying to you. Believing you receive before you have it is not only true for exercising faith for your healing, but faith also comes into operation that way in receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost, too, or any other petition from God.]

 

The devil fought me every inch of the way. He kept telling me that I was a fool. Of course, I couldn’t walk, he would tell me. (As long as the devil can keep us in the sense realm, he will defeat us. But if we will stay in the faith realm, we will defeat him!)

I got hold of the bedpost and pulled myself up. The room started spinning, for I had been in this bed for 16 months. I closed my eyes, wrapped my arms around the bedpost, and stood there for a few minutes. Finally, I opened my eyes and everything had stopped spinning. I declared I was healed and I was going to walk. Feeling began to return to my legs! It seemed as if two million pins were pricking me. The nerves were being reactivated. I rejoiced because it was so wonderful to have feeling back in those lifeless legs, in spite of the painful prickling sensation. After a short time, the pain left and I felt normal.

Determined now more than ever to walk, I held onto the bedpost and cautiously took a step. Then I took another. Holding onto pieces of furniture, I managed to walk around the room one time.

I told no one of this, but the next morning I got up and did the same thing. That night I asked my mother to bring me some clothes because I was going to get up and go to the breakfast table the next morning. She was shocked, but she did as I asked. On the third morning, I got out of bed, dressed myself, walked into the kitchen, and joined my family at the breakfast table. And I‘ve been doing it ever since.

On the second Saturday of August 1934, I walked to the courthouse square. It was crowded downtown, because people always came to town on Saturday to do their shopping. I had to elbow my way through the crowd to get to the outside curb of the square. As I stood there, tears coursed down my face and I thanked God for His goodness.

I took out my New Testament, which I had brought along with me. I don’t know what people thought as they watched me standing on the corner with tears streaming down my face as I opened the New Testament to read, but I didn’t care. I had read the Scripture which says, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21).

I had proved the verse in Mark 11:24, which I had come to love, and had found it true in my life. I knew that God’s Word was true. It was possible to have “what things soever ye desire” by right believing in God’s Word.

Some time later, a doctor checked my heart and said that I no longer had any kind of heart trouble. He said that people with the type of heart condition I had almost never get well. This had to be a real miracle, because now he could find nothing wrong with me.

I soon began my ministry as a young Baptist preacher, and pastored a community church just eight miles from that courthouse square. The first year I pastored, I wore out four pairs of shoes walking to preach. I walked down dusty old roads to preach the Gospel, to tell how Jesus had saved and healed me.

I used to say, “I’ll preach from the Red River to the Gulf of Mexico, telling everywhere I go that Jesus saves, heals, and is coming again. And I’ll preach it from the Louisiana border to the New Mexico state line.” I thought at the time that covering Texas would be covering quite a bit of territory!

 

This was not easy – a lot of trial and error, and being prompted by God – but Kenneth acted on his faith and learned this definition of faith:

 

Kenneth E. Hagin: Bible Faith Study Guide: Faith is an action; it is acting like God’s Word is true.” There is always some way you can act on God’s Word even if it is only thanking and praising Him that He has heard you. And if you believe God’s Word is true, you should act like it is true…

Years ago, in a vision concerning my ministry, Jesus gave me the best definition of faith. He told me about a particular situation that if I had believed His Word, I would have acted on what He had told me to do. Immediately I realized I had doubted what He had told me by not acting on it. So, the best definition of faith is this: IF YOU BELIEVE, YOU WILL ACT.
  That also relates to God’s Word. If we believe God’s Word, we will act as though it’s true. Faith is giving substance to the things hoped for. Because I did not act on what Jesus had said to me by the Holy Spirit in that first phase of my ministry, I did not have any substance in my ministry. But in the second phase of my ministry, I acted on what Jesus said, and my faith gave it substance…

Someone said, “If sick folks have faith, they’re going to be healed.”
  Oh, no, that’s wrong, because you can’t find any-where in the Bible where it says, “If you just have faith, you’ll be healed.” But the moment you begin to act on the faith that you do have, your faith will work and you will be healed. Yes, the devil will contest you every inch of the way. But if you keep on acting in faith, you will be healed…

 

[You may compare this with Oral Robert’s definition of faith – Oral Roberts: When You See the Invisible, You Can Do the Impossible: I once asked God to define faith to me. His answer changed my life. He said, “Faith is when the Holy Spirit supernaturally empties you of doubt, and fills you with a knowing, so in that moment you cannot doubt!” You can step out in faith and reach your potential as God has called you. You can become so faith-conscious that a knowing will enter your spirit. In my experience, when the knowing is there, I cannot doubt. Miracles happen.

 

David Hogan, in the testimony from before, he did act on his faith and prayed for the healing of the girl, but nothing happened for him, because his faith was not right. (He was still hoping to break through instead of resting in the assurance that he had attained his request before God.) However, when faith grows and we begin to believe that we have the answer to our request, then we act on our faith which is possible to do even when we are still hesitant in believing God, and don’t feel our faith or see any evidence of anything happening yet.

