You can learn to recognize moments of cooperation with the Holy Spirit. This is a skill that any follower of Christ can acquire and develop.
In the ministry of PRMI, we call those Kairos moments. These are moments when God wants to accomplish something in the world through us to advance His Kingdom.
Kairos moments are moments where we are invited by the Father to cooperate with the Holy Spirit.
Three Basic Elements of a Kairos Moment
We describe three distinct parts to discern a kairos moment.
- The Holy Spirit moving or hovering over the situation.
- Guidance (a word, direction, nudge) from God being discerned and spoken.
- The Word of God being met with faith and obedience in the hearts of those who hear.
When you discern you are moving into a Kairos moment, it’s time to step into that moment though obeying the guidance and discernment you’ve received.
Read more: How a Kairos Moment Changes the World
A Metaphor for Cooperation with the Holy Spirit
In a Kairos moment of cooperation with the Holy Spirit, these three main elements mix in a fluid manner.
They are not always neat and orderly.
However, a metaphor can help us grasp the concept of how to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in a Kairos moment.
Ballroom or salsa dancing provides a metaphor to help understand what it means to cooperate with a partner.
- One partner is the dance leader.
- The other partner is the cooperating person, who follows the leader.
- Subtle nudges by the leader suggest guidance and direction.
- Cooperation happens when the follower obeys the nudges of guidance of the leader.
- Failure to cooperate leads to clumsy moments and disjointed dancing.
The dance metaphor describes cooperation with the Holy Spirit in simple terms:
- The Holy Spirit initiates the ministry moment, set in the context of love.
- The Holy Spirit leads you, giving guidance through prompts and nudges.
- You respond with obedience and action.
As you cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the Kairos moment, the next step gets defined.
As you continue to respond, the plan unfolds into what God plans to accomplish.
Example of the Dance
In an online teaching session with ministry leaders in Central America, the class moved into a time of worship.
As the songs played and the people engaged in worship, I had a sense of the Holy Spirit at work. It seemed like the Lord had been inviting us into a ministry moment. Even online, we were in a safe ministry context among friends.
A level of loving koinonia and fellowship was among us.
I discerned a direction – that we were to leave our next teaching section aside, and move into prayer (Guidance, nudge 1).
Normally, I’d ask my class co-leader for confirmation, but in the moment of the online context that was a little difficult. She affirmed the direction later.
During last worship song, I discerned that a particular participant in the class was to lead us in prayer, with the words of the current song as a guide (Guidance, nudge 2).
I was ready to call on him to pray but felt “a check” – to let the song end and invite people to wait for God’s direction (Guidance, nudge 3).
After a few moments of silence, the gentleman I was ready to call on stepped out in prayer and led us in prayer around the lyrics of the song (obedience, the word spoken, affirmed).
That then unleashed some further prayers from Scripture that the Lord used to minister to the other people in the group. Others responded to nudges to pray in certain directions, spoke their prayers out, and ministered to the group.
As the plan unfolded, one dance step at a time, responding to the guidance and nudge of each step.
As people agreed in prayer, we continued to discern as a group this each step (every bible verse read, every prayer in response to the bible verse), we had been heading in the right direction.
Forty-five minutes of ministry passed by. People felt that God saw their concerns.
Each dance step of guidance, response, guidance, response unfolds the Kairos moment in cooperation with the Holy Spirit.
The initiative of God, the context of love, and our participation clothed in faith and obedience advances God’s kingdom.
The Lazarus Story – A Kairos Moment in Scripture
Jesus is our model for cooperating with the Holy Spirit. Jesus is empowered by the Holy Spirit to accomplish what he sees the Father wanting him to do.
As we look into the story of the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, (found in John 11) we can see several elements that will help us recognize these Kairos moments in our own experience of cooperation with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus received the urgent message from Mary and Martha that their brother Lazarus had been sick. Yet, Jesus waited three days before going to Bethany. This was the setup for a kairos moment that was coming.
In this extraordinary miracle we may see the following elements of cooperation between Jesus, the Father, the Holy Spirit, and human beings.
1. Love Provides the Context for a Kairos Moment
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.)
So, the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.John 11:1-5 (NIV)
The sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you LOVE is sick.”
Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.
The Holy Spirit leads people to a living dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ and anchors them in the Word of God.
