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The Holy Spirit’s Presence

by Todd Bradbury

Have you ever had an encounter with the Holy Spirit? I’ve encountered a number of people who are honest enough to say, “I really don’t sense the Holy Spirit’s presence in my life.” Donna Lewis was one such person. By the way, it takes great humility for a Christian to admit to not being able to sense the presence of the Holy Spirit. But that’s Donna, she’s certainly humble. So who is Donna Lewis? Donna is a fairly new member at Bethel. She’s recently retired from the Masonic Lodge Retirement Home and, best of all, she’s a proud grandmother to who she considers the most perfect baby in the world: Colton Franklin. I had the occasion to sit down with her one morning over breakfast and that’s when Donna told me about her trouble with the Holy Spirit. Let’s let Donna tell the story in her own words:

“I had the opportunity to meet with Todd a couple of months ago. I specifically wanted to talk with him about how someone truly knows when the Holy Spirit comes into their heart. He helped me to have a much better understanding of the Holy Spirit and how to quietly listen to God. At the end of our time together, Todd prayed with me and asked God to specifically reveal the Holy Spirit to me.

A few weeks ago, I asked Todd where I could be of service to our Church. He suggested I speak with Brenda Peck about helping with the Food Pantry. I had a great conversation with Brenda. She was so excited that I wanted to be part of the team and explained how the Food Pantry operates. Her enthusiasm was so contagious! Brenda said one way that the pantry ministers to people is by praying for the food pantry customers for whatever needs they may have. I was thrilled to be part of the Food Pantry Team, but I told Brenda that I would never be able to pray with people. As much as I have prayed for people privately, I have never had the confidence or faith in myself, to pray with anyone publicly. Brenda understood and said it was fine if I chose not to pray. On the way to my first Food Pantry venture in July my thoughts were consumed with wanting to be able to pray with folks that evening. I said a prayer on the way asking God to please give me the guidance and confidence to pray with those who had prayer requests. When Brenda, Shirley Roberts and Barbara Phillips asked me to join their prayer circles that evening, I felt a strong sense of peace. As the evening progressed I had an opportunity to walk a gentleman to his car and he began talking about some very stressful things that were happening in his life. All of a sudden, I asked him if we could pray together. As I began to pray, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and calmness. Although I was speaking the words, I knew they were coming through me from our Lord. My heart was overflowing with peace and joy that evening! I knew without a doubt the Holy Spirit had come into my heart.

God really answered the prayer that Todd and I prayed that day. God has truly filled my heart with amazing love and joy! Steve and I are so blessed to be part of the wonderful Bethel Baptist Church family.”

Pretty cool story right? There are a couple of takeaways from Donna’s story that I’d like to point out. 

First, Donna was honest with God and admitted that she was struggling with not being able to feel the Holy Spirit in her life. Second, she prayed SPECIFICALLY for God to intervene and for God to allow her to feel the Spirit’s leading. In other words, she prayed in accordance with God’s will. Third, she took a step of faith! This is huge. Donna just didn’t sit back; she acted and went forward in faith doing something that is also within God’s will, feeding the hungry. Fourth, after the encounter with God, Donna has given all the glory and thanks back to the Lord. This encounter with God has lifted Donna’s spirit and has given her a sense of awe and wonder.   Her enthusiasm for the Lord is contagious. I hope we all catch Donna’s enthusiasm and I think we can, if we:

  1. Pray for the leading of God’s spirit in our lives.
  2. Take steps of faith in accordance with God’s will.
  3. Watch, listen and be attentive to God’s leading in our lives.
  4. Live with a sense of gratitude for God’s active presence in our lives.  
Thank you Donna, for being open to God’s leading. May God continue to bless Donna and may the Holy Spirit lead each one of us on our faith journey. Amen.




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