When Jesus commended people in the Bible for their great faith, he did not necessarily commend them for their unwavering conviction but their bold and radical actions:

 

One time, a Canaanite woman was crying after Jesus, causing such a scene that she was unnerving the disciples, but Jesus was not getting involved. He would not help her, explaining that he was only sent to the “lost sheep of Israel,” and then even called her a dog (by implication). Yet, she fell to her knees before him, and pleaded for the crumbs that even dogs receive. And, finally, Jesus was touched by her great faith – her great hunger and commitment to keep seeking him out – and granted her request. He healed her daughter.

 

Matthew 15:23-28: “Jesus did not answer a word. So, his disciples came to him and urged him, ‘Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.’ He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.’

The woman came and knelt before him. ‘Lord, help me!’ she said. He replied, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.’

‘Yes, it is, Lord,’ she said. ‘Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.’

Then Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.’ And her daughter was healed at that moment.”

 

Jesus had said “no” to the woman. But radical desire – desperation – and even if it is only hanging on to a glimmer of hope – will not take rejection. The woman kept yelling and begging, and her attitude moved Jesus and she went home satisfied. Over and over again, we can observe the same principle in the stories around Jesus. Faith that made people do crazy things in order to get close to Jesus touched him.

For instance, one time, a blind man was shouting after him for mercy. The bystanders rebuked the blind man. They told him to be quiet, but “he shouted all the more” (Luke 18:39; see also Luke 17:11-14). And Jesus stopped and healed him, commending him for his faith and behaviour.

When a group of men could not carry their paralyzed friend to Jesus, “they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus” (Luke 5:19). When Jesus “saw their faith” (Luke 5:20) and radical expectation, he forgave the man his sins and healed him. A woman could also not get to Jesus because “the crowds almost crushed him” (Luke 8:42). Yet, she had been “subject to bleeding for twelve years” (Luke 8:43) and was desperate simply to touch him for her bleeding to stop. She pressed her way through the crowd, and her faith – her hungry resolve – made such a demand on Jesus that she drew healing power from him even before he knew of her. Jesus told her: “Daughter, your faith has healed you” (Luke 8:48).

 

It is hard to argue with Kenneth Hagin’s experience. He was healed and it was a miracle. And the whole experience was grounded on the Bible, and the truth of a key Bible passageMark 11:23-24 [NKJV]: “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”

I find it encouraging that the process of getting faith was not easy for him. There were months of growing in the desire to walk again, months of learning to commit himself (“I will see the courthouse again”), months of immersing himself in Mark 11:23-24, months of fighting the devil’s thoughts of discouragement, months of conversing with God and being prompted by him, and then a process of trying it out – acting on his faith. But Kenneth Hagin learned a lesson for life, and so can we. (You will not forget sixteen months of intense wrestling with a Bible verse and God, and you will not forget the victory that has come out of this time.) When God speaks to you, dare to believe him. Believe and you will receive.

God was tough on Kenneth Hagin – kept him paralyzed on his bed for over a year to teach him a most valuable life lesson about faith which would inform all of his ministry for decades to come – but God is not equally tough on everyone. Mark 11:23-24 admonishes us to be a man or woman of faith thatdoes not doubt in his heart”. But there is also Matthew 17:19-20:

 

Matthew 17:19-20: Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” 

 

The disciples had faith enough to attempt a healing and drive out an unclean spirit, yet their faith needed to grow but not that much. According to Jesus’ promise, faithas a small mustard seedcan move mountains and nothing will be impossible for you”. It is not really about our faith but whom our faith trusts. Have a go. Have faith – most of all for your own personal salvation and for what you need from God. Read the Bible and discover his promises for you.

 

Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Ephesians 3:16-19: I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

 

I may add one more point. Kenneth Hagin learned to operate by faith and attain prayer outcomes by faith, and this is different from operating in an atmosphere of the intense presence of the Holy Spirit which can happen in worship (e.g.: Benny Hinn ministry) or when you arein the zoneof operating in a spiritual gift. When you operate in faith, you often do not feel a thing, but when you are in the intense presence of the Holy Spirit – “in the anointing” – you usually experience this presence. (There is a greater sense of ease, peace, holiness, adoration, maybe bodily manifestations such as shaking, you clearly sense that the Holy Spirit is operating through you.)

Kenneth Hagin writes:

 

Kenneth Hagin: Understanding the Anointing, Faith Library Productions 1994, p31: After coming into Pentecostal circles, I found from talking to the pastors that while I was a Baptist boy preacher, without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I was getting a higher percentage of my people healed than any five Pentecostal pastors were their people. Some said they seldom got anybody healed. It was a common occurrence with me. The difference was that I was teaching faith and prayer. I didn’t have any anointing; I didn’t feel anything; and nothing went out of me into them.

 

Kenneth Hagin: Understanding the Anointing, Faith Library Productions 1994, p119-124: I got people healed after I was saved and had the Holy Spirit dwelling in me. I didn’t have the baptism of the Holy Spirit yet—I didn’t know about it.

