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Life-changing moments

Just as Wesley had his Aldersgate experience, so can everyone have a Holy Spirit moment.

United Methodist Communications

Many have experienced a moment when the Spirit of God came upon them in a powerful way. For some, it happened on a retreat as a youth, or a mission trip later in life. Others had an experience during a Sunday morning worship service or a Wednesday night Bible study. Some have felt Christ especially present while praying from the top of a mountain or crying out over the sound of crashing waves while standing on a beach.

Whatever the circumstances, these moments can be life changing. We look back upon them as times of conversion, renewal, and revelation. We may feel called to do something, experience healing and wholeness, or receive peace about a decision.

John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, rather famously had a Holy Spirit moment often referred to as his “Aldersgate experience.” Wesley records in his journal what happened on May 24, 1738:

In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading [Martin] Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.

When read by itself, this one journal entry seems to suggest this God-moment happened unexpectedly. The same is true when we hear others report similar experiences. Most often, however, these special encounters with the Holy Spirit come to those who are seeking, those who have opened their hearts to receive something special from God.

For more about what led up to that heart-changing moment in John Wesley’s life and about how you and I can prepare our hearts, click here.