Prompting of the Holy Spirit in the Early Church & our Neighbourhoods

Barry Whatley
March 16 2021


You will receive power … the prompting of the Holy Spirit. 

The work of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures is quite mysterious.  He is manifest in the “mighty rushing wind” and the outpouring of praise and witness on the day of Pentecost. 

But we also see his gentle presence in the image of the dove and hear his gentle whisper in the still small voice. 

The early believers experienced the full scope of the Spirit’s working and speaking. This sensitivity to the Spirit was made possible through their steady commitment to worship and listening prayer. 

The Early Church

The church in Antioch provides us with a fascinating window into this dynamic in the early church. 

A gifted group of leaders from various backgrounds, bookended by Paul and Barnabas, were “ministering to the Lord and fasting”, when they heard the Holy Spirit speak and call them to send out Paul and Barnabas to carry the gospel into the Roman Empire. 

The word for ministering is fascinating.  Often it is translated worship, but it carries a fuller connotation of service, of offering

  • These leaders had their priority of God-centered, sacrificial worship (note the fasting) firmly in place.
  • Their posture of servanthood and desire to follow appears to have given them a particular attentiveness to the voice and leading of the Holy Spirit. 
  • And they responded with further prayer, laying on of hands, and the sending of the first missionary team.

The Neighbourhood

This example is an inspiration to us as we reach out to our neighbours. 

I walk through our community praying, worshiping, lifting up the God who saves, listening to his prompting as conversations and connections happen.  

By the mailbox the other day, Nancy shared briefly a deep struggle.  Laurie and I dropped off a note and some muffins the next day.  Promises for her and others are taking shape as we lift up our Lord over this community, attentive to his voice and leading. 

Here we are Lord.  Send us. 


Barry Whatley provides leadership and resources for French speaking Canadians and Africans in the areas of church health and revitilization, church planting and leadership development. Barry lives with his wife Laurie, in Hudson, Quebec.

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