I myself had been healed by acting upon the promises of God, not by being ministered to by somebody who was anointed. I had been healed reading Mark 11:23,24: “When ye pray, believe that ye receive... and ye shall have....” (v. 24).

I taught people what I had learned: that you can be healed through faith and prayer. I knew nothing about ministering with an anointing to heal, although I knew something about preaching with an anointing. When I prayed for people’s healing, I never felt anything. Nothing went out of me into them.

The Pentecostals I began associating with knew a depth in the Holy Spirit that I didn’t know, and they waited for something supernatural to happen. When it happened, someone got healed, but if it didn’t, they didn’t know how to teach people to believe God and receive by faith alone.

I just went along ministering by faith, basing healing on the promises of the Word of God, and getting people healed on a regular basis. (Smith Wigglesworth said, “There’s something about believing God that will cause God to pass over a million people just to get to you.”)

Even after I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, I still wasn’t conscious of any anointing to minister healing. I still ministered to people through faith and prayer, laying hands on them in faith.

I’d been baptized with the Holy Spirit for about two years before I was conscious of an anointing or transfer of power that sometimes would go out of me into other people. We can be conscious of a flow of anointing because the Holy Spirit—the life of God—is in us, and can be ministered to others.

It’s a matter of how much faith you have: little faith, little results; more faith, more results. I think that’s the reason I had more results than many Pentecostal ministers even before I was baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Any believer—layman or preacher—can lay hands on the sick, because healing belongs to them; it was purchased for them at Calvary. We are authorized to pray—we don’t need any special leading—we’re already instructed to do so. The Bible says, “These signs shall follow them that believe... they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:17,18).

Thus, people today can believe the Word and be healed of anything without any special manifestation of God’s miraculous ministry gifts or spiritual gifts. On the other hand, some are anointed with the healing anointing.

Notice that Jesus ministered healing with an anointing of healing power. We can learn something about that healing anointing in Mark 5, the story of the woman with the issue of blood.

 

MARK 5:25-34: 25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, 26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. 28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. 29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that VIRTUE [the Greek says “power”] had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? 31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. 33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. 34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

 

When the woman touched Jesus, it says that “virtue” went out of Him. Actually, the Greek word is always translated “power” elsewhere. Power went out of Jesus into her—there was a transfer of power.

What caused that power to go out of Him into her? Her faith. He said, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole....” (v. 34).

We see a similar passage in the 14th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel:

 

MATTHEW 14:34-36: 34 And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased; 36 And besought him THAT THEY MIGHT ONLY TOUCH THE HEM OF HIS GARMENT: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.

 

Although this does not say that power went out of Jesus, it strongly infers it, because we know what happened in Mark 5.

Now let’s look at Luke 6:

 

LUKE 6:17-19: 17 And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; 18 And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. 19 And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went VIRTUE [or power] out of him, and healed them all.

 

This power that went out of Jesus not only healed the people of diseases, but the Bible says it healed people with unclean spirits. It was healing power. This sounds familiar to language used in the Acts of the Apostles:

 

ACTS 19:11,12: 11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

 

Here again we see people being healed of diseases and being delivered from evil spirits. The Bible says in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. We can learn something about this healing power from these Scriptures.

First, we can be anointed with healing power as God wills, but we can’t anoint ourselves. (If we could, we’d all be anointed.) God anoints some people to heal just like He anoints others to preach, teach, and stand in various offices.

Notice that we can’t anoint one another. The Bible says, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth” and “God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul.”

The healing anointing is the power of God. It’s the same Spirit; it’s just a different anointing. It feels different. The best way to describe it is to liken it to a coat. If size 32 long fits you, you would be able to get into a size 40, but it wouldn’t fit you exactly. You might even put on a size 48, but it would look like an overcoat on you.

Sometimes when the anointing comes on me it feels as if I’m wearing a coat—it’s as if somebody threw an overcoat on me. Then, after I have ministered for a time, I’ve felt it lift like a burden. It has seemed to fly away.

You can’t continue to minister healing to the people the same way after the anointing has lifted, so what do you do? I tell the people, “Well, praise God, the Bible’s still so. I won’t lie to you—I can’t minister with the anointing anymore tonight, because the anointing has lifted. But I’ll tell you what: Faith in God’s Word always works. I was healed that way. I’ll minister to you like that in faith if you want hands laid on you.”

You can minister to people in faith without any anointing. I’ve seen people healed of incurable cancer and other conditions just sitting back there in the crowd. They believed the Word that was preached and believed God. They didn’t particularly feel anything; they just released their faith. And, of course, God answered their faith.

Doctors predicted one such fellow would be dead in a month. It’s been four years, and he’s still alive. His doctors can’t find a trace of cancer; he was healed by faith alone.

On the other hand, in the same services the Spirit of God has suddenly moved on me and I’ve done things I didn’t even know I was doing. In ministering under that anointing you can get so far under you don’t know what’s happening around you, because you’re moving over in the realm of the Spirit. I minister both ways, but right now we’re studying about ministering with and under the anointing.

