An extract from ‘The Normal Supernatural Christian Life’ by Aliss Cresswell
1 Corinthians 12:4-11 lists nine gifts that are given to us from the Holy Spirit. One of these gifts is described by the Apostle Paul as a “word of knowledge” (see verse 8). A word of knowledge is when someone is given information from the Holy Spirit about something that they would not naturally know, like the example of the lady on the bus (¹). We can also operate in the Spirit of Knowledge which is listed in Isaiah 11:2. The Holy Spirit knows what is going on in heaven and speaks it to us.
You can operate in the gifts of the Spirit without knowing what they are, but Paul said “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be unaware” (1 Corinthians 12:1).
Jesus stated “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does” (John 5:19) and “By myself I can do nothing” (John 5:30). We are to live like that too. Jesus said, “…Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21).
The Holy Spirit will speak only what He hears and will make known to us what the Father is doing in heaven.
“But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come” (John 16:13).
Hearing the Voice of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit speaks in many ways. When Jesus was on the earth He often spoke in parables and He gives revelation that requires us to ask Him to help interpret. Below are just a few of the ways the Holy Spirit speaks to us. I have taken examples from some of my past experiences. It can be helpful to learn from other people’s experiences and mistakes.
A number of years ago I was walking my son Phoenix to school. As we entered the school gate, a young woman walked in front of us with her son. I noticed her skirt and remember thinking how nice it was. I didn’t think much more than that.
The next morning I awoke early and my first thought was of the woman’s skirt. I wondered why that was on my mind so I asked the Holy Spirit if there was a particular reason. I began to feel emotional and realised the Lord wanted me to pray for her. So I began to pray and even though I asked the Lord what He wanted me to say, all I sensed was that I needed to talk to her.
I took Phoenix to school that morning in plenty of time, praying that I would see her. She was nowhere to be seen, so I waited a while and then spotted her arriving late. After she had dropped off her son I approached her, feeling nervous. I had not spoken to her before and wasn’t exactly sure what I should say. The Lord had still not given me anything to say to her. But I knew He had highlighted her to me for a reason.
I said “hello” and told her my name. I said I was a Christian and that God had a message for her. I still didn’t know what the message was, but I stepped out in faith, hoping the Lord would reveal something to me. Then it happened. As I began to speak, the words seemed to flow out of me, inspired by the Holy Spirit. I was so thankful!
I explained, “You are in a desperate situation, something connected with your family. You are not sure if you believe in God, but you have been crying out to Him and asking Him to help you. I am here to tell you that God has heard your cries and He has sent me to tell you that He is going to do a miracle in your life. You haven’t been sleeping and you don’t know where to turn. If you give your life to Jesus and follow Him, He will turn your life around and answer your prayers within two weeks!”
As I said it, I was hoping I was right! But as I looked at her, I saw tears flowing down her cheeks and she was nodding. She said everything I’d told her was true. In fact she was so concerned, she was taking tranquilisers but they weren’t helping. The problem had been going on for two years.
I explained to her about Jesus; the fact that He had died in her place, He had taken her sin and disease upon Him and how she could have a new life because He had risen from the dead and sent His Holy Spirit. She was enthralled and readily let me pray with her and took a leaflet on knowing Jesus that I carried in my bag.
A few days later I saw her again and she told me that she had given her life to Jesus and already she was feeling better and had stopped taking the tranquilisers. I prayed with her again and the next time I saw her, two weeks later, she excitedly explained that her life had turned around, the family situation was resolved and she would not now lose her home. Her husband was a Muslim and I was able to prophesy to him too.
¹ This was one of the first times that Aliss received a word of knowledge for an elderly lady who she sat by on a bus. Aliss received a word about her daughter who was sick in hospital with a stomach problem. What made it most difficult to share was that the lady was hard of hearing and Aliss had to raise her voice to be heard – very embarrassing for a self-conscious, shy teenager! Nevertheless she prayed with her and expected a miracle anyway!