5. The Role Of The Holy Spirit In Discipling


Why this is important?

One of the first things you should do with a new disciple is teach them to hear God’s voice in their heart (John 10:2). All natural babies learn to hear their fathers voices, and it is the same in the spiritual realm. Jesus demonstrated his reliance on the Fathers voice over and over again between John 5 and John 10. That was the source of his miraculous powers: Listening and Obeying. That’s what he modelled and the disciples took note. And that’s why he sent us the Holy Spirit (John 14:26, John 16:13-14).

The key for a new disciple to become like Jesus is for them to learn to hear the Holy Spirit’s voice (John 10:4, John 10:27). Then they must learn to obey his instructions (John 14:15). Jesus modelled this for us so that we would copy it when spreading the good news (John 5:19, John 5:30, John 5:37). Jesus said this would be the hallmark of a New Testament believer (John 6:45).


Note: Points 2 to 5 of this lesson are a repeat of the notes from Field 1: Ploughing. They are repeated because they are so important both to the ploughing of the heart of existing believers who are going into the harvest and also to new disciples who are first beginning to hear their spiritual Father’s voice.

So how exactly do we teach all this to new disciples? God speaks to us through the Holy Spirit usually via a still small voice in our heart (1 Kings 19:11-13). The first thing to do is get the new disciple to ask the Lord simple questions and then ask them to take note of the very first thing that enters their mind in response. Here is a great example question: Lord what do you really think of me? Let the Holy Spirit do the rest!

The most important way that the Lord speaks to us is through scripture. Other ways the holy Spirit can speak to a new believer are through scripture, or divinely organised circumstances, or through journalling, or through the words of others that jump out as an answer to prayer.

The most common way God speaks to us on a daily basis is through his still small voice in our hearts. As a new disciple becomes more confident in hearing the Holy Spirit’s voice they will become more and more bold at following Him into spiritual battle.


God wants to speak to you

The scriptures tell us that God wants to speak to us because he said we would. In John 10:27 he said My sheep listen to my voice. I know them, and they follow me. So why do so many Christians not hear God’s voice on a regular basis? The problem is obviously on our side, not God’s side. If we have not been hearing God’s voice, we must find out what our personal reason is before we can begin to fix the problem. Below are the five main reasons and beliefs as to why Christians do not hear God’s voice.

Why some don’t hear God’s voice

1. “I believe God’s voice is only for special people like priests and pastors and I am just an unworthy nobody”. However, the truth is we are all priests under Jesus (1 Peter 2:9). We are all now special to him, in intimate relationship, and called to sonship. We are no longer outcasts or unworthy because of the cleansing of our hearts at the cross. Those unworthy thoughts are Satan’s lie to keep you from an amazing walk with God.

2. “I am still sinful so I don’t deserve to hear God’s voice”. However, Romans 6:22 says that we have been set free from sin and become holy before God. There is never again any judgement for someone who has given their life to Jesus! Our position of sonship is not determined by our actions or lack of actions, but the perfect work of the cross. Feeling like you are still a sinner is another lie of Satan to stop you understanding the amazing salvation and intimacy with God that you have been given.

3. “I need to work at becoming better and more holy before hearing God’s voice”. However, this is like trying to get clean before taking a shower. We are already legally holy before the throne of heaven. And besides, hearing his voice helps us avoid sin! Human effort will never make us any more forgiven or perfect or worthy before God than what has been achieved for us on the finished work of the cross. We don’t work to get close to God, we work for God because we are living in intimacy with God.

4. “I fear will get it wrong and it will be dangerous”. However, there is only danger when there is risk involved. If you start by asking God simple things like: Father, what is going to happen tomorrow? Or Father, what do you think about me? Or Father why do I feel sad right now?,there is no risk. If there is risk involved, then just ask for confirmation before acting: Is this something Jesus would say? Is it aligned with scripture? What does a wise and trusted believer think of it? Fear of getting it wrong is created by the enemy, who is trying to stop you from having a relationship with God.

5. “I am afraid of what God might say to me”. However, God is love and God is good (Psalm 86:5, Psalm 100:5, James 1:17), so he will only ever encourage you when he speaks to you. He will never condemn you (John 3:17, Romans 8:1). If you feel condemned it is another of Satan’s lies in your mind. Rebuke it and remember your position of intimacy with God.


Focus on the Goodness of God

For many Christians their walk with God is an intellectual one based on scripture and not a daily experiential one. Many others have not experienced the amazing presence of God in their heart since they first gave their lives to Jesus. If you are not experiencing the presence of God it is because you have forgotten that experience, or haven’t yet truly experienced how good God is.

The solution to the problem is to discover and experience the goodness of God in a new and fresh way! It’s his goodness that leads us to desire him. It’s his fresh touch in our heart that leads us to desire to share him with others. You can understand how good he is by looking up the scriptures explained above, or going through the list below:

Remember God’s sacrifice on the cross for you. You are precious.

Remember your life before Jesus set you free from sin, and your life afterwards.

Remember that he God has always been wanting intimacy with you.

Remember 10 things you are grateful for.

Remember God will never condemn you. He will guide you in Love.

Focus on the love of God

God’s love is always here and all around us. However, like a Radio we must ‘tune in’ to God’s love by changing our hearts.

1. Start by first tuning in to the love that is all around us. This could mean thinking of things like the love of your family, the love you see in God’s creation, the unconditional love of a pet animal. The exact way you inspire love doesn’t matter, as long as it is pure and helps you focus.

2. Once you can feel love inside you, start focusing on the feeling of love. Do this for a few minutes. While meditating on love, try to remember that because we are created in God’s image, the feeling of love that you have is actually God’s heartbeat for his entire creation.