Second, this power is not only a heavenly materiality; it’s a tangible substance. “Tangible” means perceptible to the touch, capable of being touched.

It has to be tangible, because Jesus knew the moment it flowed out of Him. He was aware of an outflow.

It has to be tangible, because the woman with the issue of blood was aware of receiving the power. There was a transmission of power from one to the other.

 

Kenneth Hagin: Understanding the Anointing, Faith Library Productions 1994, p132-134: You can produce the same results by faith that you can with the anointing. There’s no use being divided on the subject.

Some people who minister under the anointing know nothing about faith. That was one of the major problems we had in the days of the great Healing Revival here in the United States in 1947-58. Almost all of the healing evangelists were ministering under the anointing—the power of God—but some of them knew very little about the Bible. (They made some of the most stupid statements concerning the Bible you ever heard in your life.)

Most of the ministers involved in this movement belonged to the Voice of Healing organization. We always had a convention at Thanksgiving. At our 1954 convention in Philadelphia, I said to some of the brethren, “When all the rest of these fellows are gone, I’ll still be out there ministering.” They’re all gone except one or two of us, and I’m still ministering.

Why? Because I saw the difference between ministering under an anointing and ministering by faith, and I minister both ways.

What happened to the others? Preacher after preacher got sick themselves. These were men who had been mightily used of God to do marvelous things, but they ministered only under the anointing. Some of them came to talk to me after they got sick.

One man said, “This anointing—this gift or whatever ministry I’ve got—will work for other people, but it won’t work for me.” (The anointing is always there to minister to somebody else.) “Why won’t it work for me?” he asked.

I said, “God didn’t give the ministry of the apostle to minister to the apostle. He gave it to minister to the Body of Christ. You’re going to have to get healed like the rest of us—by faith—or else do without it.” He looked at me like he’d seen a ghost.

“Well,” he said, “I guess I’ll do without it, because I don’t know anything about faith.”

I said, “You ought to have been listening when some of us who do know something about it were preaching and teaching.

Just because you’re anointed to do something doesn’t mean you know everything.”

I’m thinking of another fellow. One night they brought five adults from a school for the deaf and dumb to his service. All five were instantly healed. He laid his hands on a blind woman. Instantly her eyes were opened. Another person came in on a stretcher. Her doctor had given her up to die. She was instantly healed.

Yet the preacher didn’t know a thing in the world about the Bible when it came to faith and very little when it came to healing. I nearly fell off my seat one night at one statement the poor fellow made. And then he got sick.

The anointing would come on him, he’d minister under it, some of the greatest things you’ve ever seen would happen, and then the anointing would lift.

The anointing doesn’t remain on you in manifestation, because you’d wear out physically. You couldn’t stand it. It’s like getting hold of a live electric wire—you couldn’t hold on to it forever.

I’ve had such a strong anointing on me that I’ve vibrated—I’ve shaken physically under it. Even my eyeballs jumped! I’ve had such a strong anointing on me that I couldn’t even see the crowd. They thought I was looking right at them, but I didn’t even know they were there, for I was over in this other realm.

I get more results when I get over there, but I don’t stay over there, because I can’t stand it. My body’s still mortal, and I can’t stand it.

I’ve had to say to the Lord, “Lord, turn it off! Just turn it off! I can’t stand it. I can’t take any more!”

Some time ago we were having dinner with friends in the ministry, and we were talking about the healing anointing.

This evangelist said, “Through the years, I’ve always woven in and out of the healing anointing—I haven’t always had that anointing on me—but in recent times it has come back on me.

Sometimes I’m sitting here in the living room at night, talking to my wife, and when I get up to go to bed and step into the bedroom, it’s as if I’ve stepped into a room full of glory. It’s just all over me. I can hardly stand it. It’s the anointing—the healing anointing. I have to say, ‘Lord, turn it off. I can’t take any more.’”

I know exactly what he’s talking about. Physically, you just can’t take it. Jesus had the Holy Spirit without measure. If I get a little too much measure of it, I can’t stand it.

 

Kenneth Hagin: Understanding the Anointing, Faith Library Productions 1994, p93: If you’ll study and pray, when you get up and start out in faith, the anointing will come. When I used to preach under that preaching anointing, most of the time I’d have to start out in faith—I didn’t particularly feel anything—but that anointing never failed to come on me to preach. (And sometimes it will linger on and you will enjoy it, praise God.)

 

Kenneth Hagin: Understanding the Anointing, Faith Library Productions 1994, p38-39: I remember something that Brother Howard Carter said. He was a great teacher and a great man of God. I never knew him personally, but I had an opportunity to hear him preach once in Texas. After the service, I met him. He was about 70 at the time, and he lived to be over 80.

While we were talking, a woman came up to him, asking, “Brother Carter, would you pray for the healing of my child?”

