The baptism in the Spirit is open to all believers of all backgrounds. Personally, I think it is best if people experience the baptism of the Spirit immediately after conversion and the baptism of faith, as Peter promises his listeners after his Pentecost sermon (Acts 2:38). Its prerequisite is first of all the rebirth of man (John 3:3-7).
However, no specific way in which the baptism in the Spirit was to manifest itself can be deduced from the accounts of the Bible. Only one thing was clear: its effects were unmistakable. The baptism with the Holy Spirit was always accompanied by noticeable signs – usually tongues (Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6), but also power (4:31), prophecy (19:6) or praise (2:11; 10:46). So how exactly it should happen when people experience the baptism of the Spirit today is left up to God. In any case, it is important not to exert pressure.
The question remains whether there are other prerequisites besides regeneration for Christians to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Yes, I would say that expectation and faith play a big role. Only the thirsty will drink and only those who believe will receive. What a person should bring along beyond that is the willingness to serve and to comply with the Great Commission, because the baptism in the Spirit is the power equipment for this, which is also to be used.
Do not ask for it alone
The baptism in the Spirit is given to the believer in prayer and Jesus Christ himself is the baptiser. However, it is still advisable not to ask for it alone. The disciples were gathered as a community when the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost. When a Christian asks for the baptism of the Spirit together with brothers and sisters, he is strengthened and encouraged in his faith by the others. Moreover, our Lord promises us that He wants to be present among us when we are gathered in twos or threes (Mt 18:20).
Perhaps some of us do not feel edified by certain people in our spiritual environment. I would like to urge these brothers and sisters not to make everyone their counsellor in this area. I come from a rather evangelical-Baptist environment and there the baptism with the Holy Spirit was seen very critically. When I started reaching out for the baptism of the Spirit, some Christians around me warned me. One even told me: “You better watch out! You might receive an evil spirit in the process.” But I decided to trust in the wonderful promise of Jesus:
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall the Father which is in heaven give the Holy Ghost to them that ask him? (Lk 11:13)
It will be the same for those who earnestly ask for the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
Christians often let themselves be deprived of the blessing of the baptism in the Spirit – reasons are unbelief, doubt, fear of man, fear, indifference, disinterest, and many more. But those who want to receive it should desire it and look forward to it, just as a child eagerly waits to unwrap its birthday present.
One thing is certain: Spirit baptism will challenge our faith. It makes us dependent on our Creator and on the work of his Spirit. But we may understand it as a wonderful gift of God. We need his power equipment for witnessing because he wants all people to be saved (Acts 2:38; 1 Timothy 2:4).
Picture credits: Guilhem Vellut from Paris, France