3. Now acknowledging the love of God. You can now moving your thoughts from God’s creation to God himself, focusing your attention on loving God and praising him. This will take you into a realm of love and appreciation that was impossible just a few minutes earlier. This is when God will speak to you in a new and wonderful way.


When you are bathing in the goodness and love of God, you will often begin to hear from God. You have tuned in. God will start whispering into your spirit many things that you would previously not have been tuned in to. This is possibly the most important aspect of your relationship with Jesus, because it’s the first step in your journey to knowing who he really is, and what he is like as a friend. This is also how Jesus heard from his father and then knew what to do in his ministry. There are three different levels of hearing from God. Below are three exercises you can do to begin operating at each level:

1. Receiving advice about personal problems.

God is your greatest adviser! He wants to help you overcome your fears so that you embrace more of his Love! The Bible calls this the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). Begin by writing down a list of any negative beliefs, or negative thoughts you have towards yourself, other people, or situations you are in. After meditation on God’s love as explained above, go through each issue one-by-one, and ask God what he thinks about it all. You will start to feel God’s opinion on the topic coming from that place of love inside you. When you feel his love speaking to you, write down what you felt that God was whispering into your heart. This could be a thought, or an image, or even a Bible verse. It doesn’t matter how serious or simple each issue is. Just continue to ask him what he thinks about each issue until you are free.

This exercise is also very important in fighting spiritual battles against demons. Demons will try to use your emotions and fear against you to stop you from living the life God intended for you. This exercise will remove any demonic fears by listening to God’s voice instead of the voice of the enemy. This exercise will also train you to recognize the voice of demons so you can reject them the next time they put fear in your mind.

2. Prophesying with someone.

This exercise is very simple. It is also very good for encouraging your faith because you can confirm that you are hearing from God with a friend. There is no pressure to get it right the first time. But try it anyway and you might be surprised. First, focus on God’s Love for a few minutes as explained above. Once you are feeling his love, ask him to show you what he wants you to say to the person you have in mind. The first thing that comes to your mind is what you need to focus on. This could be an image, or a word of encouragement. It doesn’t matter how strange it is. Take the pressure off yourself by remembering that this is an act of love coming from God through you for someone else. It’s not about you. This takes away the fear you would otherwise have. Just share what you felt coming from your heart, and ask them if it means anything to them. Then get them to do the same.

Because of the precious gift of prophecy, the church in Antioch set aside Saul and Barnabas for a specific ministry (Acts 13:1-3). Through prophecy Paul was told to go to Europe, not Asia. This planted Christianity in Europe so that it would not wither and die a thousand years later under Islam (Acts 16:6-10). Imagine if the people giving those prophecies had held back because they were unsure!

3. Hearing from God during evangelism.

Evangelism was never meant to be done without God and it was never meant to be boring or scary. Evangelism is all about sharing the opportunity to have a true relationship with God. You aren’t required to feel an obligation to evangelize. It should come from your intimacy with God. Part of that intimacy is learning to enjoy your time with him, so evangelism should be an exciting time with your friends and with God.

Before going out, and also during your time out, always focus on God’s love. Once you are feeling his love, ask him to show you how much he loves the lost people on the street. After you feel his love for other people, ask him to show you a picture of someone or somewhere he wants you to find. Remember whatever first comes to your mind is the answer. There is no pressure in this exercise. Now just walk around and keep your eyes open because you will eventually see the person or place God showed you.

Once you see the person that matches the description of what you saw when you asked God, go and offer to pray for them. Tell them that you saw them when you asked God who to pray for. They will be very surprised and honoured to hear this. They will often have a need, such as a sickness or a personal issue they need help with. Pray with them and God will do the rest! Alternatively, once you find the place God showed you begin to ask who it is in that place you are meant to speak to. Then follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit.


Jesus said that being filled with the Holy Spirit was a very big deal and absolutely essential for the future global ministry of the infant church. This is why the disciples were told not to begin the Great Commission until the Holy Spirit had arrived (Acts 1:4-5). Even Jesus didn’t start his ministry until he was baptised in the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:21-22). The Book of acts is then full of the Apostles asking people if they had been filled with the Holy Spirit since they came to faith in Jesus. We should take note of this scriptural emphasis on the presence of the Holy Spirit and seek to see each of our new disciples baptised in the Holy Spirit as soon as possible.

Instructions on the baptism of the Holy Spirit:

Matthew 28:19: Instructions to go and baptise people in the Holy Spirit.

Mark 16:17: Speaking in tongues is a sign of a believer.

Acts 1:4-8: Jesus says power will come with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:4: The 120 were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in foreign languages.

Acts 2:38: First repentance, then baptism and then the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 4:31: The Holy Spirit came with power.

Acts 10:44-46: The Holy Spirits came with speaking in tongues.

Acts 19:2-6: The baptism in the Holy Spirit came with tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:1-11: A list of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 14:1-18: Instructions about speaking in tongues in church meetings.

How to speak in tongues

All you need to do is take your new disciple through a DBS on the topic of the Holy Spirit using several of the above scriptures and when they discover its importance then pray for them to be filled.

Then encourage them to speak in their new heavenly prayer language by beginning to speak and make sound but not letting it be in their own language or languages. It’s that simple.


  1. If you have not been baptised in the Holy Spirit then ask for this right now. Ask a mature believer to take you through the process mentioned above if unsure.
  2. If you are already baptised in the Holy Spirit then seek out other believers who need it and teach them about it with a DBS, then pray for them too.
  3. If you have difficulty hearing the voice of the Lord then start going through the above exercises.