He answered, “Go get my wife to lay hands on her. God doesn’t use me much along that line, but nearly everybody she lays hands on gets healed, and nearly everybody I lay hands on gets baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (That’s a good combination, isn’t it?)

I’d seen him take 19 people into a side room that night, speak a few words to them, lay hands on them, and all 19 of them began to speak in tongues the minute he touched them.

He said, “That’s my ministry. That’s where my anointing is. My wife’s anointing is to lay hands on the sick.”

When the woman left to look for Sister Carter, Brother Carter turned to us preachers and said, “Of course, I could have prayed in faith for her child, but if somebody’s anointed to minister that way, it’s a whole lot better.”

Yes, he could have prayed the prayer of faith—any one of us ministers standing there that night could have prayed the prayer of faith and laid hands on the child. The laying on of hands belongs to all believers according to Mark 16:17,18.

But what was Brother Carter recognizing? He was recognizing that in the ministry some of us are anointed to do one thing and some are anointed to do another, and if we’ll excel where our anointing is, we’ll be a greater blessing to the Body of Christ.

No one is going to do it all. We need each other. I praise God for every ministry called of God and anointed with the Holy Spirit.

 

There is great value in operating under the anointing – when the Holy Spirit is on us with intensity for a particular purpose (preaching, healing, administration, child rearing, business) – and it usually feels great, but the anointing comes and goes, yet we can always operate by faith. You can be out on the streets without a worship band and a community in worship – you may feel nothing – but it does not matter. Believe Jesus, step out in faith and receive what you have asked for.

I close by coming back to Mark 11:23-24. God spoke these two Bible verses into the heart of Kenneth Hagin when he was fifteen years old. God took him on a journey where he learnt over sixteen painful months – lying flat on his bed with a bad heart and a paralyzed body – the meaning of the verses. Finally, he believed God and the miracle came: “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”

Maybe – like it happened for Kenneth Hagin – it will involve a journey for you, but – this morning – have another go. Believe that you receive what you are asking of God, and you will have them. Amen.

 

More from Kenneth Hagin:

 

Kenneth Hagin: I Believe in Visions: I gave my heart to the Lord and was born again the very first night I became bedfast. That was Saturday, April 22, 1933 at 7:40 p.m. in the south bedroom of 405 North College Street in McKinney, Texas. [He was 15 years old at the time.]

Earlier that evening, my heart had stopped beating and the spiritual man who lives in my body had departed. When death seized my body, my grandmother, my younger brother, and my mother were sitting in the room. I had time only to tell them “goodbye.” Then the inner man rushed out of my body and left my body lying dead, with eyes set and flesh cold.

I went down, down, down until the lights of the earth faded away. I don’t mean I fainted — I don’t mean I was unconscious — I have proof that I was actually dead. My eyes were set, my heart had stopped beating, and my pulse had ceased.

The Scriptures tell us about the lost being cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 25:30). The farther down I went, the blacker it became, until it was all blackness — I could not have seen my hand if it had been one inch in front of my eyes. And the farther down I went, the hotter and more stifling it became.

Finally, far below me, I could see lights flickering on the walls of the caverns of the damned. The lights were caused by the fires of hell. The giant, white-crested orb of flame pulled me, drawing me as a magnet draws metal to itself. I did not want to go, but just as metal jumps to the magnet, my spirit was drawn to that place. I could not take my eyes off of it. The heat beat me in the face.

Many years have gone by, yet I can see it just as clearly today as I saw it then. It is as fresh in my memory as if it just happened. I came to the entrance of hell. People ask, “What does the entrance of hell look like?” I cannot describe it, because if I tried, I would have to have something with which to compare it. (Similarly, if a person had never seen a tree in his life, it would be impossible to tell him what a tree looks like.)

Coming to the entrance, I paused momentarily, because I did not want to go in. I sensed that one more foot, one more step, one more yard, and I would be gone forever and could not come out of that horrible place! Upon reaching the bottom of the pit, I became conscious of some kind of spirit being by my side. I had not looked at him, because I could not take my gaze off of the fires of hell. But when I paused, the creature laid his hand on my arm to escort me in.

At that same moment, a voice spoke from far above the blackness, above the earth, and above the heavens. I don’t know if it was the voice of God, Jesus, an angel, or who. I did not see him, and I do not know what he said, because he did not speak in English; he spoke in some other tongue.

When he spoke, his words reverberated throughout the region of the damned, shaking it like a leaf in the wind, and causing the creature to take his hand off my arm. I did not turn around, but an unseen power, like a suction, pulled me up, away from the fire, away from the heat, and back into the shadows of the absorbing darkness.

I began to ascend until I came to the top of the pit and saw the lights of the earth. I saw my grandparents’ home, went through the wall back into my bedroom, and it was just as real to me as it was any time I had entered through the door (my spirit needed no door).

I slipped back into my body as easily as a man slips into his trousers in the morning. It was the same way in which I had gone out — through my mouth. I began to talk to my grandmother. She said, “Son, I thought you were dead.”

