Chapter 1 – Disaster in Detroit
I lay on the bed in my Detroit hotel room and relaxed, praying quietly and worshiping the Lord. It was a Saturday night in 1980, the clock showed
midnight, and I was to preach the next morning and evening at a church just outside of town.
After a few moments, the presence of God came into the room so strongly that tears began to roll down my face and I was caught up in His glory. The
presence—that wonderful presence of the Holy Spirit that had so revolutionized my life several years earlier
—was so heavy that I was oblivious to everything. Before I knew it, the time was 2 AM . ., and I was still praying.
The next morning I rose quickly, feeling rested and strong, and prayed again before leaving for the service.
I was aware that my prayer session this time was not extraordinary. It felt nothing like the night before, but
that would have been hard to equal.
I went to the service and, when the time came, began to preach. I opened my mouth to say the first words, and a cloud of glory came into that building. It
was as though the shekinah—the awesome holy presence of God Almighty—glory had arrived. It was heavy—so heavy that you couldn’t move. People began to weep. As I was speaking, some fell from their seats onto the floor. They just crumbled and sobbed. Their response was amazing. What was happening?
Then I closed my eyes and said one word: Jesus. Whoosh! God’s presence and power swept through the auditorium even greater than before, and people
everywhere were moved. I saw no one who wasn’t touched visibly.
A man next to me said, “I’ve never felt God’s presence like I’m feeling it now.” Tears were streaming down his face.
I knew he was right. I had never before felt the presence and the anointing of the Holy Spirit so powerfully in a service.
A Break for Lunch
Following the service, I was scheduled to have lunch at the home of a cousin who lived in Detroit. I had not seen her in some time and looked forward to
lunch with her.My cousin and her husband welcomed me when I
arrived, and we sat down at the table together as we renewed our acquaintance. We had a delightful lunch,
and our conversation was lively and enjoyable. Suddenly, as we sat enjoying our lunch, I felt theLord tugging at my heart. I knew the feeling well. He
was gently calling me: “Go pray.”
I was startled, and in my heart I responded, Lord, I can’t leave now. I’m having lunch with these people.
And I didn’t even drive here myself. The hotel is forty- five minutes away, and I have no way to get there.
Besides, how can I get up and leave in the middle of lunch!
Our lunch concluded, and the man who had driven me there took me back to the hotel. I was so exhausted when I got to my room that I took a nap.
When I arrived at the service that evening, the crowd was double what it had been in the morning. God’s power had been so awesome that the people
were still excited, filled with anticipation about the evening service. What would tonight be like if the morning meeting had been so powerful?
It Was Different
I got up to preach, but when I opened my mouth, there was nothing—only words. No presence. No overwhelming anointing of the Spirit. No power.
I struggled. I didn’t know what to do next. I could tell by the expression on their faces that many were
wondering what was going on. The truth was: Nothing was going on. Only hours before, I had simply spoken the word
Jesus, and God’s power had invaded the auditorium. People had felt the touch of God as they wept in His presence. But now … I was saying everything I could
think of, and nothing was happening.
Finally the service ended. It was a disaster! I couldn’t get back to my hotel room fast enough. I rushed into the room, closed the door quickly, and
locked it. What a relief! The service had seemed like an eternity.
I sat on the bed, and my mind raced over the ordeal. I was puzzled and confused. “God, what happened? This morning Your presence was so overwhelming and your power so great that I could barely stand in the midst of Your glory. People were moved to tears.”The words continued to pour out of me. “It was like heaven. But tonight! What was wrong? Why did the service seem so empty? So empty of You?” Finally I stopped. And the soft, gentle voice of the Holy Spirit whispered, “Remember this afternoon when I was tugging at you, saying, ‘Go pray’? You chose to stay with your cousin. You gave your cousin and her husband the place that belongs to Me. You put them before Me.”
Much quieter, but very defensive, I responded, “But, Lord, I couldn’t leave. What would my cousin have thought?”
The voice was still gentle and soft. “That’s part of the price, Benny. Are you willing to pay the price for the anointing?”
I Had Been Told Before Yes, there is power in the presence of the Holy
Spirit that I wrote about in Good Morning, Holy Spirit.
And there is the power of the anointing that I want to teach you about in this book. And there is a price we
each must pay for it. This Detroit episode, once again, drove home all three facts. The presence of the Holy Spirit leads us to live in the power of the anointing if
we are willing to pay the price of obedience. Kathryn Kuhlman, who was so important in my introduction to the Holy Spirit and to the truths of both
the presence and the anointing of the Spirit, had talked about “the price.” She had paid it. I have also never forgotten my encounters with a man in England who had a tremendous anointing of the
Spirit upon His life. Every time I got near him, my legs would shake. Sometimes I would feel weak by just looking at him.
One day I prayed, “Lord, let Your anointing be on me as it is on him.”
The Lord spoke back to me: “Pay the price, and I will give it to you.”
“What is the price?” I asked.
The answer didn’t come immediately. But one day it came suddenly from the Holy Spirit. He showed it to me in Acts 4:13: “Now when they saw the boldness of
Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”
That is the key—to be with Jesus—over and over and over, constantly, not just a few minutes a day, not just occasionally. In Detroit I had been with Jesus on
Saturday night. But I had refused to be alone with Him later when He beckoned.
The presence and the anointing. As you read on, you will learn how the Holy Spirit can lead you to experience the fullness and the power of the Godhead
each and every day. Once you grasp what the anointing holds for you, experiencing the depth and rich reality of that precious touch, you will never be the same.
Stay tuned for chapter 2 tomorrow!!
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