The power of the Holy Spirit comes to us in various ways. First, as Jesus says, no one comes to know him unless they are born again in the Spirit. Therefore, in a sense, God’s Spirit dwells in every Christian.
Second, we are called to abide in the Spirit, to remain intimate with him in prayer. Third, we are to be continually filled with the Spirit, to constantly drink from his well of living water. None of this means the Spirit leaves us, but rather that we have a part in our relationship with him.
Finally, there is an outpouring of the Spirit that fills us with power, something that is beyond our ability to generate. You may wonder, “If I’m born of the Spirit, and the Spirit abides in me, and I continually drink of the Spirit, why would I need the Spirit poured out on me?” We need him because he helps us understand our need for God. We could never do the works of his kingdom in our own passion or zeal. It has to come from him.
We may think God chooses the fiery person, the one who will get everyone zealous for God. But the Lord is looking for a hungry heart — one he can fill with his very own mind, heart and Spirit. That means even the meekest among us qualifies.
Jesus said when describing the outpouring of the Spirit: “Stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). This suggests an external move of the Spirit in our lives, something that comes from outside us. All other moves of the Spirit in us are internal — being born again, abiding, drinking our fill.
There comes a time in every believer’s life when the Spirit has to move in a way that’s external from us. We need him to do the work: to speak, touch, deliver. That’s exactly what happened when the disciples couldn’t cast out a demon. Jesus told them, “This kind comes out only by prayer and fasting” (see Mark 9:29). In other words, it required utter dependence on God. We must say, “I can’t do this in my own power. It requires God’s strength.”
The disciples needed prayer and fasting just to cast out one demon. We are facing an entire culture that can be transformed only by prayer and fasting!