My great-grandfather had been a medical doctor, and Granny had worked with him. She later told me, “I dressed many people for burial and laid them out in days gone by. I have had much experience with death, but I learned more about death in dealing with you and your experiences than I ever knew before. You were dead. You had no pulse or heartbeat, and your eyes were set.”

 “Granny,” I said, “I am going again. I am dying. Where is Momma?” “Your mother is out on the porch,” she replied. And about that time, I heard my mother praying at the top of her voice as she walked up and down the porch.

“Where is my brother?” I asked. “He ran next door to call the doctor,” Granny answered. If you’re not ready to go, you want somebody with you. You’re afraid! I said, “Granny, don’t leave me! Don’t leave me! I’m afraid I’ll go while you’re gone! I want somebody with me! Don’t leave me!” So, she gathered me into her arms again.

I said, “Tell Momma I said goodbye. Tell Momma I love her. Tell Momma I appreciate everything she has ever done for me and for all of us. And you tell Momma that I said if I’ve ever put a wrinkle in her face, or a gray hair in her head, I’m sorry, and I ask her to forgive me.”

I felt myself slipping. I said, “Granny, I’m going again. You were a second mother to me when Momma’s health failed. I appreciate you. Now I’m going, and I won’t be back this time.” I knew I was dying, unprepared to meet God. I kissed her on the cheek and said goodbye.

My heart stopped beating for the second time. It’s almost as real to me today, nearly half a century later, as it was that day. I felt the blood cease to circulate. The tips of my toes went numb — then my feet, ankles, knees, hips, stomach, and heart. I leaped out of my body and began to descend: down, down, down. Oh, I know it was just a few seconds, but it seemed like an eternity.

I began to descend again into the darkness until the lights of earth had faded. Down below, the same experience occurred. The voice spoke from heaven and again my spirit came up out of that place — back into my room and back into my body. The only difference this time was that I came up at the foot of the bed.

I began to talk to Granny again. I said, “I will not be back this time, Granny.” I asked, “Where is Grandpa? I want to tell Grandpa goodbye.” She said, “Son, you know your Granddad went down to the east part of town to collect rent off of some of his rent houses.”

 “Oh,” I said, “I remember that now. I just forgot momentarily.” I said, “Granny, tell Grandpa goodbye. I’ve never known what it means to have a daddy. He’s been the nearest to a daddy I’ve known. He gave me a home when I had none. Tell him I appreciate him. Tell him I love him. Tell Grandpa that I said goodbye.”

Then I left a word for my sister and two brothers, and my heart stopped for the third time. I could feel the circulation as it cut off again — and I leaped out of my body and began to descend.

Until this time, I had thought, This is not happening to me. This is just a hallucination. It can ‘t be real! But now I thought, This is the third time. I won ‘t come back this time!

Darkness encompassed me ‘round about, darker than any night man has ever seen. I wish I had adequate words to describe the horrors of hell. People go through this life so complacently, so unconcerned, as if they will not have to face hell. But God’s Word and my own personal experience tell me differently. I know what it is to be unconscious — it is black when you are unconscious — but there is no blackness to compare with outer darkness.

As I began to descend in the darkness this third time, my spirit cried out, “God, I belong to the church! I’ve been baptized in water!” I waited for Him to answer, but no answer came — only the echo of my own voice as it came back to mock me. It will take more than church membership — it will take more than being baptized in water — to miss hell and make heaven. Jesus said, “.. .Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).

Certainly I believe in being baptized in water — but only after a person is born again. Certainly I believe in joining the church — but only after a person is born again. If you merely join the church and are baptized in water without being born again, you will go to hell!

The second time I cried a little louder, “God! I belong to the church! I’ve been baptized in water!” Again I waited for an answer, but there was no answer, only the echo of my own voice through the darkness.

It would frighten a congregation out of their wits if I ever imitated the way I screamed the third time, although, if I could scare them out of hell and into heaven, I’d do it! I literally screamed, “GOD! GOD! I BELONG TO THE CHURCH! I’VE BEEN BAPTIZED IN WATER!” And all I heard was the echo of my own voice.

I came again to the bottom of that pit. Again I could feel the heat as it beat me in the face. Again I approached the entrance, the gates into hell itself. That creature took me by the arm. I intended to put up a fight if I could to keep from going in. I only managed to slow down my descent just a little, and he took me by the arm.

Thank God that voice spoke. I don’t know who it was — I didn’t see anybody — I just heard the voice. I don’t know what he said, but whatever he said, that place shook; it just trembled. And that creature took his hand off my arm.

It was just as if there was a suction to my back parts. It pulled me back, away from the entrance to hell, until I stood in the shadows. Then it pulled me up headfirst. As I was going up through the darkness, I began to pray. My spirit, the man who lives inside this physical body, is an eternal being, a spirit man. I began to pray,

“O God! I come to You in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I ask You to forgive me of my sins and to cleanse me from all sin.”

