The Baptism in the Holy Spirit - It's for Kids Too!
Editor's note: This article as well as the additional four articles linked to at the bottom of this page are written to children's ministries leaders. However we believe there is no more influential children's leader than the one children see modeled in their home. May God enrich your ministry to your children today!
I've spent the past 40 years teaching and leading children into the baptism in the Holy Spirit. If there is one thing I have learned it is, "Children need God's power more than ever, right now!" So why wait until kids' camp this year before allowing your children to enter into the fullness of God's Spirit? You can lead them into this experience today.
Children and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
In Mark 1:8, John the Baptist states, "I baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." Jesus says in Acts 1:5, "For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." What is the baptism in the Holy Spirit? In order to help children understand and receive, I first talk about what this experience is not. Years ago, one of my college professors spoke on five things the Holy Spirit is not. I've expanded that to the following teaching.
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is:
• Not the same as salvation. This is a separate and unique gift following conversion. (Acts 19:1-6)
• Not for adults only. This empowerment is for every believer. (Acts 2:39)
• Not natural. It is a supernatural experience. A child cannot be taught how to speak in tongues. Jesus is the baptizer. (Luke 3:16; Acts 1:4-8)
• Not just for Bible times. This experience is for today. (Acts 2:39)
• Not an experience where tongues are optional. Those baptized in the Spirit will receive power and a prayer language. Children take their cues from the adults around them and often pray to receive tongues. Encourage them to pray for more of God's Spirit and power. The tongues will follow. (Acts 1:8, Acts 10:44-47)
• Not a sign that you have arrived. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a beginning. The content of Acts occurred following Pentecost. The disciples prayed multiple times for more of God's Spirit. (Acts 2:4; Acts 4:31)
• Not Scary. God will do nothing scary to a child. I've found that once children overcome the fear of the unknown, it is easy for them to be filled to overflowing with the Spirit. (1 John 4:16-18, 2 Timothy 1:7)
When praying with children for the baptism in the Holy Spirit:
• Let them come to Jesus. Praying for this should never be forced, rushed, or confusing. When children express a desire to receive, pray.
• Listen to them. Oftentimes, a child will have pressing prayer requests that are more important to her than being filled with the Spirit. Listen and pray about those felt needs first. Then pray about this gift.
• Let Jesus be the baptizer. You and I cannot baptize people of any age in God's Holy Spirit. You can't yell loud enough, shake hard enough, or hype yourself up enough to make God move any faster in a child's life. So relax. Trust that God knows exactly when the child is ready to receive. Be there to encourage and bless.
• Love them. Spend some time encouraging and showing love to boys and girls who have not yet received the Spirit. It is critical that children leaving the altar after extended prayer with no apparent result, be encouraged to walk away believing they should continue seeking this experience until it happens. (Luke 11:13)
I trust you will set aside times in children's church to teach children about, and pray for, the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Providing children with regular opportunities to enter God's presence and seek more of His Spirit is part of a healthy children's program.
For additional reading on teaching your children about Pentecost, see: