Empowered by the Holy Spirit

Over the summer, I was privileged to attend and be involved in ministry in several state, regional, national, and international conventions and conferences. I have had the opportunity to be a part of these meetings over the years as I have served in some capacity at the International Offices. The experience has consistently blessed my life and spiritual journey as a part of the Church of God of Prophecy family as we are informed of and celebrate in God’s work among us. However, this summer provided an exceptional reconsecration for me in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.  

One of the key elements of every one of these meetings was the witness of those who were reconciled to Christ empowered by the work of the Holy Spirit among us. In each session as ministry went forward and invitations were extended for prayer, those who were in attendance for fellowship and possibly observation were touched in ways that led them into a season of seeking for renewal, refreshing, and spiritually revitalizing experiences. We rejoiced in the works of salvation, sanctification, Holy Spirit fillings, miraculous healings, and the touch of the supernatural in the call to ministry. 

While we prepare for and expect these kinds of conversion experiences in conferences, camps, retreats, revivals, and outreach ministries that are designed for evangelistic responses, I cannot remember a “conventions season” where we have seen the extreme spiritual explosions that led to people running to the altar for reconciliation to Christ. 

Many of those who came to Christ responded as a result of the invitation into the presence of the Holy Spirit through worship. While most worship sessions contained many varieties and styles of music—often songs that are well known and used in local church ministries—the intensity of the heart of worship became an open conduit for the empowering work of the Holy Spirit drawing souls to Christ. In one convention, almost every invitation included a salvific response. We witnessed the power of God inhabiting the praise of his people (Psalm 22:3).

Another powerful tool that was used in these meetings was testimony. In every session of the conventions, Spirit-filled and Spirit-led testimonies empowered those in need of salvation and works of the miraculous to come and commit themselves to God and his purpose and plan. I have been repeatedly reminded of the encouragement that we are made overcomers by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelations 12:11).   

Conventions have perhaps become known for the anointed preaching of God’s Word. This season seems to have provided an explosion of the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit at work in making known the power and purpose of God through the preaching of his Word. We are reminded that the Word of God is alive and active according to Hebrews 4:12, sharper than any double-edged sword … penetrating even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow… judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. I watched when one annual address from the state bishop brought more than half of the attendees to the altar at the beginning of the message which was more than an hour long. They remained and even moved as the state bishop moved under the anointing. I saw visitors who had wandered in coming to an altar of prayer seeking help to accept Christ as Savior. In another meeting, I saw backsliders making their way to prayer during the delivery of the Word. 

I do not believe that any of the miraculous works I saw and in which I became an active participant and recipient of such outpourings occurred by happenstance. I believe in many of these meetings over the summer, there was a calculated dynamic of prayer that bathed every expression of opportunity for us all to be reconciled to Christ and become the agents of reconciliation empowered by the Holy Spirit. For many years I have understood that the true work of ministry is prayer. Every action of ministry in expressing the call of the gospel must be preceded, enabled, and facilitated by prayer.  

In Ephesians 3:14-21 (KJV), we find a prayer for spiritual empowerment to live out and fulfill the call to this work of the Holy Spirit in and through us: 

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;  That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

This prayer expresses the very heart of God for us. It is a prayer that encourages us to know him better. In this prayer, God allows us his own resources, which we learn are without limit—that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory…. It is a prayer that leads us into further knowledge and understanding of God’s love for the world and to be filled with his fullness. It is prayer that seeks his exceeding abundant empowering to be fully at work in and through us in our everyday relationships and ministry. 

In this season of ministry in which we are being called to join the groundswell of reconciling the world to Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, allow me the opportunity of worship, testimony, the Word, and the experience of prayer of which I am an active witness—this is the work of his Spirit. Our prayer is that you will be blessed and challenged as you move through the following pages of updates and testimonies of the encouraging forward movement of the gospel of Christ throughout the world.

Dr. Catherine Payne

Dr. Catherine Payne

Cleveland, Tennessee

Dr. Cathy Payne is the Global Missions Ministries Coordinator for the Church of God of Prophecy,

As published in the October 2023 issue of the White Wing Messenger.