I came up beside the bed. The difference between the three experiences was that I came up on the porch the first time; I came up at the foot of the bed the second time; and I came up right beside the bed the third time. When I got inside my body, my physical voice picked up and continued my prayer right in the middle of the sentence. I was already praying out of my spirit.

Now, we didn’t have all the automobiles in 1933 that we have today — that was in the Depression. But they tell me that between me and Momma praying so loud, traffic was lined up for two blocks on either side of our house! They heard me praying from inside the house, and they heard my mother as she walked the porch praying at the top of her voice.

I looked at the clock and saw it was 20 minutes before 8 o’clock. That was the very hour I was born again due to the mercy of God through the prayers of my mother.

I felt wonderful — it was just like a two-ton weight had rolled off of my chest. Although I was rejoicing and was happy in my spirit — although I felt wonderful spiritually — I felt no better physically. The doctors had been called, and they told my family that I was going to die. I thought I would die that night, but it no longer bothered me. I knew I was ready to go.

My experience of being brought back from the dead is not new. Jesus raised three people from the dead: Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter, and the widow’s son. The Apostle Peter raised Dorcas from the dead; the Apostle Paul raised a young man from the dead; and others throughout Church history have had similar experiences.

Through my experience, God brought me to a knowledge of salvation, which is the best thing in the world to know. I was so thankful to know that my heart was right with God, and to know that if I should die before morning I would go to be with Him. Every night when the lights were out and my family was in bed, I was left alone with my thoughts. I did a lot of thinking and praying. I remember thanking God that I was saved and was His child ...

 

Kenneth Hagin: I Believe in Visions, p32-39: I walked over to the parsonage and knocked on the door. I said, “I’ve come to get the Holy Spirit.” The preacher said, “Wait.” From that day until this I have never been able to figure out why anyone would ever tell someone to wait to get the Holy Spirit.

Some will say, “Didn’t you read where Jesus told His disciples to tarry, and ‘to tarry’ means ‘to wait’?” Yes, but that is not a formula for receiving the Holy Spirit. If that were the formula for receiving the Holy Spirit, then why take out the word “Jerusalem”? Jesus said, “… tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). It was just as necessary for that group — the 120 — to be in Jerusalem as it was that they wait.

Also, they weren’t waiting — getting ready and preparing themselves — to be filled with the Holy Spirit. They were waiting for the Day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit could not be given until then. If they had been waiting and preparing themselves, the Bible would have read, “When they were ready…” But it reads, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come. . .” (A c t s 2:1).

Someone said, “Well, waiting gets you ready.” No, it doesn’t. Getting saved gets you ready. A fellow down in East Texas said, “I had to take back a pig I had stolen before I could get the Holy Spirit.” That is trying to clean yourself up, but you can’t clean yourself up: “...the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). If you are bloodwashed, you are ready right now!

Cornelius and his household were not only saved but also were filled with the Holy Spirit — in almost the same instant (Acts 11:14,15). They didn’t have time to get ready. The Holy Spirit fell upon them, and they began to speak with tongues.

If it hadn’t been for speaking in tongues, we Gentiles never would have gotten in the Church. It was strictly Jewish until then. Even Peter himself didn’t know that the Gentiles could be saved until he had the vision which is recorded in the tenth chapter of Acts. It astonished the Jews who came with Peter when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Gentiles. “For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God…” (Acts 10:46).

When I told the Full Gospel pastor, “I have come here to get the Holy Spirit,” and he told me to wait, I blurted out, “But it won’t take me long to receive.”

Because the church was having a revival service that night and it was already 6 o’clock, he wanted me to wait and seek for the baptism in the service. But I knew I would have to wait until the preliminaries and the preaching were over. It would have been 9 o’clock before I could have gotten to the altar, and who wants to wait for a gift?

I have been associated with Full Gospel people for many years now, and in all that time I have never told anyone to wait for the baptism in the Holy Spirit. If people say they want to get saved tonight, you don’t say, “Wait and come to church on Sunday and seek for it.” If someone wants you to pray for their healing, you don’t say, “Wait.” They want to get healed immediately, especially if they are in pain. Salvation is a gift, healing is a gift, and so is the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

A pastor once said, “I know you can receive the Holy Spirit right away, because we read about it in the Acts of the Apostles. But when you have to wait a long time, the experience means so much more to you. Take me, for instance. It took me three years and six months to get the Holy Spirit. I waited and waited. Now the Holy Spirit really means something to me.”

I said, “Well, poor old Paul didn’t know that. I wish you could have gotten to him and told him about it. He got the Holy Spirit immediately when Ananias laid hands on him. He didn’t wait, tarry, or seek. But then, all he ever did was write half of the New Testament. Of course, he did more singlehandedly in his 38 years of ministry than any denomination has done in 500 years. But if you could have gotten to him and told him to wait for three years and six months, maybe the Holy Spirit would have meant something to him.”

Seeing my eagerness to receive, the Full Gospel pastor reluctantly said, “Well, come on in, then.” I went into the living room and knelt down in front of a large chair. I closed out everything around me, shut my eyes, and lifted my hands. No one told me to do it; I just lifted my hands.

