Q: I have been praying for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but nothing has happened yet. How do I know when I am baptized with the Holy Spirit? (I learned that speaking in tongues is not necessary.) Do I know for sure when the baptism of the Holy Spirit happens? Is it possible that I already had it but I didn't notice?
This is a common issue when dealing with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit—people wonder if they've truly received it. Some Christian groups attempt to solve this by simply telling people that if you've been given the gift of tongues you got it. The problem is, when people, such as yourself, desperately seek and want to be baptized with the Spirit they will do just about anything, including faking a spiritual gift just to convince themselves and others that it truly happened.
Let me interject at this point that I believe wholeheartedly in the Baptism of the Spirit as a thoroughly biblical truth and I have personally received this baptism including the gift of speaking in other tongues. However, the over-emphasis on receiving that one gift is not in keeping with the words of our Lord as recorded in Acts chapter 1. It is there that Jesus first spoke of the Baptism of the Spirit. He not only used that specific term, telling His disciples they would be "baptized with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1:5) but He also went on to describe how they would know they were recipients of this gift: "...you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses..." (Acts 1:8)
I can think of no more authoritative description of the Baptism of the Spirit than the one given by Jesus—it is all about receiving God's POWER TO BE HIS WITNESS. So power is the evidence of the Baptism of the Spirit—spiritual power.
So how do you know if you've received the Baptism? Exactly the same way you know you've received forgiveness of sins—by faith. Jesus promised that if you asked the Father, He would send His Holy Spirit (See Luke 11:13) Your responsibility is to receive that promise by faith and begin to walk it out. But remember this: the Baptism of the Spirit is not about feeling better or stronger. It's about empowering the child of God to be a witness for Jesus Christ. Again and again we see believers in the book of Acts calling on God to give them His power to shine their light for Christ—and God met them every time! (See Acts 4)
You prayed for God to baptize you with His Spirit. So why are you doubting? Because you're looking for something? If so, for what? You should be looking for power, because that's what Jesus told you would happen. Start praying for the Lord to manifest His unlimited power in your life and to use that spiritual dynamic to build the Kingdom and glorify His Name. As you pray, ask the Lord to build your faith so that you can lay hold of His promise without wavering. Keep reading Luke 11 and add Acts chapter 1 to it, and ask the Lord to imprint those promises on your heart.
God bless you!