The Holy Spirit will speak the truth in love.
When ministering to people, if there is no love, there is no context of safety for ministry to happen. Love creates the context where vulnerability and safe ministry can happen.
Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”John 11:35-36 (NIV)
Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.John 11:38 (NIV)
Jesus is deeply moved by compassion throughout the entire Kairos moment.
Love is the context in which the Holy Spirit works, and we help create that context when we minister to people or share the gospel with compassion.
2. God Sets the Perfect Time for a Kairos Moment
When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”John 11:4 (NIV)
So, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days,John 11:6 (NIV)
Jesus knows that the Father intends to work some great miracle for His glory. But He must get on God’s time and be in synch with the moving of the Holy Spirit.
The literal time also known as chronos – χρονος, is like clockwork measurable in years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds.
Time measured by what God is doing is called Kairos – καιρος, pregnant time, bursting with opportunity and crisis.
Read More: How a Kairos Moment Changes the World
In ministry settings, God sets the timing. While we can set the context of love through normal skills of compassion, we cannot force God’s timing.
Just as the Spirit of God hovered over the waters at creation as part of God’s timing, we can develop a sense of when the Spirit is moving in God’s perfect timing.
3. God Works With Our Faith
Lord, Martha said to Jesus, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.John 11:21-22 (NIV)
Martha’s expresses her faith in Jesus’ relationship with the Father.
Faith is key to the dynamic of cooperating with the Holy Spirit.
This kind of faith is sovereignly given by God; it is not a constant ordinary thing but is given for special needs and circumstances chosen by God.
This is not just intellectual agreement to a statement, but an expression of deep trust in Christ at this particular moment.
It is a confidence that God will work in the moment. The gift of faith is essential if God is to work through us.
It might be confidence that God will give you a word, will guide you in prayer, or will use you to minister healing and deliverance.
4. We Step Out in Faith – Act in Obedience
Faith is not just a confidence. Faith is taking a step to act in obedience, to follow the nudge or guidance we have received.
Jesus invites obedience on Martha’s part by asking her to affirm her faith in Him as the Resurrection and the Life.
“Whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.John 11:26-27 (NIV)
The gift of faith becomes operative when one is doing the work of the Holy Spirit that requires this gift. Through obedience, one may be flung out into total dependence upon God.
“Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
So, they took away the stone.John 11:39-41 (NIV)
The act of obedience on the part of the people when Jesus asked to open the tomb, embodies their trust in Jesus.
It is in this context of total need, with no other resource other than God, that this gift may be given and utilized.
5. Receive Guidance (Recognize the Nudges or Promptings)
Every phase of our cooperation with the Holy Spirit to do the work of Jesus depends on receiving guidance. Without guidance we do not know what step to take in obedience.
Jesus obeys and follows the guidance of the Holy Spirit, then acts.
He steps into the kairos moment of opportunity.
So, they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.
I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”John 11:41-43 (NIV)
Without guidance we do not know when and how to use the tools and weapons the Holy Spirit gives us for Kingdom work.
A will surrendered to Jesus Christ and willingness to walk in obedience is essential for hearing God’s voice.
God speaks to those who have surrendered to Him.
At the root of that surrender is a will set upon doing God’s will. In the Bible the men and women who most consistently received guidance from God were those who sought it and were obedient.
The Impact of a Kairos Moment
Out of the “raw materials” of faith, the knowledge of what the Father is doing, and obedience (i.e., speaking the word), the Holy Spirit works a great miracle to the glory of God.
The dead man came out,John 11:44 (NIV)
Though not always so clearly defined, this dynamic of cooperation is evident in every miracle that Jesus performed.
Jesus cooperates with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Amazingly He includes Martha and the people gathered at the tomb.
In fact, His work is dependent upon our cooperation.
The result – Jesus Christ is glorified, and the Kingdom of God is made real!
Kairos Moments Can Happen in Your Ministry
Kairos moments can happen in your ministry.
Kairos moments are moments of blessing others that you get to steward.
Kairos moments start with discernment: awareness that God is a work in this moment, and the Holy Spirit is ready to bring something.
Our step of cooperation is to discern the word or action that God would have us do, and then do it.
You get to cooperate with what God intends to do, as friends and co-laborers with Jesus in advancing the Kingdom of God.
Seek Kairos moments in your ministry and See God work through you.