I said, “Dear Lord, I have come here to receive the Holy Spirit.” I repeated in my prayer what I had just learned from Acts 2:39 and Acts 2:4. Then I said, “Your Word says that the Holy Spirit is a gift. Therefore, I realize that the Holy Spirit is received by faith. I received the gift of salvation by faith. I received healing for my body by faith. Now I receive the gift You offer.”

Let me point out here that the Holy Spirit was given on the Day of Pentecost, and He has been here ever since. God hasn’t “given” Him to anyone since the Day of Pentecost. It is a matter now of our receiving Him. I can’t find in the Acts of the Apostles where the disciples ever asked anyone, “Has God given you the Holy Spirit?” I do read where they asked, “Have you received?”

Paul didn’t ask the Ephesians, “Has God given you the Holy Spirit?” He said, “Have ye RECEIVED the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” (Acts 19:2). The emphasis is not on God’s giving, because He has already done that. The emphasis is on man’s receiving.

In the Scripture, the Word says, “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear” (Acts 2:33).

 

ACTS 8:14,15: 14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might RECEIVE the Holy Ghost.

 

Notice that it says “that they might receive.” Peter and John didn’t pray that God would give the people in Samaria the Holy Spirit. They didn’t even pray that God would pour the Holy Spirit out on them; they prayed that they might receive the Holy Spirit: “Then laid they their hands on them, and they RECEIVED the Holy Ghost” (Acts 8:17).

 

ACTS 9:17: 17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

 

Ananias didn’t say, “God has sent me to pray for you that He would give you the Holy Ghost.” He didn’t say, “God has sent me to pray for you that He would pour His Holy Ghost out upon you.” Ananias said, “He sent me, that thou mightest. . . be filled.” We don’t pray that God would send salvation and save someone; all that person has to do is receive. We don’t pray that God would send healing and heal someone; we pray that the person would receive healing. Neither do we pray that God would send His Spirit to fill a hungry heart; we need only to open our hearts and receive.

There in that parsonage in April 1937, I said to the Lord, “The Holy Spirit is a gift. I received salvation by faith. I received healing in my body three years ago by faith. Now I receive the gift of the Holy Spirit by faith. And I want to thank You now because I have received.”

Notice that we don’t speak in tongues and then know we have the Holy Spirit. We have the Holy Spirit first; then we speak in tongues. “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4).

Speaking with other tongues is a result of having received the Holy Spirit. We receive the Holy Spirit first. I said to the Lord, “I have received the Holy Spirit. He is in me because Jesus promised, ‘He shall be in you.’ I say it with my mouth because I believe in my heart that I have received the Holy Spirit. Now I expect to speak with tongues because they did on the Day of Pentecost. And, thank God, I will. I have received the Holy Spirit. I believe that. And I will speak with tongues now as the Holy Spirit gives me utterance.”

I was grateful for the Holy Spirit whom I had received and for the speaking with tongues that He was going to give me, so I said, “hallelujah, hallelujah.” Feelings and faith are far removed from each other, however, and sometimes when you feel you have the least faith, that is when you have the most! So I said, “hallelujah” seven or eight times, even though it seemed as if that word would choke me.

About the time I had said “hallelujah” for the eighth time, not very fast, but very slowly — way down inside of me – there were these strange words. It seemed as if they were just going around inside me. It seemed that I would know what they would sound like if they were spoken, so I started speaking them out. And eight minutes after I first knocked on that pastor’s door, I was speaking in tongues! He had said, “Wait,” but instead of waiting, I spent that hour and a half speaking in tongues.

I believe in waiting on God, of course. We should have “tarrying meetings” for everyone who is Spirit filled. It is more wonderful to tarry and wait filled with the Holy Spirit than without.

During the hour and a half that I was talking in tongues, I had a glorious time in the Lord. Talking in tongues edifies you. “He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself…” (1 Cor. 14:4). This is a spiritual edification, or building up.

Language students tell us that we have a word in our modern vernacular that is closer to the meaning of the Greek word than “edify,” and that is the word “charge.” We charge a battery — we build it up. Paul said, “He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself.” He charges himself. He builds himself up like a battery.

I continued to preach the same thing I had been preaching; I just added a little bit to it. The Holy Spirit will help a minister enlarge his vision.

I had said, “I’ll preach that Jesus saves and heals. I’ll preach that He fills with the Holy Spirit and that He is coming again. Now I’ll preach from the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific Coast. (I even got bigger in my thinking than Texas. The Holy Spirit will make you even bigger than Texas!) I’ll preach it from Los Angeles to New York. I’ll preach it from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border.”

And God has blessed my ministry so that I have been able to do it. During the years I was in the field ministry, I traveled more than a million miles throughout the United States and Canada in my automobile. For half a century now I have been proclaiming the glorious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, first as a local pastor, then as an evangelist throughout North America, and now internationally as a prophet and teacher.