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Holy Spirit Baptism for Kids

Children's specialist Dick Gruber offers helpful insights about introducing, explaining, and leading a child to the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article first appeared in the magazine Pentecostals.

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.

In Mark 1:8, John the Baptist stated, “I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Jesus said 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, know what this experience is not.

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 is 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; 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; 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 (2 Timothy 1:7;
1 John 4:16-18).

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 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 been baptized in 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.