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Gerhard Tersteegen
Praying for the Holy Spirit

“That our watching and waiting may be of a proper kind, and be successful, we must turn entirely away from all created things, and appear in the presence of God, with a heart entirely empty, and hungering and thirsting after grace, so that we may boldly say, ‘Lord, here is my vessel, here I wait, here I continue lying on the brink of the waters; here, O my God! I expect the promised power from on high, with perfect resignation and in child-like confidence, that thou wilt, in due time, fulfill thy promise! Thou hast promised thy Holy Spirit to me; and thou wilt also perform. Do not look at my poverty and wretchedness, my nakedness and destitution; for it is for his very reason I need thy grace the most; on this very account I am worthy of compassion.’

It is thus that a soul, which is entirely turned away from the world, and directed to God, and which hungers and thirsts after God, waits in a right and proper manner, and therefore shall be filled with the blessings of salvation, and most assuredly made partaker of the Holy Spirit. When the beggar, at the door, has said, ‘Give me a morsel of bread!’ he does not immediately go away, but waits; and if he is left to stand long, he repeats his request, again and again, until he has really received what he desires. And although he be refused, yet he continues to beg, and does not move until he be attended to. So ought we also to act. We must stand at the door of God’s grace, and wait, until we have received what we ask for. And though it may often seem, as though he would not hear us; yet we ought still to continue our requests, and not move, until he has really granted us his favours, and fulfilled his promise in us. If it sometimes seems long to us, so that we are compelled to exclaim, ‘Lord, how long will thou be unmindful of us? How long dost thou hide thy face from us? My soul is in terror! O Lord, how long!’ Yet we ought still to be of good courage, and firmly believe, that help will come, at an hour when we least expect it; that he will suddenly and all at once hasten to us, comfort, and refresh us, even as he did for his dear disciples, to whom, after long wating, he at length, all at once and instantaneously appeared. “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and filled the whole house where they were sitting.” Thus suddenly does it occur, in the present day, with many souls. Many, who, with all sincerity of heart, have frequently waited, sighed and prayed, for many years together, are sometimes on high; and when they have almost given it up for lost and are saying to themselves, ‘it is over with us, the Lord has forgotten us;’ he suddenly comes all at once to put to shame their little faith, and lets the light of his grace shine over them.” Gerhard Tersteegen, Spiritual Crumbs from the Master’s Table, pp. 250,251

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